Is it possible to completely redesign a web app?
I use Highrise every day. It's is the best contact manager app I've ever had. Yesterday 37signals announced that they are going to roll out a new design of the app in the beginning of 2010.
When we launched Highrise in 2007, we piggybacked on the visual design and layout of Basecamp. That design has served us well over the past few years, but we never felt the layout was optimized for Highrise.
This is something I've thought about a lot. If you have a web app with thousands of users, is it possible to make a huge redesign? Won't people (non web geeks) be angry when they can't find a button they push every day.
It will be interesting to see how they'll handle critics. It won't be possible to use the old layout once the new is in place. And no, your company can't pick the date. You are in the hands of Jason Fried.
This is how it will be from now on with Software-as-a-Service instead of traditional software. Is it a bad thing? I don't think so. I don't want to go back to a world with version incompatibility, upgrades etc.
More screenshot and info can be found at 37signals product blog.
Update: The new layout has been rolled out. I'm not actually a huge fan of it yet and a lot of voices are demanding the "old look" in the forum.