One thing that companies providing online services need to remember is that people adapt to their service, finding the best way of using it. If you then change the service, you can invalidate all that previous usage. It can all become just too hard for users
I mention this today for two reasons.
The first is The Australian web site with its new pay walls. I realised yesterday looking at my instinctive reactions to the site that it had moved from skim, select and read to skim and ignore. I feel that I should still check it, but there is no pleasure in it.
The second is Google's latest changes that appear to have had this effect. I quote from Neil Whifield's latest post:
"Damn you, Google!
“Today we’re rolling out the new Reader design, and the Google+ features that we mentioned just over a week ago. Before the day’s over, all Reader users will be able to enjoy the following improvements:…”
Integrating it with Google+ includes “The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing "Like"), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing "Share" and "Share with Note").”
In other words I no longer have a stand-alone Reader I can share with you.
From now on I will be noting a smaller number of items on Facebook instead."
I have followed Neil's Google Reader with interest since he began publishing it. If the position now is as he describes it, then it's a real loss.
One of the really big problems with changes designed by and for the interneteratti lies in the way it affects the rest of us. The more time we have to spend managing and modifying, the less time for the things that provided the original rationale for use.
The internet makes suppliers lazy. They rely on the internet itself for test, but outside the interneteratti most ordinary users don't actually read the material they (the suppliers) put out. The end result is greater systemic complexity.