The Legacy of Legacy

Adjective: legacy “Denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.” — Google

When designing a solution for a product or service, legacy systems can be one of the main areas of frustration for UX’ers. Large organisations are often hampered by their Legacy Systems and Legacy Customers as they both set limitations on the end solution.

Wait what’s a legacy customer?

When your website or app has been out in the wild for a few years’ your customers will have learnt how to use it, no matter how usable it actually is.

Congratulations! You now have a growing pool of legacy customers, who expect a consistent experience and will take their business elsewhere if your product becomes too difficult to use.

On the flipside you also have new customers that demand an amazing service, which is trustworthy, quick AND easy to use. They don’t care if you have been around for decades or if you have millions of customers ‘What are you going to give me?’

Evolve your product in steps, not jumps

And that’s the problem, two sets of customers that want different things. How do you keep your existing customer base happy, while keeping up to date with the latest tech and enticing new customers? How often have you cursed the supermarket for moving the bread isle or a website moving the feature that you use the most?

The overall user experience needs to be evolving in steps and not jumps. Update what is working and remove the stuff that can’t be fixed or is out of date. Your website doesn’t need to be radically be redesigned every couple of years (yes there are exceptions). Small steps help reduce alienation and the constant relearning of your website.

Take a step — Evaluate — Then take another step.

Most web start-ups are more agile and innovative than their established competitors as they have no legacy systems or legacy customers to cater for. 
You lucky, lucky b*stards!