I'm trying to explain why one of tests is causing a negative reaction when the UX of the page has been improved. My instant thought was that the change we have made is too extreme and our core audience doesn't like it.

In your experience, has anyone come across examples of this behavior? Will be helpful when trying to explain why a test that on the surface looks like it should win, when in-fact it has returned a negative result.

  • 1
    Please explain the down votes so I can improve my question.
    – sclarke
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 10:27
  • The downvotes are probably because you're not asking for any of the experts here to give you an answer, but asking people to do a google search for you.
    – JonW
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 11:15
  • 3
    What tests are you doing? How are you seeing "negative reactions" (via surveys?) and how do you know your page has been improved (via usability testing?)? Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 12:09
  • The Gap logo redesign comes to mind, although it is not specifically a UX change but a rebranding exercies: bbc.com/news/magazine-11517129
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 9:43
  • @KenMohnkern makes a very good point - what you are assuming to be the UX improvement might not be the case (think about type I and II errors here). It is important not to look for the answers that you want when researching or testing, or at least try to keep in mind of potential cognitive biases.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 9:47

2 Answers 2


Extreme change is mostly bad since people don't like drastic changes. I mean, just imagine that you come home and your girlfriend changed the entire living room. Before she changed the entire room you felt safe, knew where to find stuff like the remote control and could complete the "task" of turning on the TV.

Now, even though she bought nicer looking furniture, a more comfortable couch and a bigger TV you have a hard time finding your stuff and don't feel "at home" because it's all new and overwhelming.

I think you get the point of the example.

I still love this example from eBay:

At eBay, they learned the hard way that their users don’t like dramatic change. One day, the folks at eBay decided they no longer liked the bright yellow background on many of their pages, so they just changed it to a white background. Instantly, they started receiving emails from customers, bemoaning the change. So many people complained, that they felt forced to change it back.

Not content with the initial defeat, the team tried a different strategy. Over the period of several months, they modified the background color one shade of yellow at a time, until, finally, all the yellow was gone, leaving only white. Predictably, hardly a single user noticed this time.

There are many more examples like this one.

Even though this article is from 2006 it's still a great read:



It's quite well known in Psychology and UX and humans are creatures of habit. Humans cry out for innovation, but get angry when change in general interrupts their journey. When changing an experience for a user (example, Virgin Atlantic), make sure that the trade-off and benefit far outweighs the change for the user.

Onto your request. Here are a few:



Just remember Jakob Nielsen's law "your users spend most of their time on other websites".

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