The little things matter

I have a hummingbird feeder by my front porch. The recipe is fairly simple 1/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water.  I tried last week to use the most organic plain sugar I could get which was raw sugar from Trader Joe’s.  After using the organic sugar I did not have much hummingbird activity. It turns out that the hummingbirds don’t love organic sugar they prefer the bleached white Domino Sugar.  After whipping up a small batch with the regular sugar the hummingbirds eagerly came back to the feeder.  

This small change that in my opinion was more natural and better for them turned out to reduce their frequency.   It is interesting because you can often find the same behavior in software usability. Companies will make an update and change something that they perceive as very small and in the users best interest yet customers just do not like it.  Many times, you will not get emails telling you that they are unhappy, they will just reduce usage.  This is why it is important to have a baseline behavior measured.  That way after the change you can see if there is any affect on usage.  I admit that I don’t always take a baseline measure before making many changes but the hummingbirds reminded me how important it is.