Changes, Changes, Changes... The right way to deal with changes? (comments on the new dashboard look)

I, like many, MANY others, am certifiably addicted to iNaturalist. I only half-way joke when I tell people about getting an iNat tattoo. In my opinion it is by far the most powerful tool in a (current or future) naturalists' toolbox to learning about and sharing nature. It has and continues to revolutionize the way that I go outside. I also see this happening in others through first hand experience -- I've seen folks discover iNat and almost instantaneously become more interested in nature. It's such a good thing.

The community of naturalists that iNat caters to is impressive indeed. How many times have I posted a snail to have a malacologist ID it for me?!? How many times have I posted a little dinky weed and a botanist guides me to the right species? I'll toss up a dragonfly observation, and the genuine experts help me. This is revolutionary stuff. I believe this sort of thing can and does change the world -- or at least my view of the world.

When something changes, it causes a guttural reaction ("ugh") -- as mentioned earlier by @greglasley , I think, it's probably just human nature. I get comfortable with something, and then it changes -- causing me to feel uncomfortable again. This typically happens with technology in my case as I'm pretty much a luddite...

So, I'm curious how others deal with changes like these. Functionality of the dashboard is essentially the same, but it just looks and feels different. The same occurred with the new observations screen and the identify tool. They're great, but definitely different. Definitely uncomfortable to start out with.

So, what do you think of the new changes to iNat?

Posted on 28 June, 2016 22:59 by sambiology sambiology


Makes me feel old :-) and I'm not good with tech changes, but I'm learning to live with it and I actually do like the new way to upload observations.

Posted by cgritz about 8 years ago

I really enjoy the new identify tool. I find it much easier to sort by taxon and local as well as seeing expanded thumbnails more rapidly. Seems to me this tool will allow people with experience in specific taxa to rapidly review relevant observations and provide confirmation/guidance. All these changes feel like it is modernizing iNat and streamlining functions. I still haven't had a great experience with the mass uploading feature, but I will blame that on bad internet connection and trying to upload >30 observations.

Posted by anewman about 8 years ago

Scott just made changes regarding the things that were most irritating to me. So, from my perspective it is all fine now. All the comments are at:!topic/inaturalist/z7t30ASzdn4
for those interested.

Posted by greglasley about 8 years ago

I just try to be patient, and I know that I will get used to the new versions of these things after a while.

I think it's very important not to let your emotions have the upper hand over things that are just practical challenges.

Posted by susanhewitt about 8 years ago

"Grant me patience... And I want it right now!" ;)

I too shall get used to it -- it'll just require a bit more practice! :)

@kueda and @loarie have been super helpful on the google group as well -- it's always good to check that out.

Posted by sambiology about 8 years ago

I like the larger size of images on the new dashboard. I have seen so many changes in so many things over the years, I expect change and hope for the best. This change seems to be for the better overall for me, but you can't please all the people all the time.

Posted by oz4caster about 8 years ago

I know for me may things looked different having been out for the past several days. I do like the new identification pages, the new dashboard will take some time getting used to it as it seems inefficient to me. But I am well known for not liking changes.

Posted by scottbuckel about 8 years ago

The new observation search is amazing. It finally lets me use iNaturalist as a tool for identifying things. If say I want to ID a dragonfly, I do a search for dragonflies in a box around where I saw it then hit the species tab. That gives a list of every dragonfly species seen in the area, ordered most common to least commonly submitted. Might not help in rural Africa, but in Southern California it is pretty unlikely you found a species not on that list.

Also, the new tools for Identification and submission are ridiculously efficient compared to what I was doing.

Based on that, I have a hard time getting too worked up about the dashboard.

Posted by glmory about 8 years ago

I like the new changes. Though it will take some time getting used too. Not to mention the fact that iNaturalist helps expand people's knowledge of nature. For example, I started off on the website knowing herps and only herps. Now I know more about butterflies and moths, birds, mammals, and my favorite arachnids, etc.

Posted by dominic about 8 years ago

Thanks for the kind words, everyone, but thanks for the honest and helpful criticism, too.

Posted by kueda about 8 years ago

New dashboard: too wide for my tastes. I already have my browser set wider than I would like, just for iNat. Now the site wants even more screen real estate. Also confusing because the new observations posting form (which I used exactly once) only takes up a corner but the dashboard is wiiiiide. Maybe they're nice for people on smartphones.

I don't like the new identify tool. So many clicks to see a large picture and get context. Also, it doesn't tell you whether someone else has already made a suggestion on ID.

I take a deep breath and consider that I am probably in the minority.

Posted by eknuth about 8 years ago

I'm just now seeing the changes since I usually just use the iPhone app to download observations. If they change the app, that will really freak me out. I will admit that I don't like change, but I'll adapt. I haven't tried the observation tool yet that was referenced above, but I think that will come in handy once I figure it out.

Posted by jblinde about 8 years ago

I'm digging it. Site is loading lot quicker now.

Posted by ntc about 8 years ago

I've been playing with it a bunch more, and I agree -- the changes are great! :)

See how quickly we can change?!? ;)

Posted by sambiology about 8 years ago

So I mainly use the app on my phone, however I just now logged in to a computer and was shocked by the changes. Although I know I'll (eventually) get used to it, I initially was a bit annoyed, as it meant I'd have to relearn a few things. I haven't played with any of the new bells and whistles yet, but I'm sure they are an improvement.

Posted by rangerrick about 8 years ago

I didn't notice the changes so I guess I'm okay with it. 😀.

Posted by eric_keith about 8 years ago

The new dashboard organization is attractive and it will no doubt be easier for new people to understand and use, and that is good. However, because it shows far few items per page, and it takes a while to load up a new page, and a greater number of pages are not available compared with how it was before, I am doing a great deal less IDing than before. Before I could do a large number of IDs very rapidly.

I also really don't need telling about comments I myself have made -- that is rarely helpful to me.

Posted by susanhewitt about 8 years ago

There are actually exactly the same number of updates per page. We are collapsing updates when there are many updates per item (many comments on an observation, many observations from a place, etc), but they're all still there behind the "Show more" button. Speed of loading a new page should also be identical, b/c while we changed the way we show the content, we didn't change the way we get it out of the database. My subjective perceptual experience is that's actually faster.

For those of you who are hardcore identifiers and have been using the dashboard to keep on top of new things to identify, try checking out We link to it from some of the dashboard updates, but you can also just set the filters you way you like them and bookmark it. E.g. Susan, if you want to identify land snails from everywhere, you might use

Your own comments should not generate updates for you (again, no change from before), but I think there is a problem there wherein if someone else's comment generates an update, the dashboard is not necessarily showing you the comment that generated that update, just the item the comment was made on and the most recent comment. That definitely feels like a bug.

Posted by kueda about 8 years ago

Thanks Ken-ichi for the info, clearly I need to spend more time exploring the options. :)

Posted by susanhewitt about 8 years ago

I am much happier now, thanks for explaining that stuff to me!

Posted by susanhewitt about 8 years ago

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