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Why Everybody Hates Redesigns


Queerty was totally just hopping on the Facebook bandwagon when we launched our redesign yesterday. Like Mark Zuckerberg’s programmers, our intent wasn’t to improve, but to piss everyone off! And like Fred Phelps, Bill O’Reilly, and Ann Coulter, you hate it! (Well, a vocal bunch of you do. Some of you love it.) But like the scallywags joining “Bring Back Old Facebook” groups, there’s a reason all these complaints come pouring in: Everyone hates change. Especially change in the form of a redesign.

“Though Facebook will probably tweak its new layout over the next few weeks—sites always tweak new designs—the giant social network is unlikely to revert to its former self,” opines Slate‘s excellent tech columnst Farhad Manjoo. “That’s because it’s banking on a tried-and-true axiom of the Web: People always hate when their favorite site is suddenly completely different. A lot of them threaten to quit. They’re bluffing.”

Indeed, Queerty‘s readers are bluffing too. Your comments and emails say you’re leaving the site forever! Which would be a shame, if it were true.

But it’s not.

Yesterday — the day of our redesign — we recorded an increase in regular visitors (and an increase in new visitors). Today, we’re on track for the same. So either your brother is logging on to Queerty from your computer pretending to be you, or we’ve found a whole new crop of readers already replacing the ones who “quit” us. The trend was true the last time we unveiled a an upgrade to the homepage: More people started coming to Queerty, which is, ya know, sort of our goal in life.

“In a poll on the site,” reports Manjoo, “more than 1 million members—94 percent of respondents—say they can’t stand the design.” And if we polled our readers, I imagine we’d have similar results. But here’s an important distinguishing factor: “Still, I’m not very confident that my feelings are genuine. When a site as popular as Facebook makes a change as big as this, it’s hard to know whether your immediate negative response really does reflect substantive concerns. As we flit about the Web every day, we get used to our favorite sites being laid out in a certain way. We develop habits for interacting with them, ways of moving the mouse or the keyboard that become so familiar they’re etched in our muscle memory. Redesigns discombobulate us. But eventually we adjust. Over the next few weeks, you’ll probably grow increasingly comfortable with the new Facebook.”

And we imagine the same will be true of Queerty‘s affable readership. If not, there’s still Classic Queerty. Not even Facebook seems to be offering that anymore.