New isn’t always better, but it makes the old feel worse

Yesterday, while I was having the tires changed on my car, I had to borrow one to get me around. I took this opportunity to borrow the newest version of the car I currently have and experience the differences — like trying an iPhone 6S when you are used to an iPhone 6 — even though the look identical. When I first took this brand new car for a drive, I wasn’t overwhelmed. Sure the technology was newer and better and they have surely been working to catch up with the user experience of forefront brands like Tesla. It was good, but it wasn’t a totally new experience.

The big aha-moment rather came moments ago when I picked up my car. It felt so stiff and old! The technology was ancient! The interiors were clumsy and inferior! And although I had only had the newer version for 24 hours, I had already gotten used to a keyless experience and almost forgot the keys in my car when I had parked it…

This got me thinking about how we experience much of the same phenomenon with technology and websites. It’s often not the initial experience that’s the one we remember, but rather the bad experience that truly makes us cherish the great one! My iPhone 7+ felt pretty large when I got it but it wasn’t something out of the ordinary. Now, when I pickup a normal sized iPhone, it feels so tiny! We don’t think about the ease of TouchID until we have an experience where it doesn’t work (or worse, isn’t available!).

So while first impressions do last, perhaps we don’t always truly benefit from them until we’ve put them into perspective?


Originally published at antonsten.com on April 5, 2017.