The UX of Change

When I talk about the UX of something, really I am thinking about the psychology of it.  I think about how it feels and how it makes people act.  Of course, sometimes I stretch the definition a bit and I apologize for that.

This week is a big change week for me.  Lot’s of things I had gotten used to are changing, especially at work.  New people are coming in and old people are leaving.  How will the new people be?  Will I miss the old people?  Or will I get used to them being gone in just a few weeks?

New people have optimism and energy and no baggage.  Old people had rapport and experience and institutional knowledge.  You very rarely get people with both.  Change creates a wide variety of emotions in people.  They go through the 5 stages of grief. (Kübler-Ross model)

  1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
  2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
  3. Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
  4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
  5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

It’s interesting to me that change and grief go so hand-in-hand.  When you change part of your software or service, do people not go through these stages?  I think they do.  Right now, I am in the depression phase.  Am I really dealing with change? or with grief?  Am I sad to see people go?  Possibly.  It seems highly intertwined.

As always, it is important (in the craft of UX) to always be thinking about how something feels and how it makes others feel.  This is one that I want to keep an eye on.



Whatya think?