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So that I won't be accused of failling to mention it, a UI change made today was to surround the list of sticky threads with a thin box to separate them from the regular threads a bit more.

However, in doing so, I came to a realization as to something I want to say in this post: A lot of the small UI changes I make, such as this one, revolve around A/B testing different things and then tracking statistics to see if usability has increased or decreased as a result. In these cases, beta sites just wouldn't work, as I need sample sizes of 1,000,000+ people in order to get an accurate overall representation.

This is very similar to what companies like Google do when they change their logo to be Goooooooooogle instead to see if it gets more/fewer clicks, and change color elements on their site.

However, for all of the bigger things, a summary of what's changed over the course of the month is always mentioned in the monthly newsletters.

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However, in doing so, I came to a realization as to something I want to say in this post: A lot of the small UI changes I make, such as this one, revolve around A/B testing different things and then tracking statistics to see if usability has increased or decreased as a result. In these cases, beta sites just wouldn't work, as I need sample sizes of 1,000,000+ people in order to get an accurate overall representation.

But I think that's exactly what annoys people like me. I'd prefer it if you made a change, then stuck with it. Right now I feel like I'm a guinea pig. Or like I'm using software out of a CVS repository that's being updated in real time.

This is very similar to what companies like Google do when they change their logo to be Goooooooooogle instead to see if it gets more/fewer clicks, and change color elements on their site.

Their changes seem much more subtle. The only interface change Google made that I can recall offhand is the one where they moved the navbar to the top of the page.

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Google changes things quite regularly. However, because they are very important to my business, and I work with many Google services such as AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, Gmail, Google News, etc, all throughout the day, every day, in combination with my studying of web usability, I am able to pick up on many things ordinary users might not.

While I do understand where you're coming from, it's just a fact of nature that website usability relies on A/B testing, and constantly testing different methods, and tracking the performance of everything, to see what works best for what audience. For example, moving a little Google ad from directly above a button to directly below a button might result in a 50% increase in revenue.

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I know it's been suggested before, but a beta.daniweb.com would, in my opinion, be a vast improvement. You'd get a good idea of what kind of feedback you'll receive when you release it to the public, you could select users to test out your new changes, and once you've as many bugs as you can ironed out, release it. For users, it would mean learning the updated UI less often.

This I agree with -- for changes that actually affect usability. Moving buttons, changing fonts, things that make the site different in operation or strong visual changes.

That's definitely by all means standard for software. However, when was the last time you saw google.com or digg.com or cnet.com or any other large website for that matter publically release such a document? The answer: they wouldn't.

I rarely see them make small changes on a daily basis. They may innocuously tweak something, but when large changes get rolled out all in one shot, and I'll bet it's only after a strong beta-test from select users. They are (probably) never implemented so that the entire user base sees them for the first time.

So that I won't be accused of failling to mention it, a UI change made today was to surround the list of sticky threads with a thin box to separate them from the regular threads a bit more.

This is something that can be done 'on the fly' because it doesn't really affect the usability of the site.

Google changes things quite regularly. However, because they are very important to my business, and I work with many Google services such as AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, Gmail, Google News, etc, all throughout the day, every day, in combination with my studying of web usability, I am able to pick up on many things ordinary users might not.

If ordinary users won't pick things up, these are the 'innocuous' changes I would suspect. Or do they continually move buttons, change fonts and colors, rearrange the page contents regularly?

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