Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st May 2017 22:51 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces

I wonder if these rugged aesthetics, now commonplace in cutting-edge websites, can work at scale - in mobile apps used by +1b people. Instagram's new UI paved the way: can this effort be replicated in other categories (e.g. gaming)? Is brutalism a fad or the future of app design? Would it make apps more usable, easy-to-use and delightful? To end with, would it generate more growth? Conversions experts sometimes suggest that more text equals more engagement - what if we push this idea to the extreme?

There's something unsettling about these brutalist redesigns by Pierre Buttin - but I don't outright hate them. There's something very functional about them.

Order by: Score:
About my skill level
by Adurbe on Wed 31st May 2017 23:13 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

So he made a wireframe... And gave it the name "brutal"

Reply Score: 7

RE: About my skill level
by Odisej on Thu 1st Jun 2017 06:59 UTC in reply to "About my skill level"
Odisej Member since:
2006-05-11

I think he only applied brutalist style to 21st century and he did it rather well.

This does not mean it must be consistent it only means he followed certain rules - simplicity, geometry and functionality.

Anyway, I find them wonderful. I started using Links browser because of all the baroque crap on websites, using cli editor for just about anything because it is so much easier to focus.

All in all I think he is on to something.

Odisej

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: About my skill level
by Kochise on Thu 1st Jun 2017 08:18 UTC in reply to "RE: About my skill level"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

And soon, colors, then translucency with wobbling effects.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Reply Score: 2

Not impressed.
by rubberneck on Wed 31st May 2017 23:17 UTC
rubberneck
Member since:
2009-06-16

...not at all.

Reply Score: 5

Not brutal
by Treza on Wed 31st May 2017 23:34 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

I was expecting something related to the "Brutalist" architectural style:

Concrete gray (with texture ?) with heavy 3D effects (as Motif, 4 grays NextStep), no rounded corners, very visible buttons and widgets with thick borders. No colour, obviously. No text, but basic icons (like traffic signals), etc...

Wholly inappropriate terms.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Not brutal
by Alfman on Thu 1st Jun 2017 00:15 UTC in reply to "Not brutal"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Treza,

Wholly inappropriate terms.


I agree, even with his own examples he was inconsistent. Netflix got a different kind of makeover than all the rest. He did not give Instagram the same treatment as facebook.


Spotify looks like it could have won a contest for worst UI!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not brutal
by Soulbender on Thu 1st Jun 2017 03:16 UTC in reply to "Not brutal"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Wholly inappropriate terms.


Maybe hes uses it to mean "ugly and inefficient"

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not brutal
by Savior on Thu 1st Jun 2017 13:51 UTC in reply to "Not brutal"
Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

Completely agree. Thought it seems as if he had the same "brutal" aesthetics in mind, the result certainly feels more primitive and ugly than brutal.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not brutal
by dnebdal on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 08:41 UTC in reply to "Not brutal"
dnebdal Member since:
2008-08-27

I was expecting something related to the "Brutalist" architectural style:

Concrete gray (with texture ?) with heavy 3D effects (as Motif, 4 grays NextStep), no rounded corners, very visible buttons and widgets with thick borders. No colour, obviously. No text, but basic icons (like traffic signals), etc...

Wholly inappropriate terms.


Nah, that would be against the spirit of brutalism. It advocated letting the raw concrete through instead of adding layers of non-functional decoration (thus "brutalism" - concrete brut = raw concrete).

In the case of apps, adding textures and 3D effects to make it resemble a physical building material would be the layer of non-functional decoration. Of course, the virtual dreamstuff we build user interfaces out of has no natural texture or color; the closest parallel I could find would be to trust the default look of your toolkit instead of adding your own skins.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Not brutal
by Treza on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 10:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Not brutal"
Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

Ah, Skeuw-moawr-phizz

I was expecting something inspired by the brutalism style and was disappointed. There is nothing wrong with wanting to imitate existing styles from architecture, furniture, painting. As an "exercise in style" : Baroque, art nouveau, impressionist, Louis XV, Sukiya-zukuri...

Ikea's style is named Material Design by Google ;-)

What would be a primitive mode for a computer, discarding nonfunctional decorations ? Probably what still appears in firmware boot menus : Monospaced texts, as a VT100 console.

What is showed is not really basic/primitive/funamental/essential (anti-aliased 45° inclined texts ?), nor coherent.

The only softwares that really try to create or imitate styles are games. Some are awful, some are quite interesting and could be adapted to many applications.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not brutal
by Savior on Sun 4th Jun 2017 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Not brutal"
Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

"I was expecting something related to the "Brutalist" architectural style:

Concrete gray (with texture ?) with heavy 3D effects (as Motif, 4 grays NextStep), no rounded corners, very visible buttons and widgets with thick borders. No colour, obviously. No text, but basic icons (like traffic signals), etc...

Wholly inappropriate terms.


Nah, that would be against the spirit of brutalism. It advocated letting the raw concrete through instead of adding layers of non-functional decoration (thus "brutalism" - concrete brut = raw concrete).
"

Yes, but the "brutal" part comes from the concrete used as the building material. You cannot really build a brutalist building from marble, whose natural coloring and patterns are anything but brutal, any more than build a brutalist rose arbor. ;) In the same way, the virtual building "material" of apps just doesn't lend itself well to brutalism. That is the reason why we are missing something.

BTW. you could also say that the "building material" in this case is the widget L&F, and then it is a valid question why didn't they use e.g. Motif, which is kind of the concrete of L&Fs.

Reply Score: 2

Well, now we know....
by grat on Thu 1st Jun 2017 03:01 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

.... what happens when graphics designers have run out of ideas.

They turn the clock back 20 years, and call it "brutalist"-- This looks like something I would have seen on a PalmOS based PDA some 10-15 years ago.

Personally, I think graphics design in operating systems and applications peaked around the time of Vista and Windows 7-- since then, it's felt like change for the sake of change, rather than to improve the overall usability of the interface.

Gnome started removing items that might confuse their users, and KDE decided simpler was better-- but widgets need to be able to rotate an arbitrary amount of degrees-- and let's reinvent the desktop paradigm via "activities", which consume gobs of ram without being as cool as Work Area Folders (OS/2) were in 1996.

We had complaints about skeuomorphism, but now all of our desktops and apps look like they're ready to go to the typesetter for printing in a book, or in the case of HTML5, an ad campaign.

We had "HTML", which was supposed to be display independent markup language-- would work on anything from a text console to a super-duper EVGA or XGA system-- Now we have HTML5 with insanely wide backgrounds that change as we scroll, and teeny-tiny columns of text in the middle of the page-- assuming there's any text at all, and it isn't just a huge powerpoint presentation with an occasional link that you have to "scroll" through the equivalent of 10 pages of text to find.

The Ribbon interface from Microsoft was needed in Office because Office just had too many features-- but now they've made it standard across their other Windows apps, and made them more difficult to use. Their "metro/modern/universal" apps have solved that issue by simply not HAVING interface buttons.

Usability went out of fashion 10+ years ago, and we're left with shiny and bling, or flat and utterly consumed with whitespace, and the lowest common denominator (ie, the stupidest user) defines the functionality of your interface.

Reply Score: 18

RE: Well, now we know....
by Soulbender on Thu 1st Jun 2017 03:17 UTC in reply to "Well, now we know...."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Why don't you tell us how you really feel?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well, now we know....
by grat on Thu 1st Jun 2017 13:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, now we know...."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Actually, I took out a paragraph because it was too cynical even for me. It suggested that we were heading for an interface paradigm that only has one button, labeled "Siri", "Alexa", "Cortana", or "Google", depending on which particular marketing empire you had sold your soul to. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well, now we know....
by tidux on Thu 1st Jun 2017 04:58 UTC in reply to "Well, now we know...."
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

That's why choice and freedom matter. Try using Window Maker with Gtk and Qt set up to use the OneStepBack theme. There's only so much a WM and a theme can do, but they help.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well, now we know....
by Chupakabra on Thu 1st Jun 2017 11:28 UTC in reply to "Well, now we know...."
Chupakabra Member since:
2017-05-29

Oh yes, so much true!
+1

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well, now we know....
by mistersoft on Thu 1st Jun 2017 14:08 UTC in reply to "Well, now we know...."
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

well, interface design aside - I'd just be happy if bloody Windows would 100% remember where icons or documents are put on the desktop. and NEVER just randomly forgotten and put in a lump in the corner.

And at each previously used resolution too.
Ideally with built-in AI scaling to approximate same relative item location at intervening resolutions (including those of different dimensions too)
Can't be that hard to do!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well, now we know....
by shotsman on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 19:38 UTC in reply to "Well, now we know...."
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Ease of Use with the Ribbon bar went right out the window.
I used tear my hair out every time I have to use that frankly awful interface.
I am so glad that I don't have to use it ever again.

Reply Score: 2

Horrid
by Chupakabra on Thu 1st Jun 2017 11:24 UTC
Chupakabra
Member since:
2017-05-29

Simply horrible. Looks like something made by 5-year old using MS Paint. Hurts my eyes even to look at it. Also, many of them seem much more difficult to use than original versions.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Horrid
by The123king on Thu 1st Jun 2017 12:26 UTC in reply to "Horrid"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

Have you seen any Brutalist architecture? Most of it looks like what a 5 year-old would make from Lego

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Horrid
by Chupakabra on Thu 1st Jun 2017 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Horrid"
Chupakabra Member since:
2017-05-29

That just proves my point. Why would anyone unleash such an abomination upon the world?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Horrid
by schrepfler on Thu 1st Jun 2017 18:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Horrid"
schrepfler Member since:
2014-06-02

My country was full of brutalist architecture, it's actually quite nice and always projected a powerful presence as well as reflecting a modern urban style or some stylized monument message.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Horrid
by Chupakabra on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 08:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Horrid"
Chupakabra Member since:
2017-05-29

Was it similar to the screenshots in the article above?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Horrid
by dylansmrjones on Thu 1st Jun 2017 14:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Horrid"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Except that 5 year olds construct colorful buildings in lego, unlike the single colored (often rain-darkened grey concrete) monsters so typical for brutalist architecture.

The authors choice of colors and typefaces are generally suboptimal in regard to pleasantness and functionality.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Horrid
by unclefester on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 03:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Horrid"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Have you seen any Brutalist architecture? Most of it looks like what a 5 year-old would make from Lego


Grey Lego only.

Reply Score: 2

urk
by chrish on Thu 1st Jun 2017 12:05 UTC
chrish
Member since:
2005-07-14

I hate it, it offends my eyes, but! it seems to mostly return the "discoverability" aspect of good UI design that mobile abandoned years ago in favour of "simplicity".

I really wish someone would take all those decades of human computer interaction research and design a modern UI around those, instead of just making everything flat, removing most of the features, and hiding 75% of the remaining functionality.

Reply Score: 4

RE: urk
by kwan_e on Thu 1st Jun 2017 12:10 UTC in reply to "urk"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I really wish someone would take all those decades of human computer interaction research and design a modern UI around those


How much of that research was tied to the technology we had then, though?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: urk
by The123king on Thu 1st Jun 2017 12:29 UTC in reply to "RE: urk"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

I think you're fine if you start in the early 90's. Most systems could at least render 8-bit colour, which is plenty for a graphical interface. I mean, iOS 7 and up could get away with black and white. System7 did.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: urk
by Verenkeitin on Thu 1st Jun 2017 14:38 UTC in reply to "RE: urk"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01

"I really wish someone would take all those decades of human computer interaction research and design a modern UI around those


How much of that research was tied to the technology we had then, though?
"

Actually, none of it is tied to technology. For example, gestalt rules for good layout are the same regardless of screen resolution and size, and only a few colors can be used for meaningful color coding.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: urk
by Megol on Thu 1st Jun 2017 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE: urk"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

"I really wish someone would take all those decades of human computer interaction research and design a modern UI around those


How much of that research was tied to the technology we had then, though?
"

Near 0%. Sure things have changed but not fundamentally - as the U part is a human and haven't adapted the hardware.

One example of then vs now is animations.
Then Mac OS animated some things to allow a user to use their spatial sense to link an icon to a window and also "distract" the user from the time it took to open the window.
Now animations are generally used to put some "polish" on the design without providing any actual advantage, no more information is provided, there is no use of the natural senses of the user to ease organization of data and animations tend to add extra time to operations instead of making them seem faster.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: urk
by kwan_e on Thu 1st Jun 2017 23:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: urk"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"[q]I really wish someone would take all those decades of human computer interaction research and design a modern UI around those


How much of that research was tied to the technology we had then, though?
"

Near 0%.
.
.
.
Now animations are generally used to put some "polish" on the design without providing any actual advantage, no more information is provided,
.
.
.
[/q]

Then it's not 0%, but 100%, at least in the case of animation. It's tied to the state of technology of the time.

Sure, we haven't found an advantage for animation, but that goes to show the research is incomplete because animation wasn't sufficiently available at the time of the research. Same goes for other technology we have now that wasn't available then.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: urk
by Megol on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 12:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: urk"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11


Then it's not 0%, but 100%, at least in the case of animation. It's tied to the state of technology of the time.

Sure, we haven't found an advantage for animation, but that goes to show the research is incomplete because animation wasn't sufficiently available at the time of the research. Same goes for other technology we have now that wasn't available then.


Can't agree with that. UI is about providing an interface between the user and the computer and worsening that interface for no reason goes against all UI research - so improvements in technology still have no impact on the UI itself.

A modern UI (phones etc.) tend to remove or make difficult to discover features, something considered very important by many into UI research. But still many others thought that discoverability wasn't in itself important if the basics were easy to learn and the rest of the functionality were logically placed. One example is the command line interface - which have lousy discoverability but is exceptionally powerful.
But that's the closest to an example of technology influencing UI at least I can think of - (finger) touch interfaces make it harder to do discoverability given how blunt the input instrument is... ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: urk
by kwan_e on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: urk"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

That's irrelevant. We are talking about research. The research is missing for these new technologies, pure and simple.

That they've been badly implemented so far is only evidence that the research needs to be carried out. There is a difference between incomplete research and research discovering it is bad.

Reply Score: 2

RE: urk
by ebasconp on Thu 1st Jun 2017 13:58 UTC in reply to "urk"
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

No trolling here, but, do you really find simple the UI that mobile phones provide nowadays?

I am completely lost on how to do simple things in my cell phone because there is no consistency among applications; I do not know what I will find when I tap the "|||" (please, rotate the thing in quotes 90º) or what will occur if I do some gesture.

That lack of consistency is, IMO an effect of giving a lot of freedom to developers and designers to simply "create" what they think is beautiful instead of following standards.

At the end, the "brutalist" design addresses some of my concerns when removing all noise and showing just functionality, but the examples shown in that page do not show any consistency neither.

Probably I'm just getting older ;)

Edited 2017-06-01 14:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: urk
by chrish on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 11:33 UTC in reply to "RE: urk"
chrish Member since:
2005-07-14

The modern trend is for "simplified" UIs, but that generally just means hiding things, removing clues as to what's a text label and what's a button, etc. The net effect is to make the UI much less usable... it's not simple, it's just obtuse.

Reply Score: 2

"modern apps ported to Nokia s60"
by xristos on Thu 1st Jun 2017 14:24 UTC
xristos
Member since:
2014-04-25

As a programmer that just wants functional over pretty, they look fine.

But, yea, this makes them all look like they were ported to the Symbian s60 OS (pre-Qt) ;)

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

As a programmer that just wants functional over pretty, they look fine.


I know right.

It's obviously a certain aesthetic, in looking at other examples of brutalism linked to by the author, but there is something to be said for the lack of surprise, or modality, in the UI.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by computrius
by computrius on Thu 1st Jun 2017 14:36 UTC
computrius
Member since:
2006-03-26

The functional part is where they undid one of the many stupid decisions of the "metro" fad and replaced all of the meaningless, description-less, cryptic pictures with a button that actually says what it does. Ground breaking, I know.

As for the rest, we are just continuing the same trend of going backward in design just so designers can feel good about themselves for "innvotating".

Edited 2017-06-01 14:38 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by computrius
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 1st Jun 2017 15:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by computrius"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Ha! Yes, like the Snapchat triangle of balls or the infamous hamburger menu drawer icon.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Stripping off the stuff that didn't work or retooling it to make it work better are good things. For instance, the '70s and '80s. Let's never go back there, but we can re-appropriate things that worked. The Lichtenstein-esque futurism of the '80s can be interesting, and I can't think of anything I would salvage from the '70s.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Thu 1st Jun 2017 15:00 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

All I got from looking at the examples was that person has a lot of time to waste.

Reply Score: 1

Brutalist Design?
by schmittchen.de on Thu 1st Jun 2017 17:40 UTC
schmittchen.de
Member since:
2007-01-24

Please don't bother. Just don't.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Brutalist Design?
by Kochise on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 06:40 UTC in reply to "Brutalist Design? "
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

No, at least the contrasted lines separating button and/or field provides a certain kind of clarity. Not just for visual impaired.

Reply Score: 2

Some of it's not half bad
by Moochman on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 06:58 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Some of these remind me of the sort of hipster-esque retro graphic design seen on the menus of the trendiest local coffee shops. The author nailed it with Instagram - it already is brutal, by being hipster. All those separating lines, line-drawing graphics and courier typed font - it might as well have been made with a plotting machine and typewriter - and done right, it can be charming. For the record: I would actually use that Gmail app, with pleasure.

Edited 2017-06-02 07:03 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by snapchat321
by snapchat321 on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 16:29 UTC
snapchat321
Member since:
2017-06-02

I think this is nice thing which you are talking about

Regards,
https://snapchatonlinelogin.org">snapchat

Edited 2017-06-02 16:30 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Skeptical at first, but...
by vocivus on Fri 2nd Jun 2017 16:40 UTC
vocivus
Member since:
2010-03-13

I hated everything until I saw the spotify redesign. That I loved. I use spotify on my phone often, sometimes while driving, and it's very difficult to navigate the interface without giving it full attention. The brutalist redesign made widget boundaries obvious, and everything seems like it would be more functional.

The look is as ugly as sin, but i'd rather form follow function than the reverse.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Skeptical at first, but...
by kwan_e on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 05:07 UTC in reply to "Skeptical at first, but..."
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I use spotify on my phone often, sometimes while driving, and it's very difficult to navigate the interface without giving it full attention.



How about you stop doing that?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Skeptical at first, but...
by vocivus on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 15:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Skeptical at first, but..."
vocivus Member since:
2010-03-13

I don't give it any more attention than I would my car radio. That's the point. I don't want to give it attention, so it's practically unusable.

Edited 2017-06-03 15:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Redesign??
by brostenen on Sat 3rd Jun 2017 20:22 UTC
brostenen
Member since:
2007-01-16

Oh no... Not another attempt to shuffle ugly flat design idea's down the throat. I hate flat design, and especially when there are no real defining borders, wich tells me were I am and were I can go. See... The thing is that I have to enterprete were I am in the UI every single second, instead of just using it. Worst example are Win10. It's like the worst design for people like me.
So... Can we PLEASE go back to semi-flat design with clear defining borders and shadows around every Window.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Redesign??
by dnebdal on Sun 4th Jun 2017 09:09 UTC in reply to "Redesign??"
dnebdal Member since:
2008-08-27

Oh no... Not another attempt to shuffle ugly flat design idea's down the throat. I hate flat design, and especially when there are no real defining borders, wich tells me were I am and were I can go. See... The thing is that I have to enterprete were I am in the UI every single second, instead of just using it. Worst example are Win10. It's like the worst design for people like me.
So... Can we PLEASE go back to semi-flat design with clear defining borders and shadows around every Window.


These weren't actually too bad in that regard. Chunky borders, and every function is labeled with text instead of mystery icons.

Reply Score: 2

Familiar
by StephenBeDoper on Mon 5th Jun 2017 00:10 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

More than anything else, those examples all look (to my eyes) like the current flat design trend, if it were implemented in HTML 3. Though I started out as a webmonkey in the HTML 3 days and even then, the company I worked for never would have released a design that was so "line-y" - there are borders on nearly everything.

Reply Score: 2