In conjunction with other recent Google stories (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7107325) it's both cautionary, largely exculpatory of users (Google caused this problem), and speaks more than slightly to Google's hubris (I've seen plenty of poor UI from them over the past several years).
An interesting aspect of this dynamic is that the object and subject of the error are asymmetric in this case. It's one thing to accidentally out yourself through "not reading instructions" or "just winging it" or "accidentally hitting the wrong control". It's another to accidentally take an action that hurts another person -- here in a significant way as it directly affects their reputation.
Hacker News is of course hardly blameless. I've more than once downvoted a comment or flagged or upvoted a story, especially on mobile, trying to access other controls on the site. At least the story flagging can be undone, though the other actions cannot be. But that's only if I care enough to do so.
Regardless of how you feel about how it turned out, they clearly have spent the past two years focusing on unifying design and UX across their products.
It's helpful to have meaningfully consistent metaphors and themes across applications. For the UNIX / Linux commandline, that's processes and pipes, BSD and GNU argument flags, and the like.
There are various competing keyboard accelerator schemes: emacs, vi, Wordperfect keyboard templates, DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 9x/NT, Apple's Mac hotkeys, GNOME and KDE....
There are fundamental layout, font, and color palette schemes.
But one of the worst overall design features I see is taking a given scheme and applying it without regard to suitability across a wide range of applications with a wide range of use cases. For Google this results in the insanity of persistent browser elements occupying 25-30% of vertical screen real estate in Gmail, Groups, Book search, and other products. When the workaround is for me to either push my browser window half-height above my viewable monitor frame and drag down the bottom of the window, to be able to present my work front and center, or to open the elements inspector and delete elements from the DOM just to be able to see the relevant work, something's very, very wrong.
Microsoft of course was infected with similar idiocy with its modal, non-resizeable dialogs and wizards. Even GNOME, for all its UI/UX brain death, generally provides for resizable dialogs, and allows text to be copied from its error pop-ups (under Windows the only recourse was and to the best of my knowledge remains screenshotting the damned thing).
But ... Google and UI/UX? Not so much.
The record was stats screen on blogger which shown me 3cm of information panel and the rest was taken by huge sticky !mostly empty! top and bottom rows.
Way to go, really.
If that doesn't demonstrate how hard it is to get responsive web design right, I don't know what does!
Their websites were much more usable before the UI makeover. I guess the focus of the new UI is to make it appear shiny and vibrant and spacious at first glance. But it has come at the expense of usability.
Having used DDG as my primary search engine since June 2013, I prefer its presentation.
I find Google's dynamic "oh, we're going to clear the page while you're refining your search terms to focus on higher relevance based on the results you're looking at now while you're typing that up" particularly egregious.
Google's win right now is in specific categories and sub-classes of search:
⚫ Google Books. Particularly the Ngram viewer. My frustrations with the company have reached a point that I hate to admit I love any of its products, but I love Google Books search and the Ngram viewer specifically. GBS makes serious amends by having one of the most spectacularly useless and annoying interfaces for actually reading online content. Contrast with the Internet Archive's book reader, which is a thing of joy, beauty, grace, and perfection: http://archive.org/stream/industrialrevol00toyngoog#page/n6/...
⚫ Google Scholar. I'm not aware of any other resource which has comparably deep coverage of research papers. Again, what the search interface giveth, the content interface taketh away, with the same online reading interface as Google Books, in the rare cases where journal publishers of recent content actually make full text available.
⚫ Date refinement. If DDG offered this my use of Google Search would fall by another 50-75%. Being able to search within specific bounded ranges of time is hugely useful.
⚫ Maps, though I'm finding/researching alternatives. Mostly OpenStreetmap though "maps.google.com" is still tied to my muscle memory. Streetview remains tough to beat.
⚫ News, though I'm finding/researching alternatives. Twitter's actually pretty good for breaking stuff, with search. Reddit isn't bad as a filter either. I've also got a few conventional news sources (NY Times, Guardian) on my rsstail feeds.
⚫ Financial data, though there are lots of alternatives. This is an area rife with perverse incentives, however, and for the data I'm typically interested in, research tools such as FRED (Federal Reserve of St. Louis), Wolfram+Alpha (despite its complete and utter lack of a definitive syntax), and upstarts such as Knoema and Gapminder are promising. I believe this period is actually showing signs of being a renaissance in advanced online data analysis and access tools.
Increasingly though, Google's my 2nd or 3rd tier search destination.
Now you can see all the Google+ post blurbs right at the top of your results even if they aren't good ones! Also, Google+ notifications about random people adding you? That's right, it's right at the top of every Google search page with a nice red highlight so you don't miss it!
Thankfully this greatly reduces the annoyance of G+ intrusion to all aspects of the Google empire.
I'm dreading the prospect of having to use Google tools in a work environment given the disease.
That's just because they weren't left with a lot of elements that they could change (most of Chrome is really minimal). However, the welcome page/new tab page has gone through some really bad iterations (app store, Google+, search box, ...) that removed most of the minimalism and simplicity.
Coming from the iOS side, I just don't get it. How can you rate an app that you haven't downloaded? And then if you did download it, why is it being quick-suggested to you again?
Furthermore, if you did in fact download it, removed it and then reacted negatively to a suggestion to download it again - how's your low-star reaction is NOT really a rating for an app itself?
Also, if you look closely at the graphs, the "crashing" involves rating slide from 4.67 to 4.38 and from 4.79 to 4.74. It's still an unpleasant development for sure, but that's not a "crash" or a "drop", that's a dip. The matter appears to be completely blown out of its proportions.
It only shows apps you have downloaded.
It's just Google being careless about the devs.
And it was a surprize for me to realize that. I thought better on Google before it started.
User ratings greatly suffer from self selection bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-selection_bias). Asking users who didn't initially rate an app do so as part of some other workflow might reduce that bias a little bit.
That said, I'm very distrustful of user ratings in general, both as a developer and as a consumer, because people often rate stuff based on criteria that don't concern me at all.
actively asking users to rate an app they have downloaded may lead to better ratings
No, if this is really the UI in question then it is not asking users to rate the suggestion: http://blog.testfairy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/quick_s...
It's clearly asking users to rate one app to get suggestions for other apps.
I imagine in an ultra-competitive niche that the drop in the third graph from 4.72 to 4.54 could be a painful drop, but the first graph has a drop of .03 stars, and the second is a drop of .05 stars. Perfectly in line with a very slight adjustment (though I'm sure it's alarming when you first notice it happening).
To be fair, the graph formatting doesn't look like the author's fault, just the analytics page automatically zooms and crops like that.
Our average rating has been climbing much faster since Dec 10.
Looks like this feature is influential, but not necessarily negative.
Yes, the average rating for my app has gone down since Google made this change. But rankings are relative, not absolute, and all apps are being treated equally, so it shouldn't make a difference in the rankings.
What wasn't mentioned is that the number of ratings has increased substantially. I get at least twice as many ratings as before.
In my opinion, more users giving ratings will result in more reliable rankings.
(1) let the user correct a rating if tapped by accident
(2) offer the option to leave a comment
The current way of big companies "just doing stuff" which deeply affects other people/businesses who do not have a single way to contact the offender is a nightmare which has to stop. As the market obviously fails here, legislation is required.
The trick is to add the dialog to show up on like 5-10 startup off the app.
If the user is starting the application after 5 tries, he is going to like it. And provided the way to rate it in couple of clicks, the user usually gives positive ratings.
Maybe it's better if you have a different version of Android but when I search for anything broad I see a bunch of free shovelware apps. I'd like to have an option to see just the paid apps or the most expensive apps just to clear out the noise and the spam.
"Actually a great app, but I left 1 star so my review would be seen first!"
Back then, you made a product and it was immediately available for all the world to use. Yes, you had to spend some time/money/effort for promoting it and yes, the success might have been dependent on your ability to promote it.
But you didn't have to ask for permission to build it and there was no way to get screwed because the UI design of an entity you have no control over has changed slightly from one day to another.
I think it's a real shame that these days seem to be over more and more.
And you're back in exactly the same situation. Where are you going to promote it and who else has control over that communication channel?
It's all Metro, and then they do things like this.