Never stop improving your design.

When Are My Sites Up launched in 2009, we didn’t have many options on the Settings page. Over time, as we added more and more features, we started to outgrow the original layout, which was a few fields that just contained email address and a few checkboxes to turn some options on and off, and a field for the user’s SMS number. Since 2009, we added

  • The ability to change credit card info
  • iOS Push Notifications
  • Android Push Notifications
  • Voice Calls
  • International SMS
  • The ability to buy SMS and voice call credits
  • RSS Feeds
  • User Management
  • Contact information for invoices

Each time we added something else to the page, I noticed that it was getting longer and longer, and that eventually the straw would break the camel’s back, but there was always something more important, or more pressing. Today a user asked to get a copy of their past invoice, and I decided to add that to the site so that users can generate their own invoices at will. As I scrolled all the way down the page looking for the best place to add the invoice links, I realized that today was the day that it all had to change. It’s pretty embarrassing that it got to this point.
settings-old

Today I took the extra 30 minutes to implement a jQuery accordion, and now the page looks much better.

settings-new

It actually contains more information than it did before (now there’s a list of links to all past invoices in there), but it is much easier to digest, scan and actually use. I’ve already heard from a few users who love the change. I just wish I’d made it sooner.

The moral of the story is: Always make your product better on both the technical and UX sides. Keep tabs on design choices that your feature set has outgrown, and assess your UX periodically to see whether or not things need tweaking. It’s a difficult balance, but your users will love you for it, and be more loyal because it shows that you have a dedication to improving the product over time. The same thing applies to iOS apps: if you continually make small fixes and updates, your users will notice and appreciate them. I’m working on getting better at both.