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I’d say “modern” or “web-like” versus “traditional desktop”.

It’s not quite objective but I agree you’d probably find 90 or 99% of respondents prefer the web look for desktop apps.

The time when desktop apps looked like a consistent toolkit is gone. Now it’s more important for a desktop app to look like its own web version than to look like the next desktop app.




A consistent look trains users to expect consistent behavior. For example, a native macOS table supports various modifier key behavior, arrow key navigation, type select, drag and drop, copy and pasting rows, etc. It's worth learning these features (the theory goes) because they translate across apps.

But every web app is a snowflake, so there's no shared expertise to be developed. I don't expect anything beyond point and click. We've given up on empowering users.


> We've given up on empowering users.

That's because the mass market doesn't want to be empowered. They want to consume.

That said, phones and tablets are custom built for those people. The only people still using laptops and desktops are people who need to get things done. It's beyond time for desktop OS's and apps to start focusing on the power user again.


For a long time I have hoped that the market would bifurcate, tablets and browser based devices for consumption and the modern equivalent of Sun SPARCstations for power users.


I for one am happy to see that apps include more and more features; I really did not like that I get 10 apps vs 1 for stuff that could be easily fit into one. My bank for instance keeps adding features all the time which allows me to do everything in the app without having to get the laptop out. I really wish more companies did that. You don't have to use it (and a lot of people would not even be able to find it) but for me it saves a lot of time.




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