ORIGINAL POST: Yesterday my copy of Google Chrome updated at work. It rolled over from version 41 to version 42. No big deal, I thought. Until I went to reorganise my bookmarks…
To my surprise, Google Bookmarks had gone all Material.
My initial response was positive. It looks pretty. The thumbnails look like they could be useful. And I’m generally in favour of Google’s aim to standardise the look and feel of their web applications (whether Chrome OS, web-based, or Android).
But then I tried to reorganise my bookmarks.
It was a nightmare.
As silly as it sounds, I genuinely began to panic. And then started my out-loud commentary to the rest of the office about just how awful an experience it was.
Whenever I spot something useful I quickly bookmark it to a folder called “Check out”.
Then every day or two I sort the bookmarks (A–Z) so that the sub-folders move to the top, and I can find the bookmarked page titles more easily.
Then I organise these bookmarks into 3 sub-folders:
Keep track on…
Watch or listen
I often bulk-select items with shift + click.
Truly awful user experience
But with the new, redesigned bookmarks manager this was virtually impossible to do:
The sort alphabetically option was missing.
I couldn’t bulk select a group of bookmarks: I would have to click each bookmark separately.
I couldn’t drag and drop bookmarks. I had to use some awful and clunky, dynamic drop-down-style interface to select which folder to move them to.
This was without a doubt the worst user experience I have encounteredin a long time. It was awful. Utterly, utterly awful.
After about five minutes I gave up. Of the 40 or so bookmarks in “Check out” I had moved maybe six or seven. I didn’t have forty minutes to spare just to move bookmarks. Life is too short.
“This redesign has killed my productivity,” I complained to no-one in particular.
After seriously considering moving to another browser, I went looking for a fix… but not before writing some strongly worded feedback to Google.
This isn’t a new complaint
Negative feedback about this new, card-style design isn’t new. It goes as far back as December.
Your bookmarks manager should now be the familiar, sortable, draggable version.
Why Google? Why?!
What I can’t understand though is why—even after all that negative feedback in December during the beta phase—Google still pushed out this car crash of a design to the stable channel.
In the Google Material guidelines it says,
At Google we say, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” We embrace that principle in our design by seeking to build experiences that surprise and enlighten our users in equal measure.
Well, that certainly surprised me. But it certainly didn’t address any of my user stories—it didn’t allow me to work productively. In fact, it did the opposite: it slowed me down, the interface got in the way of what I wanted to do.
I’m not unilaterally against a Material-style design of the bookmarks manager. But it needs to work more efficiently. Something along the lines of how files may be ordered in Google Drive would be a step in the right direction.
In the meantime, I’m sorry Google—I don’t often complain about your stuff—but in this case, after only five minutes I stopped your experiment and returned to sanity.
Since the net magazine rebrand a few months ago the projects section of the magazine, which is printed on a rougher paper to distinguish itself more easily from the glossier feature articles, often includes a handy guide to which browsers a particular technology supports.
The infographic shows desktop browser support on the left, mobile/tablet support on the right. But in the spirit of Steve Krug’s book Don’t me me think, the way it is currently laid out has me thinking too much. I want to know what their design reasoning is.
Here is an example from the current issue (May 2014), from an article on page 84 called “Slash design/build time with proportional RWD”:
But whenever I see this it always makes me wonder why they have not matched up the icons. What is the order being shown here? It’s really not obvious to me. It’s not alphabetical, it’s not by version number, or popularity.
Why not simply show a comparison between desktop version and its comparable mobile version, and then any left over can be arranged at the bottom?
I often find myself thinking, “Okay, so this feature is supported from Chrome version 6 onwards, but from which version of mobile Chrome is this supported?” And then I have to go hunting for the Chrome icon on the right-hand list.
Why not match the icons up, like this?
That makes it much easier for me to read. My five year old Joshua thinks this makes more sense. What do you think?
This afternoon yet another pre-Scottish Election leaflet dropped through my letterbox. It was this one (above) from the Scottish National Party entitled Fife Independent with the strap-line “Together we can make Scotland better.”
SNP newsletter through the door just now. Strapline says “Together we can make Scotland better”. Not in Comic Sans you can’t! #election
I’m a firm believer that the typeface that you select for a publication helps set the tone of what you have to say.
As Alex W. White says in The Elements of Graphic Design “choosing a typeface that matches the content is important. Words are symbols of emotions and ideas that manipulate the reader” (Ibid. p. 105). He encourages the reader to “listen to type”.
The Ban Comic Sans website says much the same thing:
Like the tone of a spoken voice, the characteristics of a typeface convey meaning. The design of the typeface is, in itself, its voice. Often this voice speaks louder than the text itself. Thus when designing a “Do Not Enter” sign the use of a heavy-stroked, attention-commanding font such as Impact or Arial Black is appropriate. Typesetting such a message in Comic Sans would be ludicrous.
The history of Comic Sans MS is fascinating (if you like that sort of thing) and in many ways it is a very well-designed font, modelled on the typography used in American comic books. But that is the context in which it makes most sense to use Comic Sans MS: comic books not party political newsletters.
Because no matter how good your arguments may be, Scottish National Party, I simply cannot take you seriously if you print it in Comic Sans. That is just down-right lazy.