Users Don’t Hate Change. They Hate Our Design Choices.

Jared M. Spool
9 min readApr 23, 2018

A message appeared to users at the top of the screen that was deep in the administration system for Google’s G-Suites apps. It read “The new User management feature has more efficient workflows, time-saving features, insights about account issues and so much more. Try it now.”

The message appeared above a functional list of all users enrolled in that organization’s G-Suite subscription. It seemed everything the administrator needed to do to keep their co-workers happy was available.

Yet, progress is progress and the Google G-Suites designers felt the user management feature, which hadn’t seen much design love since it was first launched, needed an overhaul. They created a new version, which is closer in look and feel to the design system they’ve employed elsewhere. It even had some new functionality for the administrator, though the details weren’t clear from any communication beyond what was in the message.

Clicking on the message did indeed bring up a cleaner, better-looking version of the user management feature. Other than colors, spacing, and font changes, it was hard to see what the difference was.

Giving Users Control Over Design Changes

The G-Suites team made the design changes more embraceable for their users with that simple message at the top of the old design. They didn’t just change it for everyone at the same time. They gave their users an option.

The designers went a step further. For a while, at the top of the newly designed user management feature, there was a sister message informing users they could change it back.

This way, any administrators who felt the new system was disrupting their immediate workflow could click back. They could go back to a design that worked as they previously expected. Those administrators that did go back to the old design could try it again in the future, when it’s more convenient.

Change Can Get In The Way Of Users’ Productivity

These administrators aren’t coming to the G-Suites Administration system to explore new design options. They didn’t wake up that morning saying, “Today will be a fantastic day because I can learn if…

Jared M. Spool

Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre - UIE. Helping designers everywhere help their organizations deliver well-designed products and services.