Upcoming’s disastrous switch from personal-social to general-social

Till a few months ago, Upcoming was one of the sites I visited daily. I went there to find what my friends are upto. I watched events even when I could not attend them (it was often an expression of my wish to be there more than anything else). Then one day Upcoming redesigned. They cleaned up their visual look and feel – no drastic changes, just minor changes. Nothing earth shattering.

For me the best part of Upcoming was being able to see what events my friends are going to. With their redesign, Upcoming decided to hide that behind two clicks. Now when you go to the site, I see whats popular in San Francisco, but I have to click to see what my friends are upto. Even on an events page, I can no longer easily see if any of my friends are going there. Instead I am shown the groups and tags. But I have to click to see who is attending.

Thats all it took to kill Upcoming for me. In my informal survey, many of my friends have stopped going there for the same reason.

I wonder what inspired this redesign. What was the goal here? To push the popular more than the personal? Had the team seen the stats? Had they talked to their users? Did they know how many people used it to keep track of friends events?

Such fundamental redesigns are often a bad idea. And the move from a personal-social is especially dangerous. If you are used to a service being all about you and your friends, then the general-popular feels like a real intrusion.

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