Rip the band-aid off. For a lot people, this how you go about changing things. Just jump straight in and make the change happen. Of course, this inevitably leads to some bring problems.
Yesterday, Instagram launched a new design and icon and it’s fair to say that it not go over well in the design community. This wasn’t a change in terms skeuomorphic versus flat design. This was a flat out change in the opposite direction of what the icon previously was.
Now in a just a few weeks majority of people won’t be thinking about the new icon. However, because the change was so rapid, Instagram immediately starts off with a large amount resistance from it’s user base. (The good news for Instagram is that I doubt anyone will stop using the app because of an icon change.) This resistance while not permanent, does force Instagram to be on the defensive when explaining the change to their users. That’s not exactly how you want to be spending your time.
So how do you mitigate resistance to change? Well one way to do that is by doing smaller incremental changes over a long period of time. These small change will be noticed by the audience, but not in such a way that feels like a complete change.
For example, what Instagram could have done was first take the logo from skeuomorphic to a slightly flatter design, then to a completely flat design, then to a multicolor design and finally to the design that we have today. Yes, that would take more brand management on their part, but this could have been an 18 month rollout, that could have caused them a lot less heartache then what they’re dealing with right now.