Contrary to Cheryl Crow, sometimes a change will not do you good. Designers and marketing experts have a natural desire to change things to keep them fresh. But sometimes the best possible customer experience is to keep what works.
I was sure my browser had lost its mind this afternoon when I launched Google Reader to catch up on my RSS feeds. What happened to the color? Why don’t things look the same? I closed down and restarted and it still wasn’t looking right. That’s when I noticed the banner at the top explaining that Google had updated the design of Google Reader.
Old Google Reader
New Google Reader
The new google reader is bland, colorless, and not nearly as visually appealing as the older version. In the related article, they explain the reasons behind the changes:
Google is all about speed, both under the hood as well as in the user experience. So, in order to make Reader act and feel more speedy and responsive, we’ve removed some visual clutter, simplified some features and given everything a bit more breathing room.
My suggestion would have been to find a way to make things faster without taking away all the visual elements. If speed is the only goal, this is the fastest loading web page.
So joining the Facebook redesign as both confusing and poorly done, we can add Google Reader as one for changing and taking something appealing and useful and scaling it back to look like 1998 again.
Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.