A healthy tension between Design and Engineering seems to be the best - sometimes the best UX isn't the most efficient and engineers need to get pushback on that.
Similarly, sometimes the "coolest" UX isn't technically reasonable, and the Designer needs to come back with something else.
The buttons, for example, seem completely arbitrarily placed and inconsistent. Check out the difference between compose or replying to an email. Or creating a calendar entry or the full page editing calendar screen (and the two are the 'opposite' way round, it's totally fubar). It seems to be according to some sort of an attempt at 'page balance' that got abandoned in more complex elements to my admittedly untrained eye.
A red button seems to be intended to be the primary action on a page but again each part of the system is totally erratic on whether this convention is followed or not. Add a calendar event? No. Edit a calendar event? Yes. Reply to an email? No. Compose a new email? Yes.
Why do three little dots appear next to the check boxes when you hover over an email? How does that help at all? It just seems to distract my eye and doesn't actually help me distinguish whether I'm about to check the right email at all, the usual reason for hover styles. It's just pointlessly pretty that's turned into distracting.
The more I use it, the more confused I am exactly how the hell it got signed off. Bizarre.
The change between the 2 concepts should surely have told someone that the icons simply didn't work on their own - nobody knows what the "spam" icon means without a text popup when you hover over it.
That said, I personally like most of the new Gmail quite a bit more. It's probably because I get everything done with keyboard shortcuts anyhow and so care more about how it looks that how the buttons actually behave :P.
I have no insight into Google's process, but I'm curious if others run into cases where designers have limited sensitivity to UX (and ignore feedback about it)?
Maybe DRY should also stand for "Don't Reduce Yourself." (As in avoid excess reductionism.) Not only should every significant idea only be expressed no more than once, every significant idea also needs to be clearly expressed at least once -- and not expressed as an oversimplified caricature.
So did I... so did I.
I think it is rude to come out of the corner with such an analogy, it is as if you are trying to say he is stupid and you have to use wordplays to get him to understand.
Keep talking business, remember that it is business.
Most arguments can be made so that the 'opponent' is receptive and thankful for your input. The arguments which cannot, are perhaps best left unsaid.
I've offended plenty of people, and I can't recall ever winning an argument against them afterwards - at that point, things like facts and customer benefits are irrelevant, and it simply becomes about not letting the other person "win".
I didn't say it was easy, but since when were humans easy?
I also think this is an outdated view by now, and it will become more and more apparent in the years to come: good/successful developers are/will be quite apt at dealing with "the notion of subtle and textured user experience design that balances the emotional and functional aspects of a software experience will always struggle to take root"
For the rest of the article: yeah, I feel you!
Thats what the Finder toolbar is, or the Ribbon, or the smartphone.
Seems to me that both Steve Jobs and Gates understood that, but maybe the difference was in their top lieutenants buy-in of the same thing.
When I do this to my co-founder, sometimes he'll say "I get it, you don't need to try to sell me on it." In reality, I'm not, I'm just trying to navigate to more common waters--but it's a reflex that's not always helpful.
This sounds like what I do sometimes, only to your boss.
No reference to actual A/B tests as to what users actually prefer.
Great to know the most widely used software with probably the biggest development budget comes down to the personal preferencs of the boss.
So, no different than most other companies :)
Bill's influence on MS software was dwarfed by Jobs's influence on Apple's HW/SW.
Simplifying an experience to it's essence and ensuring that users learn quickly through consistency is key to design.
Bad designers are often quick to justify why two similar functions need different interfaces. Good designers understand that combining similar functions eliminates cognitive noise and creates the opportunity to add more features more easily and more understandably.
The author of this post strikes me as the bad sort of designer, one who views design as anything other than engineering and who justifies bad design with tortured "emotional" arguments.
Users are emotionally happy when they accomplish what they intend, understand and learn quickly, and feel confident they can repeat their result. Users are not happy when you force a single course of action through one-off behavior driven tunnel visioned design, leaving them confused and disoriented afterwards.
I've seen this before, and it is the product of egotistical designers caught up in their art instead of their users' experience.
Bill was right on this one. Windows interface sucks because it was not designed from the ground up with the user experience in mind by a comprehensive intelligent creator, not because it fails "emotionally" or lacks art.
For instance, I would be sad if my phone only gave me one way to turn up the volume. Instead, I like that it gives me 3-4-5 different ways, all useful for different contexts. However, it would also make me sad if it wasn't 'easy' to turn up the volume.
Isn't it the designers job to consider all the different operational contexts and understand all the usage scenarios in all those contexts? And, to make its use 'easy'?
People wouldn't mind if that's what designers did. And it's probably what good designers do - perhaps good design is invisible to most users.
But for examples of what bad designers do see the user interfaces of many graphics manipulation programs over the years. See especially "Kai" and their awful interfaces. Media players are similarly awful.
I don't mind if my one phone gives me 3 ways to do one thing. What I do mind is if that is different for every phone, even from the same manufacturer, and it changes each time they release a new phone.
Huh? What are these "different contexts" for volume on a phone? (There are different things with volume, such as a call vs the ringer, but that's different.)
Another example is encouraging have customization of tool bars. Well designed menus and toolbars don't need to be dragged, dropped, renamed, etc. Allowing this confuses other users of the same software and makes fixing interface problems down the line nearly impossible without undoing all that customization.
Need to edit your user account? Do we need a different interface if you are an admin? Probably not - just a few more fields. Need a file chooser? The same one works for opening word documents as selecting a file for upload.
Take Vista and Windows 7 for example, you see the aero Window edge is roundish (especially top two corners). Now take look at Windows 8, as it is pretty edge, not round at all. Do you know why? It is really because Windows team used at least 5 rectangles, all stacked together to form that roundness for Vista & 7. That means it is more GPU cycle time to draw these duplicated rectangles to give such pretty illusion. With Windows 8, I do welcome the edge/sharp corners, feel more clean and snappy.
Then again, I'm a developer, not a designer...maybe these trends (such as the apple-esque image reflection with a fade) will actually stick around long enough to be useful in the CSS3 spec.
Out of curiosity, is this factually correct?
The former assertion is certainly true (I was there!), the latter is arguable, but even as an ardent Linux user, I'd have to say yes -- at least the engineering aspects (the more touchy-feely aspects, perhaps not... as discussed by the blog post).
We're bound by preconceptions, prejudices and simple lack of experience. Analogies, parables and other like tools exist to let us break free from those limitations. They help to see from a fresh perspective. They're valuable in persuasion and as storytelling tools.