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Chacham's Journal: Rant: Big flashy UIs 2 2

UIs are just getting worse and worse. Things are now bigger and larger, colorized even. "We really think you want to click this" has taken precedence over usability. I feel like i need to be an idiot to use such software.

I was in the Quicken For Mac 2015 Beta. At one time i reported a bug that the back button was disabled. But, as it turns out, just because a button is greyed out and the other button is big and red does not mean the button is disabled. Really?!? No, seriously, really?!?!

I went Citibank to pay a credit card. I had to look for a minute to find the "MAKE A PAYMENT" button. I saw the two other options, which are links and in camel case, easily. The payment option is different in three ways! It is a button, the colors are inverted, and it is in caps. I think my brain tuned it as if it were spam. It's as if i had to refocus on the page to see it.

Oracle changed their forums again. The old, old software was good. Then they moved to Jive, which was so bad i left the forums. Eventually i came back, as the pros outweighed the cons. Well, they did it again, and this new software is just plain terrible. Not only is there a huge bar on top to tell you where you are and where you can go, the site itself took a greyish look, except for buttons that are red. The red pulls my eyes (basic design principle) and is inconsistent. I use Element Hiding Helper to block some stuff/ now. I only stay with Firefox because of the addons.

Windows 8 has that big screen to choose application. I can't find anything. What was Microsoft thinking? Luckily, i can search control panel to find things, since they moved everything around again. Sometimes i remember the executable's name (e.g. appwiz.cpl) and can windows-r it, but i feel so stupid searching for something which is categorized, and i don't want to re-learn the new hierarchy. Though i have switched to the mac, i am stuck with Windows at the office (7, currently, modified to work like XP) and to support people in the community. I'm even a little scared about the mac, as 10.10's flat look might just be a harbinger or the "one UI" stupidity. I want my devices to look different! Different types of devices are used differently.

I am befuddled by these and similar changes. Changing the color of buttons has three problems. One, the color may not be noted by the colorblind. Two, color pulls the eyes. Three, changing the looks of similar items can be misinterpreted as the items not belonging to the same group. An example of this is Window's 7 Explorer which shows the current selected item as its icon. I often do not register that an explorer windows opened to the desktop (shows computer) and another opened to a directory (shows folder) are both from the same program. I have opened multiple explorer windows on many occasions because of this. Or maybe they don't expect anyone to use the keyboard and alt-tab anymore.

Web accessibility has always been neglected to some extent. But of late it seems to be rejected entirely. I feel as if control is being removed as some designer decides what it is i should be doing and hiding the other options. It is frustrating. I want to scream at this idiotic trend, though i don't know if they are stupid or just plain ignorant. Did someone think this approach was a good idea and others blindly followed?

One refreshing website is PerlMonks. Every once in a while someone starts a discussion modernizing the UI or the like. The replies usually mention that PM wants functionality and many things can be changed in Display Settings anyway. So, at least one site has people that use their brains. A diminishing trend, for sure.

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Rant: Big flashy UIs

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  • The problem, of course, is that power users lose from these things. But people who aren't very good with computers(but not completely awful) win.

    You can see the difference in that software targeted at developers doesn't share these hallmarks as much. Menus remain loaded with options. Icons remain small and metaphorical, as opposed to large and explicit or artsy. "Advanced" options are available for almost every page of settings(oh and there are pages of settings).

    The cause? That they actually study hum

    • by Chacham (981)

      but most are actually very carefully aimed at a majority of users

      Pandering to the public seems so fickle. Popular today means it'll require changing tomorrow.

      Is the constant change really helpful, or are these studies done with blinders on, looking only for short-term gain?

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