We have a legacy application that has a sizeable group of power users. We will be releasing a new feature that will improve the experience for new and regular users, but we know it will impact the workflow for power users on a specific page and will likely irritate them.

How many details should the new feature popover cover? Should information about what power users need to tweak in their workflow be a part of this message? Or is it sufficient to simply notify users that there's a new feature and have them figure it out?

Note: power users in this case are not particularly computer savvy people. They simply happen to use our system a lot and have gotten used to the old, somewhat quirky, system.

  • 1
    When you say likely to irritate them, is it because there is a substantial change to the workflow, or that they just don't like change at all? In any case, users should be notified of changes to the system, whether they are power or new users (since new users will also become power users at some point - hopefully).
    – Michael Lai
    Jul 24, 2014 at 23:18
  • @MichaelLai More the latter. These are not substantial changes, but the existing power users have small shortcuts added into the system as feature requests in years pass. Because we're putting in a new mechanism of doing things that will be more intuitive to newer users, we need to take out the "workaround" shortcut.
    – nightning
    Jul 25, 2014 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


My suggestion is that for the popover, just simply describe the feature as if the targets are new/general users. On the bottom, have a link saying something like "Learn more?" or "For power users..." and link to a detail page describing how it would affect their workflow and why you've made the change.

If possible, allow users to choose if they want the latest shortcut or classic shortcut in the preference panel. I think the power users would've appreciate it. If not, adding some notes in the detail page mentioned above or in a separate email, telling them that you are aware of the possible side effects but you had to make the change in order to achieve some goals. "Sorry for the inconveniences and hope you understand". That should help a lot in terms of preventing power users feeling ignored and undergo unpleasant experiences.


I would definitely make sure to notify the existing users to such an extend that they understand the additions/changes and are able to grasp the improvement.

Even though you are creating a better experience for them, your changes could really backfire if your existing users don't 'get it'. If they don't understand what is happening at first and are unable to reach their goals, it is likely that they will perceive the new features as faulty or a step back even though it is an improvement.

For the question what to display I am not sure. In your comment on Michael Lal you state that you have removed some shortcuts. Are these shortcuts obsolete now? Or are they simply removed because you have a better system? It seems to me you should target these elements if that is what you believe what will annoy the user.

Edit: You should google the term Onboarding. Its about getting users engaged and introducing new functionality. Here are a few examples: http://www.dtelepathy.com/blog/design/ux-flows-onboarding http://uxarchive.com/tasks/onboarding http://www.useronboard.com/

  • Thanks for the feedback GWv. We're putting in a notice in front of all users the first time they arrive on the page with the new item explaining the changes. There's no way the system can reliably identify which users used that shortcut in the past. So the message is generic. And yes, the shortcut simply doesn't make sense any more in the new flow. This is the first time I heard Onboarding used for new functionality as oppose to for brand new users. Is that the term for it? or is there a more specific term? New question I think.
    – nightning
    Sep 3, 2014 at 18:56
  • Well I didn't really knew the term onboarding till I started googling UI Patterns for your specific problem. It does seem to fit your question though. There are more ways of calling it though. Try googling UX patterns for 'First time use' ' Blank slate' ' new user' etc.
    – GWv
    Sep 9, 2014 at 11:43

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