It’s not that I hate change, it’s more that I hate different


Recently, my go-to weather app made some incredibly sweeping changes. And with them, they probably lost me as a frequent user. Ultimately, it is quite possible I might end up removing the app from my phone.

Of course—because it’s what I do—this got me wondering a bit about things. Was I fearing the changes, and really just needed to give them a chance to become more familiar? Were these changes possibly for the better, and I was just missing out because I didn’t understand? What was it that I hated?

The answers to that last question are actually the easiest to provide (and maybe the most telling as well). It was everything. I hated every change that got made. It looks different, feels different, navigates different, and different different different. If I had to sum it up, I would say that it isn’t so much that they changed what they were offering, but that those changes made the app different and it no longer offered what I was looking for.

And if that was simply the case… it no longer provided what I wanted… we could wrap things up around here for today. If you’re looking for a bagel breakfast sandwich and your favorite place stops serving bagel breakfast sandwiches, then it quite possibly isn’t just that you resist change when you start looking for a new bagel breakfast sandwich provider. For the app though…

The app used to open up to a screen that displayed the current temperature. Nothing much there that doesn’t describe roughly 100% of weather apps. It also showed a quick snapshot of the forecast for the rest of the day and the next five days. So, when you opened it up, you could very quickly gather just about anything you wanted to know… temperature, if it was raining, and what was likely to happen in the near future. Scroll down, and you could easily find maps and longer-range details.

A summary… Open it and find out if it was going to rain that weekend. Scroll down and find out more specifically when it might rain on Saturday and/or Sunday. All of which means that this app gave you a perfect summary of basics right from the start, and then provided a clean appearance and easy navigation from that opening. Simple. Easy.

The first image now is a wave of sorts. A chart. A temperature wave chart. It progresses along the expectations for today, depicted in four blocks as morning, afternoon, evening and overnight. I find that it doesn’t register immediately what I’m looking at. For lack of a better expression, it just doesn’t feel right. Always takes me a few seconds to adjust.

The wave-chart-thingy does allow you to alter the view from the day to an hourly graph of the day and a third view that covers a short-range forecast. The sticking point for me… the one that makes me wonder if I’m just getting old and cranky… is that the longer I look at it, the more I can understand the information being offering. So, out of fear that I was complaining against change and that I might like it if I really try it, I decided to give it a chance before throwing my hands up and swearing at the storm clouds overhead that weren’t depicted on the radar map…

It’s not helping.

While slightly quicker in being able to read things, it still looks all wrong when it first opens. And still, I wonder if it’s me…

Thirty years ago, I loved video games for sports. And one of the things I really enjoyed was when a game could be played immediately without too much thought. For instance, a baseball game where a diamond-pattern of buttons on one side of the controller played out perfectly for where your defense would throw the ball. The bases… first, second, third and home… all where you would expect them to be.

Then the games began becoming more complex. Instead of knowing six to eight buttons—old and cranky alert—you needed to memorize button-pressing-sequences. You needed to navigate a half-hour of settings in order to switch off things like penalties. The games were becoming astonishingly realistic, no question there, but they lacked a simplicity and comfort for a first-time user. In order to enjoy them, you really had to throw yourself into them and invest a ton of time. It felt like there was no more casual play.

I used to describe my issues to friends by explaining what would happen when Jay and Justin brought home a new video game. For between one and three days, I could play with them. Might win a game or two. But once they put in a bit of time… more time than I had available, along with a lot more patience… that was it. My random-button-pushing ways and limited understanding of what combination-sequences would create placed me at such a disadvantage that I didn’t just lose and lose badly, it was extremely frustrating and not at all fun.

Do not underestimate that simplicity. That comfort. I will forever be convinced that the genius of the Nintendo Wii was the immediate start and play ease it provided.

Of course… one of the problems with getting older is that technology has a tendency to race right along. While it can provide moments of frustration, for the most part there is a reason why we are talking about the moves as progress and advancement. The true test is knowing when change is for the better and accepting it as opposed to waving a stick because you’re annoyed by anything and everything just because it’s new.

I’m not asking for everything to be intuitive and perfect, based on my criteria and needs. (That would be nice, of course, but I’m a reasonable man.) I just wish that when looking to create the new and improved version of things, it felt like some consideration was given to what was actually appreciated about the old and basic.

It’s always possible that it’s me… that the change is a good thing, and I need to catch up and learn. It’s also possible that it’s not me… and the new and improved is no longer offering what I appreciated getting.


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