Discrete updates versus revolutions

There are two opposite manners to do updates to services, apps or web services. The first one is the discrete update process. It’s an iterative process. Version after version you refine a little bit the process and look. The second manner is to use revolutions update process. You start from fresh. Revolutions are what people love to hear about, test out but not work with. Do you recall any firm or colleague still on Windows XP? I do. And they are with an outdated operating system. And that because they don’t want a revolution. A great example of the value of the discrete updates is the process used by Apple. Last week, I helped my father on his computer. I asked him: did you do the updates? He answered that he didn’t do them. So I checked for available ones. None. He already had the newest version of the OS, and he didn’t notice any change. That’s a discrete update. 

Why to go for discrete updates

Improve don't bother

Updates are necessary we all know it. You may want to enhance the user experience for your actual customers. Or you may want to make things simpler for new customers. Or you just need to make your product more secure. Do an update without big changes in work environment and users will do the updates. In a work environment, you just want to find your stuff where it was. You don’t want to re-learn things all over.  Especially if you are doing this by duty and not fun. This type of discrete updates is valuable when your product isn’t used that often. If your customers have to use your service once per month, they want conformity. They are already a bit lost in your service. So if you change everything with a new update, you will make them even more lost.

Why to call it shiny

It’s a told revolution and a lived iteration

What is funny is that we all run after the new and shiny stuff, but at the end enjoy conformity. Thus, we should be able to build products and services that meet our hungriness for shine. At the same time, these services should keep the same level of conformity. How do you do that? There are two main options to do this. The first one is to change something that is visible but doesn’t not disturbing. Don't change the process. Want to be shiny? Change a bit the colors, margins and fonts. But keep the same structure and improve a bit the process. People will see a big change that is exciting. But still the process is just improved not changed. The other option is to use the placebo effect. It’s the Apple way. They call each of their product a revolution. They tell you that it’s all new and shiny. But in fact, the core, the process of using it is still the same. The form of the iPhone, for example, is quiet similar to the first version. If you knew how to use the first version of Mac OS X you can use the newest version without being lost. Can we say that of Windows? No. It’s why people hated that much Windows Vista and 8. Both of this version were revolution updates. People hated them. When Windows 7 came after Windows Vista, it was well received. It was a discrete update based on Vista. People loved it. The same happened with Windows 8 and its next version. People felt the new version was that much better. And still to a lot of tech people Windows 8 is an amazing operating system. It brought a lot of great new ideas. But it was a revolution it the process that disturbed all the normal users. 

For the next update of your product or service sell a revolution and do an iteration. People will love it.