Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let’s jest, let’s not.

The trend nowadays appears to have takes the direction of making things more ‘user friendly’ by making important stuff hidden, customizability a mere dream and beauty an impossibility. To support this claim I shall bring examples and explanations.

Blogs. You may think they look okay, You might even fancy their simple structure. You are gravely mistaken. Take a screen with a diagonal larger than 7 inches. Then maximize the browser and take a look at it. Hideous, is it not? The large edges on the sides that serve no purpose, the narrow line of text in the middle. If you’re using a tablet, it looks good. If you’re using anything better, it looks like a 5-year-old created the design template. User-friendly, hah! A joke is what it is.

Linux. The process, which was started by Apple, has hit it, and hit it hard. Customizability has been hidden under layers of riddles. Just try to move stuff from one toolbar to the other in order to reach a reasonable state in Ubuntu. A nightmare. Try a lesser-known Linux? Compatibility issues and still no customizability. Perhaps Fedora can help, RedHat used to be a really sweet thing. But don’t even hope that Windows hasn’t been affected. Simply watch this self-explanatory video about the ‘future of user interfaces’. It’s depressing.

Frankly from what I could see on that screen, I could not figure it out. I, personally, haven’t tried Win8 out myself, but I hate that Metro interface already. It is ugly. And useless. Unless you are on a teeny-weeny tablet thingy.

Internet Explorer. It was nice up to 9. In terms of the looks of it, at the very least. Usability has gone up remarkably but why in the world would they throw the RSS-feed list to pin it on the other side without warning or a chance to undo the change? Firefox’s feed system is a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in warm, fuzzy foxes. And oh, the horror one sees when one uses them! They look more like Chrome clones with every larger update. Why that beast is so popular, beats me. It forces people to switch to Opera or SeaMonkey (a surprisingly awesome browser IMHO). It spreads the ugliness.

Android. While I will have to grant that it is the most user-friendly mobile OS currently on the market (iOS is a hopeless case, Windows Phone has annoying connectivity problems such as the inability to use WPA2 encryption or connect to the Internet via a computer-generated link), it does have its fair share of problems. The UI is a clone of SPB, a neat little thingy that sucked the battery life out of Windows Mobile, which doesn’t really make me feel like I’m handling anything new, anything innovative. Rather just a poorly developed copy of something better. Managing the settings is merely an another continuing nightmare…

There you have it, some examples of what has been happening to UIs everywhere to diminish any hope of a good UX. And it appears most of it started with Apple’s grand design that everybody just needed to copy. For shame!

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