What to do when your users hate your new design

  • 1
  • June 22, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Digg.com has a pretty major problem today after the new threaded comment system was widely slammed by Digg users.

Almost 4,000 users have dugg up a story and the first comment “No kidding. This sucks” has received over 1000 diggs so far.

Digg Comments

Mashable has a number of interesting questions but the key aspect is for Digg to figure out how long to keep the comment system running and what to do about the revolt.

Is this a justifiable revolt? Do the majority of Diggers really think that the new system is awful, or is it just a vocal minority that’s winning the argument? Will this turn into another catastrophe, and will Digg again be forced to change something because the users didn’t like it? And, most importantly, what will happen if Digg users massively revolt some big feature that brings revenue to Digg, like the upcoming restaurant & product reviews, as announced by Kevin Rose? So far, the feedback on that idea hasn’t been positive.

How Facebook stopped the revolt

Facebook had a similar issue last September when they launched news feeds so people could gain easy access to updates from their friends. Users hated it and threatened to boycott the site.

Facebook solved the issue by allowing 100,000 users to help shape the future of the site. This open consultation has helped Facebook continue to grow and stopped the user revolt in its tracks.

It’s very hard for a site to launch a new project and be told straight away that it sucks. It’s even harder to accept the comments and pull the new features from the site.

In most cases the best method is to let users trial the features and then allow them to offer feedback and suggestions and even vote on how the system should work. Give the power back to the users – they only want whats best for the site.

If your community is especially vocal like Digg then you really can’t afford to let a user revolt happen for more than 24 hours.