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Why People Hate Redesigns
Last month, Apple released an update to its mobile operating system to surprisingly positive reviews.
Apple updates its operating system about once a year, but iOS14 came with one notable change. For the first time, iPhone owners can customize their home screens.
It didn’t take long for people to get creative. Some found ways to save themselves time by prominently featuring the information and apps they use most, while others turned their home screens into artistic masterpieces. An unofficial competition to create coolest iPhone home screen took off as users rushed to share their designs.
Clearly, this redesign of the iPhone user experience was a success.
But as many marketers know, redesigns are rarely immediately popular.
For example, the Apple software update preceding iOS14 was met with negative initial reviews despite many enhancements. When Google introduced a new interface for its Docs platform earlier this year, one blogger simply stated, “I hate it,” ignoring some clear improvements.
The Psychology of a Redesign
While this reaction may appear counterintuitive, there’s a psychological explanation behind it. According to the “endowment effect,” users simply don’t like change. They tend to prefer what they already have, regardless of an update’s benefits, because they are afraid of what they might lose.
This innate human behavior is what makes redesigns so hard. Even when a design is improved dramatically, it is typically met with resistance from users.
However, as Apple’s iOS14 launch shows, redesigns can be pulled off successfully.
The company introduced relatively minor changes and the value it added to users was immediately clear. Apple even used messaging to address our hesitancy to adopt the unknown.
One line from its website reads, “Looks brand new. Feels like home.”