On Interface Changes

I love Slack. It’s waaay better than email.

But a few weeks ago, they committed a cardinal sin – changing their interface without really making it noticeably better. More specifically, they changed the top bar in a channel. New layout:

I join or leave channels fairly often, and you used to be able to click on the channel name and leave it from a drop-down menu. Now it’s hidden in the settings gear icon.

Now, that’s arguably a better decision in the long run – I understand the benefits of arranging menu items in categories and making the information architecture more clear.

However, for all of the existing users, we all need to readjust to this new layout, without the option to not deal with it right now.

I’m picking on Slack right now, but this happens all of the time, with all of our self-updating apps, programs, webapps, operating systems, etc. Even my employer (Automattic) is guilty of this sometimes 🙂

Doing this to your users sucks. Please, please, think twice before you make an interface change to an interface that’s probably ‘good enough’ for almost all of your users. All it’s really accomplishing is making your users learn a new interface, and then another new one when you decide that one wasn’t quite perfect.