Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Backward compatibility in user experience

Gmail recently launched a new design. I tried it out of curiousity. The first thing I noticed was that my muscle memory started failing me. Every time a new design comes, people focus on the look and feel of the design, its intuitiveness and other such factors but its compatibility with old design is not taken into account ever.

Power users tend to build muscle memory even for UIs. I tend to move my mouse to a particular location on the screen for the delete button for example.

With a product that has so many existing users, I think GMail should pay attention to these details as well when planning a new design. So, should other companies with similar products. An epic failure in the same lines is removal of start button by Microsoft. Of course a button position is not as critical; but the point is to have this criterion included in the design process.