I hate it when my local supermarket decides to rearrange what's in which aisles in order to improve their profitability. The disorientation makes me frustrated and cranky, instead of relaxed and enjoying my weekly shopping experience. I usually mutter loudly each time I go to the store until I've finally adjusted to the "new and improved" layout. Often I notice the store manager bustling about, and I make sure that he or she knows how I feel.
Frustrated and cranky was the way I felt today when I went to my GoogleNews tab in my Firefox browser (yes, I still use Firefox, not Chrome), and discovered that my "personal" news page had been rearranged because Google decided to change the layout and features. Arghh! I had my Google News page organized to highlight the topics I care about the most and my eye trained to roam across the two-column layout to hit the things that are most critical to my work-life and my other interests. Instead, Google had rearranged the layout so that all of my "sections" are listed in one large left-hand column and the things Google wants to call to my attention are in a narrow right hand column. I didn't want the "new and improved" version right then. I also didn't want to spend time right then, re-organizing and re-selecting which news items I wanted to see. It's not that I would NEVER be interested in changing the layout and priorities. It's only that I'm not interested in doing so NOW. Unlike a grocery store layout, a different Web page layout can be easily shown to each individual. So why didn't Google just offer a button I could click on to see a preview of a new and improved personalized news service. When I was in the mood, the chances are good that I'd click on it and start rearranging things to suit my current interests.
Most Web properties are really careful when they change the main pages their customers visit. They ASK you if you want to preview/play with the new version. They let you go back to the older version if you don’t like the new one. They migrate you gradually, over time.