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Don’t Move the Cheese

There is an expression I use at work all the time.  Don’t move the cheese.  It comes from a book by Spencer Johnson.  Cheese was put in a corner of the maze.  The mice found the cheese, but one day the cheese was moved.  Watch the video below for the details. In UX Design, I think of it like this:

  1. You create a UI that teaches the user how to do something.
  2. You decide you like a different UI better, so you change it.
  3. The user tries to do the task in the old way and get’s pissed off.  It doesn’t work the way it used to.
  4. You moved their cheese.

At work, I am very sensitive to moving the user’s cheese.  Always try to avoid it.  For more details, check out this post about consistency.  In short, Don’t Move the Cheese of the user unless you are making it significantly better for them.  Even if you do, be prepared for a major backlash.  People just don’t like change.

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  1. I learned this early on in my UI career. 🙂 I was amazed at just how much the placement of a single button mattered to people.

  2. […] 1. Don’t move the cheese If a user knows how to do something, don’t move it.  It’s annoying to relearn muscle memory.  If you HAVE to move something, prepare for alot of angry customers. More details on moving the cheese. […]

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