Oh button where art thou? Why Microsoft moved that button on you

We’ve all been there. Typing up a document in Microsoft Word, everything is going great, you go to the toolbar to make a change, and the damn button isn’t there. It used to be there. Where’d it go? It was that damn update. Stupid Microsoft, moving that button. Now where the hell is it?

Design vs User Experience

They all do it, all of the big tech companies. It doesn’t matter if it’s your phone, computer, or your PVR, everything was fine the way it was, and they went ahead and changed it. There are some obvious reasons we come up with.

1. “They’re stupid”

It’s easy to assume that someone did something without thinking, and for no good reason. We jump to that conclusion when we haven’t put in enough thought or can’t understand under what circumstances a decision was made. But let me tell you, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, they aren’t stupid. And the decision to move that button on you wasn’t taken lightly. Change management is a process that eats up thousands of hours of many workers’ time. Meeting after meeting, sketching up new designs and justifying the change. The work that’s required for the company to move that button is staggering, usually equating to tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. That decision wasn’t made lightly, and it wasn’t made by stupid people.

2. “They don’t care about me”

Total number of social networks users (Rapleaf's data)

This one is kind of true. They don’t care about you as an individual. They care about you, but only as much as they care about their other customers. These companies have billions of customers. Billions. Just because they don’t care about you doesn’t mean they don’t care about the customers. It’s the opposite in fact. They care about all of their customers, and make decisions based on what’s best for everyone, to satisfy the needs of the many, not the needs of a few.

3. “It was fine the way it was”

This brings us to the most important takeaway. When a company makes a significant change to their product, it’s for a good reason. It’s well thought out, there were many intelligent minds working on the decision, and the implementation had a very specific reason. It might be to make things more intuitive, to clean up the interface, to streamline your productivity, or to get rid of a function that nobody really liked. The most important thing for you to do when facing a change is to try to understand. Not just where they moved the button, but why they moved it. It’s not because they’re stupid and they aren’t out to get you. Chances are, the change made the product better, you’re just too close to the situation to realize it. You knew where the button was, so finding it now is a pain in the ass. But for the person who didn’t know where it was, it’s probably easier to find now.

The key to effectively using technology is not to memorize where things are, but why they’re there. Understanding is better than knowing. If you can understand the rationale of the developers, you can become immune to change. Think of yourself as an explorer, not a settler. In a constantly changing landscape, nothing remains the same. Always be open to exploring, looking for the answer to your question. Read the screen, click around, and when you find that gosh darn button, try to understand why they would have moved it there.

Lastly, if you still can’t find it. Google it. I promise you, someone has asked that same question already. Always feel comfortable hopping on the Google and typing “how to insert hyperlink in Microsoft Word”. I guarantee one of the top pages will help you along.

Keep an open mind to change, embrace change, and your world will get better.