How could I inform users of my website that I'm removing some features like author, duration, etc on the search results and explain that it causes it to slow down drastically without being too intrusive?

Some options I've come up with are:

  • Use something like Toastr to put a notification in the top right.
  • Add an alert into the HTML. (Preferably not.)
  • Use something like SweetAlert to popup a notification. (Definitely not.)

I'm trying to come up with the best method of letting them know why, pre-thanks to everyone who responds.

  • Welcome to the site, @Connor! Can you give a little more context? Do your users have the option to opt for the slower search? Do you have any sense of how many users are likely to notice the change? or to care about the change? Is there any aspect of the notification that users would need to respond to? – Graham Herrli May 3 '15 at 19:12
  • Thanks! Sorry about not going into enough detail, they cannot opt for the slower search (99.99% would not care :V). Every user will notice it, the load difference is about 5 seconds quicker, the notification will just be there to say why some details are gone. – ConnorMcF May 3 '15 at 19:53
  • How many users (percentage) use the deprecated functions? The type and distribution for the notice will depend on the answer. – tohster May 4 '15 at 10:35
  • 0%, as mentioned above. – ConnorMcF May 4 '15 at 10:42

Don't inform them

  • The features being removed are not used by anyone today.
  • Providing a notice to users that you are removing them is likely to create more confusion than clarity: you're informing users that you're removing a feature they don't use and may never have heard of.

If you've got your 0% usage metrics right, you can remove the features and add an article in your knowledge base / help system in case some user decides to inquire about it later on.

If you really have to...

Sometimes because of regulatory or SLA/customer terms you have to disclose these changes. My first reaction would be to check with legal to make sure you really have to disclose.

If you do, then provide a message that is relevant to 100% of your users rather than 0% of your users:

  • We're making search faster!
    • You may notice an improvement in the performance of your search results over the coming months. We are streamlining our search results which should provide a much faster user experience for you.
    • As part of this upgrade, we are simplifying the search function on the site (find out more...)

...then provide the deprecation information if users really want to find out more.


You could make a top bar on the page with a notice saying "we made some changes to search, learn more" or say "we made search faster, learn more". Make a little blog post about why you made the changes you did and link "learn more" to it.

Make sure the top bar has a close icon that can remove the notice, once people have read it.

This way if people are really interested they can click through to find out what changes were made to search. I'm guessing most people wont care. After a few weeks you can remove the top bar notice all together. But, people will still be able to access the blog post to see what changes were made.


If you have a blog for the website that would be one way of getting the information out there. That would probably be enough if it is, as you are saying, only about 0.01% of the users that use the functionality you're removing.

To be really sure that the users have got the information you could send a newsletter with the information.

The top bar alternative mentioned by theMark is also a great way of showing information without the user feeling the need to interact. It could also be placed in the search form or in the search result.

If the site have many updates where functionality is changed or added you could go for a feature like the one Zendesk uses for their system updates (Zendesk - Admin Home Overview). This is maybe more applicable for a web application rather than a website.

  • I haven't been clear enough, sorry. Right now, you get more info, causing the page to load slowly, so I've removed some info to make it load faster. – ConnorMcF May 4 '15 at 17:43
  • I got that, but if it's only 0.01% of the users that will be affected do you really need to inform about the changes? The other 99.9% will only notice that it will go faster for them with the functionality that they already used that stayed the same. – Edvin Linden May 4 '15 at 18:57

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