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User Legacy Love

Some few weeks ago, I had to pull the plug on one of the systems I have loved fondly for years when I was a student at Midlands State University. I am of the opinion that the MSU eLearning Platform was one of the key defining moments of MSU becoming pace-setting institution in ICT solutions. The technology world is dynamic and change is inevitable and I was one of the developers who was tasked with the honour to develop the successor (NEXT GEN) of the platform and I did that with great care not to offend user nostalgic sentiments at the same time making the platform more powerful in ways users might not realise.

My attachment to the old system was strong.

Legacy attachment may be a sentimental driver of change aversion, but it feels no less valid to the user. Familiarity breeding liking is a proven phenomenon referred to as the mere exposure effect. When a product changes, it can offend our nostalgic sentiments – even if the changes are ultimately beneficial.

We look back with affection at old products and their clunky designs. (Indeed, there is a growing market catering to nostalgia-driven re-releases.) The lesson is clear: users feel fondly towards legacy systems, and newer releases often compare unfavourably to a sentimental eye.

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