A lot of user interface design is managing user expectation (things people have gotten used to, like where a "create" button is or what a "share" icon looks like) versus optimizing for long-term usability of an app (something like Snapchat, with its seemingly-esoteric UI that is actually efficient once one is used to using it).
The only reason the author gives for taking this position is that "Participating on someone else’s operating system means you’re on their turf. The author even admits that "I’m not saying either design is superior." So app companies should forego optimizing for user experience to pay respect to the platform that they're on? This is a totally backwards position; apps should respect their users. If that means following all the OS guidelines for a sparingly used app, that's fine. But if that means creating a unique UI and app flow for long-term user happiness, then the app company owes no respect to the "local conventions" of the OS.
This PoV has engendered more hatred in me towards software creators than probably any other. Not bad considering I spent 25 years creating software.
If I'm on Gnome/Android/Windows 10/OSX/Whatever, frankly I'd prefer everything follows GUI guidelines, standards guides and looks, acts and feels like a native. Trouble is everyone knows best.
iTunes "knew better" and made Windows look and feel like a Mac. Fine, except it made the program clunky and stand out for being different. Apple knew best with iMessage and decides it should invisibly merge sms and their own messaging. Result? A dozen times a day it would hang for 10 minutes or so trying to connect to data-unreachable imessage servers. Just send a damn SMS, which is what I wanted in the first place. Google came up with Hangouts that at first release (i've not revisited it) managed to leave out every essential of a messaging app. It was sort-of pretty, but very broken.
Google and Microsoft always know best and don't even respect their own standards, let alone anyone else's. Neither are any good at all at designing GUIs and frankly should just stop. Outsource to someone who can. Samsung should take note of this too.
I don't want 40 different unique UIs all optimising app flow for long term user happiness as that's anarchy with 50 (sic) different ways of doing things in those 40 apps. I'd prefer it felt a little dated to work on Android or whatever if it was then seamlessly perfect in gestures, GUI and function.
Everyone needs to just stop knowing best. 99.9 times out of 100 they don't.
Exactly why going native is a really good thing - people can fully adopt your app almost immediately as they don't need to learn your different (knowing best) conventions and extensions.
At the same time... Google Drive applications looked very familiar to people coming from the MS Office world. If you're trying to replace a competitor, mimicry isn't a bad place to start.
Facebook is going down the consistency across platforms route and not the consistency with platform route (I'm not passing judgement on them, and in some ways I disagree with the article's main thesis).
I spend a lot of time without either signal or internet when in the countryside and this allows me to seamlessly communicate. The last thing I want is to either switch programs to carry on conversations, or manually choose what kind of message to send. Both would be a pain.
My main objectbbion to iMessage is that it only works with other apple products, so I end up using whatsapp with some people - where I need 2 apps to handle simple messaging and conversation histories get split up etc etc.
Friend of mine has an iPad and an iPhone, often her iPhone data plan runs out so I send a message, it's blue and acts like it's delivered.... then I get a reply 6 hours later when she finally gets home and sees it on her iPad because the iPhone never received it because it didn't have a data connection.
Worst part is sometimes I know I need to send it SMS and it's a real pain trying to convinced iMessage to send SMS when it think the person is online with iMessage due to an iPad being left on somewhere. Can never remember which tap and hold dance actually gives me the SMS option.
Agree on the messaging. I miss just having adium or pidgin connected to everything, now I'd need a dozen chat apps to stay in touch with everyone!
And yet, they also all behave the same. There's a consistency across all of the apps that makes it clear they're the exact same app, but there's also a consistency with the platform that makes them feel like native apps everywhere.
Point taken, though I'll point out that iMessage makes it clear the distinction between iMessages (blue) and SMS (green), and provides an easy 'send as SMS' option.
Google's message integration, on the other hand, merged SMS and GTalk, with the result that I have several friends who would try to text someone to say 'hey where are you at', and it would send them a GTalk message to their laptop, which was turned on and signed in at home, rather than an SMS to their phone. Worse, I know one friend who couldn't figure out if there was any way to tell which one it sent, or how to force it to do one or the other.
In other words, Google did the same thing, but even worse.
> Result? A dozen times a day it would hang for 10 minutes or so trying to connect to data-unreachable imessage servers. Just send a damn SMS, which is what I wanted in the first place.
I haven't had this specific issue frequently, except when I had extremely unreliable data services (i.e. if I had a data connection but my network was broken, if I was on Wifi but my internet connection was down, or if I was in San Francisco), but I understand that there are definitely people who experience one of those issues very frequently.
And yet, your hatred is directed at the PoV that companies should respect an OS's conventions, yet who says that the OS knows best?
When someone picks up a new piece of software, they have to figure out 1) does it solve their problem, 2) how do they use it, and 3) how do they solve their immediate problem with it?
When you have familiar UI elements, actions, terms, and explanations, you can speed along Step 2 for minimal effort. If you introduce new interactions and ideas, you're adding a Step 2b that will not pay off in the short term. It might in the long term, but not right now.
Every question, struggle, etc that you put in front of a user is one more reason to not use your software. Some users really NEED it and will overcome everything but that's not something to bet on.
I dislike how Windows and Android do a lot of things, and how OSX does some. I'd still prefer devs respect that than "improve" on it. When I find a utility to add a dark theme or fix some niggle the OS does really badly - multi-screen perhaps, the standard stuff interoperates with it just fine. The clever "knowing best" program is the one that breaks it, or interoperates only partially. eg Photoshop has a lovely dark GUI now, but now doesn't get the multiscreen util's extra icons.
Let the user decide. They can add a multi-screen util or theme, or even simple things like xmouse and they should work everywhere, or they can just use the vanilla OS as they prefer.
EDIT: caseysoftware puts it rather more succinctly.
The bar for deviating from OS convention should be high, not only to preserve the user's sanity, but also because most users will tire of an app's design innovations, however brilliant, if those innovations impose a learning curve. Most users are not that dedicated to a piece of software.
- Blender (Blender's UI is pretty odd and entirely un-platform-like, but very efficient)
- Photoshop (case in point, Ctrl-Z; I'm very glad Adobe didn't follow conventions—Photoshop's Ctrl-Z behavior is good for Photoshop)
- Chrome (I guess it's standard on Android now, but when Chrome was released it was very unlike a typical Windows or OS X UI, and it was so good that everyone else adopted it)
Personally, I do prefer 40 unique UIs optimized for long term user happiness. That's kind of the Unix way: bc, awk, find, and dozens of other tools with different patterns that are geared very well to their niche.
If I use an app 5 minutes a day, i want it to be familiar because I don't want to muck around learning how to use it. Whereas if I'm using an app all day to make money, I will assume the initial learning curve if it means increased efficiency.
"so good that everyone else adopted it" Yeah, about that. FF copied Chrome wholesale, causing a couple of forks and quite a lot of anti-Australis outrage. Now there's a ton of hacky addons to restore FF to a relatively sane UI (none manage it completely). Will be interesting to see what happens when FF deprecates current addons and theming. That's actively user-hostile.
vi, emacs and AutoCAD are from long before GUIs, I don't think they count. vi and emacs made choices for 2400 baud terminals. Similar for the whole unix toolset - they were the standardisation being part of the OS. Much later we would argue sys V Solaris vs SunOS instead or CDE, vs KDE, vs OpenWindows, and start to consider GUI/OS standardisation.
Every time I want to do something on Windows I feel it, and don't do enough on Win to be bothered learning much powershell. I usually end up with a quick zsh script via network. Who on earth thought batch files were a good idea. :)
We're digressing though - GUI gestures in a slew of phone apps are rather different to a neatly focussed command line set.
Photoshop's overloading is sane, and I can't really disagree - I also prefer the dark theme. But it can, and does, break things.
Let's say I'm making a banking app that is generally just used for people to check their balance and other simple tasks. It's too my advantage to follow the standard UI conventions of the OS.
If, however, I'm making an app that I expect the majority use case to be power users that use the app many times per day, I'm going to optimize for them. That may mean seemingly unintuitive gestures, shaking the phone to switch between app modes, radial menus, or something else.
I'm not saying that conventions don't have a place, they obviously do, but I think app designers should be able to design the experience for users that they see as best, rather than following convention for the sake of convention.
Another bit of anecdata is the Android ebay app. It used to be an OK not-really-material app, probably iterated on since the Gingerbread days, then Holoiefied. Then about a year ago they updated it to be (I think) more iPhone-like and the fans really hammered it in the Play store. Lots of "what the hell have you done, 1-star" type reviews. I didn't like it much either. The problem was again that navigation was weird and non-standard. Everything was light-grey on white too, which didn't help. Then they updated it again fairly recently to be what you might call a prototypical Android Material-design app, and it really was a relief to see. Now it works great, there are far fewer weird mystery navigation parts and the reviews are picking up.
I get what you mean, that apps can add things outside the norm, but they really need to get the base layout right. If you have a few odd/power features, that's great, but don't make the whole app some weird Homer's Car-style monstrosity.
I hear this from time to time. As someone who has spent significant time on a number of platforms Windows and it's ecosystem, from 2000 until 8 at least, has seemed a whole lot more consistent.
Super-annoying things on Mac include:
* modifier keys vary by application. (On Windows ctrl + left/right arrow is always  jump word by word and shift + left/right arrow is always select-as-you-move. From there it follows that ctrl+shift+left/right arrow is select-one-word-at-a-time.)
* there is one menu and you can find most options there. Bonus: you can always reach the menu using alt. On Mac there is the global menu, helpfully located on another part of the screen or even on another screen and there is one or more spot-the-extra menu(s) somewhere in the application.
The reason why I am pointing this out is to help every developet who doesn't get MBPs thrown after them: Macs are super sleek but I at least feel more productive and less annoyed on Windows or Linux.
: with a few super-annoying exceptions.
Trying to build a native-osx or native-windows UI on the web gives you a horrible user experience.
But the web does have conventions that make stuff hard when broken. For example most people expect to see the whole page change when they click a link and doing something else is confusing (such as popping a window or opening a link in new tab by default)
There is no shortage of complaints about websites that do "innovative" stuff and liberties with good ol' conventions.
In a past life, I'd fight with the designers constantly about this. Users don't care "that our brand is consistently portrayed across iOS, Android and Windows Phone". Our app is one of hundreds on our their phones! So we need to conform to the UI patterns that they are already comfortable with (whether you think they are good or bad). Not to mention that using a standard UI element in iOS is three or four lines of code-behind, whereas building a custom control can be up to several hundreds, and is more likely to break the next time Apple tweaks its standard look and feel.
Finally, I'd like to see the results of the user studies Google did to determine that iOS users would be comfortable switching over to "Android mode" when they happened to launch a Google app. For a company that is known for data-driven decisions, surely they have numbers to back up their design choice.
"The options icon is three vertical dots, rather than the three horizontal dots favored by Apple."
You could also argue that for someone using Google products, it makes sense that they look and behave roughly the same no matter which platform you're on. The interface is the brand  so why try to make it look like an Apple product when it's not?
Or maybe the article is right, maybe cognitive workload increases when the options icon is suddenly drawn using vertical dots instead of horizontal ones. I could only find three arguments in the text. One: it's what Microsoft did in the 90's. Two: Users deserve consistency. Three: (implicit) I bought an iPhone because I like the design, and now Google is forcing me to use their apps which doesn't look AS NICE! :)
That is true if you expect Users to change between devices. But most of the users I observe have only limited amount of devices and typically stay in one camp (i.e. iPhone+iPad) and those care about not having to relearn each UI for each app.
True Google tries to push their design as their identity, but that's Google's interest, not the user's.
The point being that we already KNOW the design language of Google, so the argument seems to be purely about esthetics. The design is consistent, just between Google products instead of between apps on the platform. I didn't get why Google pushing Apple's design would be more in the user's interest?
Tip for confused iPhone users : tilt your head/phone 90 degrees :) and the mystery button will turn into a menu button!
Actually most people are in the iPhone + Windows PC (+ Chrome browser) camp. You're a blinkered outlier if the people you see around you only use Apple products
The real question is do people's brains actually work that way. Is someone using Google Maps on an iPhone or Google Maps on an iPhone.
It's my experience that people context switch based on platform, not application. When I'm on an iPhone I expect it to work like an iPhone and when I'm on the desktop I expect it work like a desktop -- regardless of the individual applications I'm using.
For example, how do I get to the preferences for this app? Via a hamburger menu on the left, or an ellipsis menu on the right?
Almost all the apps on my phone that have the concept of making a new item (SMS/instant message/email/calendar event) have the button for doing so in exactly the same place on the screen; this is great as it means only have to learn that action once, and it works for all the apps I use. That is optimised user interface design.
Of course designers still need to put in effort to make their apps usable, but making having the common subset of actions work the same across apps is great for users.
It's unfortunate that platforms seem to change their interface guidelines all the time (no just the look and feel), as it seems to be having the opposite of the intended effect. The cost benefits of having a single style for an app across platforms is also a significant factor; I'd rather have an app available on my platform than not.
If someone wants to make an app, that is better than the rest, they need a unique selling point.
If it's bad, people like you won't use it.
If it's like all the other ones on the marked, you will use the one with the best marketing.
If it's really better than what you are used to, you will ditch the rest.
I think: Strife for the last one, but don't get butthurt, when the experiment fails.
If you change the UI to look like Android, only the users that also use Android elsewhere would be comfortable with that.
Not sure what is more frustrating — different looks with different usage patterns for every app; or same look with subtle differences and no way to predict what's where in a new app, or the app you haven't opened for a while.
The same goes for the swipe to delete accessory item, as that is another standard iOS UIKit thing.
I can't speak for minor buttons like edit and compose etc, but those differences are honestly not very significant to the end user since it's a non-hidden textual nav item.
Personally calling someone or managing phone call options on an IOS device frustrates me. There is a whole lot that is not intuitive and hardly dis·cov·er·a·ble.
To another extent I find IOS and Apple users that are technologically-illiterate find it hard to adapt or understand other system interfaces.
Everyone will have to decide if they get frustrated on their own...
For example, you can show iMessage timestamps by "pulling" them from right edge of the screen to the left.
Maybe the point is too subtle?
I'm a user that has a hard time with Google apps because I don't use them all the time. If I used them more often, I think I would get used to them, but that doesn't help me start using them.
One thing that does help is by being familiar.
Google might believe that familiarity is damaging to their brand, and perhaps it is, but I'm used to all of the apps I use being familiar, and so many familiar applications juxtaposed next to Google's unfamiliar applications just makes me think that Google doesn't give a fuck about me.
That doesn't mean that you should never stray from those guidelines in a pursuit of a better UI, but all other things being equal, diversions from the standards should have to justify themselves. Things like using an Android-standard icon where there's an equivalent in IOS don't come anywhere close to that bar, in my opinion.
People use lots of different apps. The whole point of conventions and guidelines is to allow users to immediately be productive when switching to a new app, and to lower cognitive overhead when context switching.
It's a form of leverage for end users. The reality is most users just want to get a task done and don't give a crap if you think your app is THE #1 MOST IMPORTANT. They already know how to use the platform-provided mail, browser, etc. Take advantage of that leverage unless there is a strong reason to deviate.
Also, once something works, don't change every two months.
In short, provide real functionality and stop redesigning the surface.
Yes, longterm usage efficiency should be considered but perhaps even more important is the efficiency for beginners and casual users. This is why “pro” and “consumer” apps exist.
Snapchat is not a good example. It is the exception. In fact, it was born out of a desire to make it difficult to figure out so that parents and teachers couldn't spy on you. If every app you downloaded had as steep of a learning curve as Snapchat then the app stores would die as people would give up on apps. I truly fear a day where everybody is trying to copy Snapchat. It is unique and it should stay that way. Not every app should attempt to reinvent the wheel.
This is a false dichotomy. You can be designed for the user without ignoring platform conventions.
Keeping platform conventions (and thus user expectations) in mind is necessary for good design.
Aesthetic options can be time-wasting. For example, the current fad of flatness (which ignores our innate capability to recognize depth from gradients) has made almost all the apps i use slower to use by forcing us to read every button.
Their motivation makes it even worse in my opinion. It's something they should know, and we all know, will never happen. That's why the article sees it this way, and I agree.
They've probably gone to far. I have, more than once, logged into a Google product I haven't used before and been confused about which product it was because it looked so similar to 3 other products.
Their efforts to automate whatever is possible to automate is laudable, however, and I think they've pushed the field of interaction design further than just about any other web company in the past decade.
You're right that Material Design, like the iOS "flat" design, is meant to automate or simplify the design process, but the reason is simply because they want to make more money. If your standards are such that you need to hire a real graphic designer to meet them, then it's more expensive to design an app, therefore there are less apps in your store, therefore you make less money running an app store.
Material Design, and iOS flat design for that matter, have done virtually nothing with respect to pushing design forward other than lower the bar so that it's cheaper and easier for a non-designer to adhere to those standards.
Not to say that I agree that it's necessarily bad: his example of Word on Mac vs. Windows is actually interesting bc, given sufficient differences, users would have a hard time switching between the two if they own both platforms and the applications look completely different. I think it should be possible to retain certain UI paradigms (e.g. back buttons, toolbars) while staying uniform across all platforms in other respects.
Or maybe QuickTime.
Switching to Google Inbox to read an e-mail and then not being able to swipe back, like you can in basically every other iOS app, is jarring and ridiculous. There's no reason for it, other than arrogance. They could keep 'material design' and still make it feel like an iOS app, but they don't bother. Likewise, they seem to have reimplemented text input and text fields, and done so extremely badly, for no reason that I can tell, causing significant problems with selecting text or using third-party keyboards.
If you're switching from Windows to Mac (or Android to iOS) and back frequently, then you're going to be frequently switching UI paradigms, but you'll be dealing with consistency in a given context. You use iOS for a bit and everything behaves one way, then you pick up an Android device and everything works another way.
When you pick up an iOS device and all your paradigms change, except for this one app where they change back and nothing you're used to works, that's more jarring than switching to iOS and having Google Inbox behave like an iOS app, the way every other app on that device works.
In other words, it's not even about material design; it's about fundamental interaction with the app and breaking all of the user's expectations and habits, for no real gain other than, maybe, developer time.
I think the result is not jarring but a feeling of familiarity.
If you spend all your time on Android and the Web, an for some reason occasionally use a Google app on an iPhone it may feel familiar to you.
But if you have an iPhone chances are you spend a lot of time using other iOS apps (including the system ones) and are used to that design language.
It's nice that it's consistent with other Google products, the problem is that's the wrong thing to do on iOS because it feels so out of place. You can still use your colors and many of your other schemes, but basic platform conventions like share buttons and menu locations should be respected.
most iOS users I know don't use share buttons anyway. I always get a stupid screen shoot of a web page with a url
I imagine part of the problem is they added it 5+ years into the platform when most people already had a way of doing things, even if it was sub-par, and they haven't been able to convince people to use it much.
Why would you assume that someone buying Office for Mac is more familiar with Office for Windows than the Mac they own that they want to run Office on?
That could be true for some customers. It's certainly not true for all customers. It's probably also not a given that even someone very familiar with Office for Windows would want Office for Mac to act like that, instead of like a Mac app.
Because Windows had like 90% of the market share?
If "familiarity because I use it at work" is the primary criterion, you'd probably have bought a PC.
Office, on the other hand, you probably use because you need to create Office-formatted docs. Very few people are likely buying Office because they long for the Office interface. Office doesn't even have a consistent interface paradigm. They've reinvented it repeatedly, culminating in the Ribbon UI. But at the end of the day, Office's interface is a Windows interface. They've done their own thing, but it's still clearly Windows, and shoehorning that interface onto a Mac feels out of place in a way it doesn't on Windows.
I can't comment on interop. It's been a while since I used Office for Mac. I don't recall any notable interop issues, but I mostly used the mail client (Entourage, later Outlook). I used Word sometimes but wasn't exactly writing for publication.
If you just want .doc files lots of programs will do it cheaper.
Anyway, at least in 2011 it failed in that metric too, because documents would look quite different on the Mac version than on the Windows version in many cases.
What I really wanted, at the time, was the exact same experience on both platforms, from feature set, to way of use, to the look of documents rendered, and since it didn't really deliver that I was disappointed.
No, not at all. I don't care that my UI is consistent with yours. I care that you can open the doc I sent you.
As an iOS user, it's still jarring as hell to have a native app feel like something from other OS. I don't want to learn another platform's conventions to use my own platform.
On Android it makes sense, they make android. On the web it's OK because websites all look different. But all iOS apps generally work the same and when you stand out it's annoying.
You know all those people who complain about Java applications not feeling right? Yeah, same kind of thing. As a long time Mac user you can tell when the program you're using is a lazy port from Windows because it doesn't fit in.
For example, Office would come out with some new paradigm – draggable toolbars, for example – that didn't exist anywhere else in Windows, and wasn't part of the standard libraries that other developers had access to. They'd use that for a while, and slowly those features would make their way into other Windows apps (first- and third-party), and right when that started to get standardized, Office would do something else – like the ribbon – which, again, didn't exist anywhere else.
In other words, Microsoft had a tendency to eschew standard OS behaviours even on their own OS, and kept pushing the bar by making new UI paradigms as fast as everyone else could try and keep consistency with them.
I expect the app that I use to view my document to behave like other apps on the platform.
It is Google's choice to make, the article is arguing that they made a poor choice. They can still make the app very Google-y in looks and organization but make it much nicer for iOS users by following a few platform conventions.
There is a very wide variety of iOS apps that look completely different but feel similar due to following the guidelines. Google should be able to fit into that.
They are building huge moats around their business ( Android, Chrome etc ) so it becomes harder to use some Google products without using others.
Google discontinued 'Google Sync' ( https://support.google.com/a/answer/2716936?hl=en ).
It favors Google Finance and Youtube over its rivals in search results page.
They 'have not figured out' how to allow extensions in Chrome mobile.
They had no-poaching agreements with rival companies.
I am almost a Google fanboy, but I suspect they will be no different to Microsoft in a few years. Letting products stagnate, pushing the tech industry backwards but making a pretty profit for investors.
Google, however, desperately needs mobile advertising, because people are using desktop/laptop PCs less and less (and more and more people use adblockers on these), and mobile advertising is the only space not yet "disrupted" by ad blockers.
Because I can't install Adblock in Android Chrome, I won't use Chrome at all. And because I like my bookmarks/history synced between phone and desktop, that means that I won't use Chrome on desktop either.
On the upside, this works in Chrome and in apps, so my mobile experience is ad-free without having to root my device.
Bit extreme, I'll admit...
Installing an ad blocker isn't as easy as installing an add on someone links, you have to actively search for it (and require root on Android? Not 100% sure about that. For chrome this is, I have ff on my Android).
The Chrome and Firefox browsers are skins over embedded Safari  + utilities (such as bookmark/password sync) (technically it uses UIWebView, which is Safari). So, it is despite Google's sincerest efforts that Chrome has adblocking on ios.
There are many Apps that do that, and Google already did that, with their data compression feature.
Finance is integrated with specific financial queries, so searching "goog" will show stock history and similar. This is different from the actual search results however. It's similar to special queries for translations, definitions, conversions, and so on.
I can understand this being criticized, but I don't think it's an abuse of power in any way.
As for Youtube, that's just an extremely popular website. It ranks highly organically because it has tens of thousands of links coming in all the time. There's also always fresh content to index which Google ranks favorably. The site has every expectation of ranking highly. So I don't buy that one without some evidence.
* Facebook,which has large portions of its content invisible to Google
* Wikipedia, which is probably in the #1 spot
* YouTube really is the next most likely result for many queries.
This was a phase around the boss of Google+. Google found that people don't like it and stopped doing it, like 2-4 years ago. Now it's perfectly possible to use things separately I would argue.
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you
No company will ever act as Microsoft did.
>They are building huge moats around their business ( Android, Chrome etc ) so it becomes harder to use some Google products without using others.
You must not use iOS because you're forced to use their apps as the default apps and they cannot be changed.
>They had no-poaching agreements with rival companies.
Steve Jobs/Apple instigated this and threatened Google if they didn't comply. To level this accusation at Google and not even mention Apple reveals your agenda.
Large companies have large egos.
As a PC user who aspired to buy a Mac at the time, I happened to like it. But I'd also wager it was one of the many reasons Safari for Windows didn't really take off.
But man was it fun to feel like you had some of the Mac's lickable UI on a PC.
Well played sir, now nobody who knows you from HN will ever touch your Macbook
Personally I'd say it was mild in comparison to the usability hell that Microsoft inflicted on Mac OS and later OS X users with its office programs.
If iTunes truly has a superior user experience (ha!) people will think, hey wouldn't it be nice if all my apps were like that.
This is the same for Office on OSX. Since most of the OSX apps have the same look & feel, having an application that is even slightly different is jarring.
On Windows though, it seems to me that most of the applications have gone the way of re-implementing their UI. This does not make iTunes on Windows any less horrible though, but it seems like a case of broken windows theory.
It has not
Anyway, in the early days of iTunes on Windows, the design and looks was a big selling point.
Apple generally doesn't try porting their software, iTunes being a notable exception. Google Maps however is rage inducing on iOS.
So, if all the apps they port doesn't follow the guidelines, can we conclude that Apple is also the Microsoft of the 2010s?
Can you clarify how it bothers you? I've found it to be not much different with my new 6S vs. my previous Sony Z3C. I feel like it has become less user-friendly on both platforms, but I don't recall significant differences between them.
Apple Maps, however, I cannot put up with.
Google's data is superior for points of interest but the app is less integrated with the platform (e.g. lock screen, watchOS)
Major gripes I still have is the inability to create a multi-destination route or to modify the plotted route. As far as I can tell it's only possible from the desktop site.
So true:) Apart from what's best for user experience,they tend to enforce their tech and design everywhere. But in this case, i feel material design shouldn't be an issues since it's now increasingly used on the web.
However, in 2016, we're living in a multi-device world. A single person can easily own a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop as well as a desktop. Some of them may be iOS, others may be Windows, and others may be Android. And they are likely to use the same apps (eg, google Maps) on all of those different devices. Hence, I would argue that consistency across devices today, is more important than consistency across different apps. As someone who owns a mix of both Mac and Android products, I would like for Google docs to look and behave similarly no matter which device I'm on, even if it means that Google Maps ends up looking differently from Apple-Music.
I use Gmail, Google Maps and Google Docs, but I use them equally on iOS and on the web. What I want from these apps is a consistent UI on the web and in the iOS apps. I couldn't give two craps about what it looks like on Android. No disrespect to Android, but that's just not an issue for me.
Jason's position is reasonable. Making the UI on iOS more like iOS conventions would have advantages and for some people this would be a better option, but there's an extra issue here he's not acknowledging.
But on mobile; if the app is good (I for one like Google docs) I don't believe many people actually notice this difference.
I think that's the issue. I don't use both iOS and Android, and I suspect most users don't. So you're used to the conventions of both platforms so when you see something that looks Android-y you know how to use it.
As an iOS only user, I don't have the Android training. So Google's apps are their own weird little world to me, different from everything else on my phone and in my tablet.
To me the web and my desktops are separate platforms, so I accept that they behave different. For whatever reason that doesn't mess with my mental model.
But if two apps on my phone behave vastly different, that causes unnecessary confusion.
I imagine I'd be the same as you if I used Android on a semi-frequent basis.
You just highlight text and press ctrl+c, ctrl+v, etc.
You could also use the right click menu. I've never had a problem like that before.
This works for me on firefox 46.0.1 on Fedora 23.
He managed to lose me in the first paragraph. Not a record, but really close.
That's certainly a valid opinion, but its reverse is just as defensible - if one considers services to be special sauce and OSes to be commodities, then it directly follows that app UIs should first be consistent across platforms. And considering that Google's entire business model is based on the latter view, why on earth would they take the author's view?
Complaining about the direction of the three dots that make up the menu button is the ultimate in bikeshedding.
There is nothing earth shattering or innovative or useful about Apple or Material design guidelines. It is just an attempt to establish their brand.
That was big ego
BUT that doesn't mean Google is making a mistake, except possibly on iOS. If Google's iOS apps are not close enough to iOS conventions, Google is, at least potentially, confusing their iOS users.
For example, when I browse to google maps, and try to look at the reviews list of a point of interest on the map, it takes me to a google search - completely out of the context I was in - and opens as modal dialog in that search area.
There are lots of examples of similar functionality. Individually, its harmless, but as a whole, it feels sluggish and clunky.
This kind of behavior seems to be common in large software companies that have separate divisions with communication issues between them.
It's sad to see Google go down that road.
Gratuitous redesigns are silly though, and by nature have to consume engineering effort that otherwise would’ve been spent elsewhere. And when engineering effort has clearly gone into a new veneer while there are still broken app features, I become really angry. Too many apps on iOS alone have been “updated” with redesigns and mysteriously lost functionality in the process (or effectively lost functionality, by hiding previously-known features somewhere new).
just take a look at the two app comparisons. you have to be an idiot to write stuff like that and actually believe it.
on material: google has, from the start, said it's a design style and philosophy that it has chose to adapt on android (and on the web too), so it's only natural they try to do it on ios.
Apple does on Windows, which everyone has known sucks since the early 2000s.
But when they released Apple Music on Android? It followed platform conventions. It actually made news in the Apple community because Apple DIDN'T make the Android app look like iOS. The Apple people I follow were actually surprised that Apple decided to be a good citizen instead of going with the usual "We know best".
Presumably just to upset iOS users?
So, there's not a million other examples of apps that also don't follow the iOS style?
This article was written just to beat the Android vs iOS war drums.
I love that Google has picked a unique UI/UX for Android, that's great. Yet, when providing apps for iOS, they should behave, and conform like the rest of iOS apps do.
So what's google to do, provide consistency between the app and other apps or between the app and the corresponding web UI?
That isn't a simple question with a simple answer...
The apps shown in the linked piece seem totally fine to me, so maybe there are better examples out there?
I'm guessing you're an Android person. Have you run across apps that don't feel like Android apps? They feel like someone made a least-effort attempt to port an iOS app over to "the other platform" and the result is just sort of jarring and weird?
That's the issue. It's not necessarily that they look bad, your app can look like what you want. The issue is that they don't follow lots of little platform conventions that you get used to and so they feel foreign and slightly annoy you every time you try to use them.
The problem is, no one starts out with this knowledge or value system.
In 1993, Microsoft's market cap was under $30 billion. Today it is over $400 billion.
So shouldn't Google fix it on iOS?
Apple, of all people, did it right when they brought Apple Music over to Android. I'm still amazed at that. They don't have a good history (i.e. everything they released on Windows).
Edit: I was against the antitrust case at the time even though I did not like nor used MS /products/ and did not approve of their practices. I believed they got that power because they managed to get enough people drink the coolaid and that's a part of what a business does; kudos to them basically. Still don't like most software they make, but as a company it seems a lot better now. Why restrict that? I have another opinion (I would be for the antitrust case now) now as I grow older.
Google is really the same as any other big company. They will do what they can get away with to further their goals.
* Constant starting/shuttering of their mobile OS offerings.
* Disregarding user privacy in Windows 10 (and extending that to Windows 7/8 via updates)
* Forcing users of Windows 7/8 to update to 10. It's basically malware at this stage.
* Removing admin abilities in Enterprise offerings of Windows 10.
Are you saying that there is no selective feature control anymore, you have to accept the entire feature pack or not? That different from the past, but it is really hard to compare since Windows didn't really operate on the CU model before. What is the analog to a feature pack?
Microsoft will not produce servicing updates for a feature upgrade after its corresponding CBB reaches the end of its servicing lifetime. This means that feature upgrade deployments cannot be extended indefinitely
Microsoft will not keep releasing security updates for "old" feature versions: miss too many feature updates, and you also no longer get security updates. And with a declared feature cadence of roughly once per 4 months, it means when you defer a feature for more than 8 months, you will no longer receive security updates either.
As for feature packs, I do not know if Microsoft will continue to maintain optional features for the desktop. The impression I got is that they are moving towards a unified desktop image across all deployments.
Just as? No, he paid good money for the Microsoft software.