“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. “ – Benjamin Franklin
Recently, I found myself in the middle of a Six Degrees of Wikipedia spree (it started at skeuomorphism) where I had landed on a page about a mid-90s Windows shell called Packard Bell Navigator. A big part of my early computer life was sunk into PB Navigator’s Kidspace, a little digital nook on the family computer that looked something like this:
Back in the mid-90s, I thought this was the coolest thing ever. Who knows how much time I spent clicking around on this screen looking for “Easter eggs” (if you clicked on the little skull or squid up in the corner, for example, it made a funny noise) and rearranging my games on the shelves, not to mention actually playing those games (my favorites were Rodent’s Revenge and SkiFree).
Looking back on this interface now, nearly twenty years later (geez! Way to make myself feel old!), with my brand new job as PlayHaven’s Senior User Experience Designer, I’m kind of amazed at how much things have changed.
In the design world, change is constant. Even if a product or application seems “finished” to our consumers, chances are we’re behind the scenes, sworn to secrecy, getting the next big thing ready.
Most of the time, changes are incremental. We release small changes to introduce functionality, fix bugs or improve the experience, and keep the product running smoothly and efficiently. Little by little, the product evolves and grows, at a comfortable rate; the releases are frequent, but the changes are manageable, almost bite-sized.
Dramatic changes, however, happen much less frequently, and have a much bigger impact. More after the jump »