When companies produce redesigns, the intention is usually to make things easier to use, make features more discoverable, and often to provide a visual refresh. As we all know, people don’t like change, so usually their is some level of revolt. This revolt usually subsides over the course of weeks or months and everyone moves on. But not always...
Stripe recently released an update of their dashboard. Initially I didn’t like it, but I decided to give it some time before passing judgment. It’s now been 2 months, and I still believe this is a huge step backwards in terms of usability. Stripe has managed to add additional steps to many steps of my typical workflow. Here are a few examples:
The old dashboard had 3 charts visible at all times: Volume, Charges and Customers Created. It was great to be able to quickly glance at all 3 metrics.
Let’s break this down:
Two of the three main charts have now been buried behind tabs. You now have to actually put effort into viewing the data that used to always be available.
- The line charts are much harder to parse visually.
- Stripe added a new row along the bottom (Transfers, Disputes, Radar). Previously, when there was a dispute, it would show an additional box at the bottom. This was great because it was a very obvious call-out that action needed to be taken. In the new design, the Disputes box is always there, even if there are no disputes. Unfortunately, I have completely missed seeing open disputes because the box always appears, and I start to ignore it. I end up not seeing the “0” number changing to something else. Put simply, the visual cue isn’t distinct enough from when that box doesn’t require any action.
- The Radar section is new, and completely useless to me since it isn’t a feature I use. Of course, it could be an upsell, but if a business doesn’t have a need for Radar, there’s really no reason for it to display there.
In summary, it seems like this new dashboard was designed by someone with a great eye for visual design, but didn’t think through the actual use cases of people like me. (Of course, there’s always the chance I’m in the minority.) But adding additional boxes along the bottom, just to even out the UI, is “pretty”, but completely useless otherwise.
Adding a Subscription
Creating a new subscription (with a trial) used to be a one-step process. It has now turned into a multi-page process that requires me to use Google when manually creating a subscription. First, a screenshot, then I’ll explain. (Pay close attention to the Trial end feature.)
Usually subscriptions are automatically created via the Stripe API, but from time to time, I have to create or modify subscriptions manually. For my case, it usually involves a one-time charge, then creating a subscription starting months from the current date.
In the old UI, clicking in the Trial end box would display a date picker, and you could easily choose the date you wanted.
In the new UI, aside from creating a simple modal into a 4-step process, the Trial period input is now a numerical input. That means you can no longer simply select a date from a calendar. So when I want to choose a date, I now have to go to Google, type “how many days until X, 2017”, and then enter the value.
Now, I can hypothesize some use cases where a numerical entry might be handy. But I can almost guarantee the decision to change the input type was done without due research on how people were actually using the input.
I could go on with more examples of how things have become harder to use, but I’ll save them.
The challenging thing about being a designer is that you are often not the target audience of the product that you’re designing. And without having the inherent understanding of a product - because you don’t use it in a real-world scenario, yourself - you tend to design differently.
It seems as if the people behind the Stripe redesign put form over function.