Change For Change Sake, by Rich Paschall
You may have noticed that the websites you use regularly change their format from time to time. Just when you got used to your favorite credit card site, they changed everything around. It is frustrating, to say the least. This is particularly true when the new format offers more information but spreads it out in a way that you can not find it. As we all like to say, it is not “user-friendly.”
Corporate executives, company IT (Information Technology) departments, their programmers, and their minions must all feel that they are not moving forward if they do not keep changing things.
“They mistake change for improvement, and that is not always the case.” – Time Management Ninja
Sometimes the best you can hope for is they don’t screw it up too badly. At one time MySpace was the leader in social media. We all had an account and actually had fun there. There was interaction with others, but it was the kind of back and forth you find on a fan forum, not what we know today. As facebook quickly gained ground for its unique ability to connect friends and neighbors, MySpace did not know how to adapt. Their changes drove people away and it eventually turned into a music site, more or less.
Sometimes change is necessary, but it has to be the right change. It needs to be the type the user will embrace. When a company does not know how to do that, they lose momentum and business. Remember the dot.com boom? Do you remember the dot.com bust? Change is a tricky business. Knowing when and what to do is a tough call. Sometimes it seems like the people making changes never actually used the site themselves.
“Change for change sake does not always result in progress.”
My bank changed several features on their online banking site at some point after I had been using it for a while. It wasn’t awful and I got used to the new layout and features pretty quickly. They maintained a similar look and the items flowed naturally as you paid bills or looked at accounts. My credit card statement was there as well so I could see what I had and what I owed. The people who changed things might actually be banking there.
On the other hand, eBay has made changes recently that are beyond baffling. When I first joined the selling page was simple. All the information for active listing, sold and unsold listings were easy to find. Then they wanted us to use their new format which had the listing more spaced out, bigger pictures, and less of what I wanted to know. Since the listings were bigger, it took you longer to scroll down the page. I resisted using it. This, by the way, has nothing to do with the listing page the buyers see.
Now they have introduced another format. Charts & graphs & dashboards, oh my! They dumped the original format which I loved. I have started using that second version that I avoided because what they offer now is just information overload.
“And while I am a big advocate of leaving your comfort zone, too much change can result in confusion, disorganization, and lack of competence.”
This brings me to this very site. For a while now Word Press has been pushing their so-called block editor. As Marilyn has pointed out this week, it is not a true “Block editor,” but I digress. WordPress also has a “classic editor” which allows you to create a document much like creating a Microsoft Word document. It is straightforward, with the usual basic tools: Font size, bold, italics, color, links, and so forth. The Block editor works under the premise that you write things in little chunks and assemble them later in building block style. I had building blocks as a child. I am sure we knocked them down and then arranged them again in order. It’s an interesting concept, except I don’t actually write that way.
Sometimes I look back at what I wrote and it does not flow like I had in mind. I can not imagine the result if I worked in “blocks.” One continuous document is the best way to edit blog posts, I think. Do younger generations actually write in little pieces and assemble them later as if it was some giant Lego project?
Marilyn has commented extensively about this Word Press mish mash in the past. She did not mince words and yet, I think she was too kind. Do these programmers actually write blog posts, or are they just creating something different because they can?
There used to be a WP Admin. menu that gave you useful items. Yes, you can still find most of the same things. Apparently, they just want you to hunt for them. On Sundays, I usually look back a year to find something to reblog to “Sunday Night Blog.” I did this by filtering down to my posts of a particular month and year. They must think that scrolling down for pages is a better way to find past blog posts.
Fortunately, Marilyn knows the tricks, and the classic editor can still be found. If Word Press wants to turn writing an article into a giant video game, they could take themselves down the same road as MySpace.
“So, next time you want to make a change, ask yourself why you’re doing it first.”
All quotes from: ”Change for Change’s Sake Doesn’t Always Equal Progress,” by Tori Reid, lifehacker.com, November 3, 2014.