Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Feb 2009 14:07 UTC
Editorial Late last week we ran a story on how the Google Chrome team had decided to use Gtk+ as the graphical toolkit for the Linux version of the Chrome web browser. It was a story that caused some serious debate on a variety of aspects, but in this short editorial, I want to focus on one aspect that came forward: the longing for consistency. Several people in the thread stated they were happy with Google's choice for purely selfish reasons: they use only Gtk+ applications on their GNOME desktops. Several people chimed in to say that Qt integrates nicely in a Gtk+ environment. While that may be true from a graphical point of view, that really isn't my problem with mixing toolkits. The issue goes a lot deeper than that.
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All guis the same
by TechGeek on Mon 16th Feb 2009 15:16 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

All guis are the same, inconsistent. Just look at Windows. You have different widgets between apps. Some apps have floating menus, some have huge ribbons across the top. Some have most of the options hidden in pop up screens. There is no consistency anywhere. And really, do we need it? Are we willing to give up creativity and artistic license to appease people who just don't want to think?

Reply Score: 5

RE: All guis the same
by arpan on Mon 16th Feb 2009 15:59 in reply to "All guis the same"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

The goal isn't to concentrate on your art, it is to concentrate on the user's work.

If the application follows standard interface guidelines of the specific platform, many things can be done by reflex, without getting distracted by the app's idiosyncracies. Example, since every app implements cut/copy/paste in the same way, (browser, text editor, photo manipulation, drawing app, IDE etc.), I can copy/paste text or images without having to search for the menu item/button and just use standard shortcuts.

I can change settings in the same way, I shouldn't have to go searching for it. Saving a document, creating a new document, works more-or-less the same in most apps.

Just a few examples of a few standard conventions that make life easy for the user.

Edited 2009-02-16 16:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: All guis the same
by sorpigal on Tue 17th Feb 2009 12:49 in reply to "RE: All guis the same"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

The goal isn't to concentrate on your art, it is to concentrate on the user's work.


It's not about art, it's about science. If you never evolve UI by experimenting with new conventions then you stagnate. Maybe the status quo is good enough for you, for everything, forever but I certainly don't think so. Interface /guidelines/, where they serve to prevent needless specialized interfaces, are good things but where adherence to a standard becomes all important you lose all chance for innovation.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: All guis the same
by abraxas on Mon 16th Feb 2009 20:05 in reply to "All guis the same"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

All guis are the same, inconsistent. Just look at Windows. You have different widgets between apps. Some apps have floating menus, some have huge ribbons across the top. Some have most of the options hidden in pop up screens. There is no consistency anywhere. And really, do we need it? Are we willing to give up creativity and artistic license to appease people who just don't want to think?


I don't want creativity in an application interface and I don't think anyone else does either! The novelty of a creative interface generally wears of rather quickly. A great example is Nero smart start on Windows. It's the ugliest, most useless, gaudy interface I have ever seen. There are many other examples of this and it never enhances the usability of the application and personally I think it looks a lot worse than having a standard application that works with the rest of the desktop more seamlessly.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: All guis the same
by dagw on Mon 16th Feb 2009 20:35 in reply to "RE: All guis the same"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't want creativity in an application interface and I don't think anyone else does either!

I do. Many great apps have a creative interface. Take the video composting app Shake for example. It has (at least had, I haven't used the latest two versions) a very creative and unique interface. It is also, in my opinion by far the best and most easy to use compositor I've ever used.

Another example is Office 2007. I'll admit i was mighty skeptical the first time I used. But I have to say that after getting used to it I really appreciate what they've done and I consider it a clear improvement over what went before.

There are also countless examples throughout the history of computing where a novel and creative approach to user interfaces have changed the way we interact with applications.

Now of course not all creative endeavors lead to something useful, but if we never try anything new we'll never advance. New and creative may be unfamiliar, but unfamiliar doesn't have to equate to bad (it obviously doesn't have to equate to good either but I don't think anyone is arguing that).

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: All guis the same
by sorpigal on Tue 17th Feb 2009 12:44 in reply to "RE: All guis the same"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I don't want creativity in an application interface and I don't think anyone else does either!


And you'd be wrong. I want it. What now?

The novelty of a creative interface generally wears of rather quickly.


If by 'creative interface' you mean 'glaringly ugly custom skinned crap' then I agree. What you and other UI consistency wonks seem to forget is that all that is not consistent is not bad.

I /want/ the developer to offer the best UI for his application, I do /not/ want the developer to shoehorn his app into an existing convention just because it's consistent. Consistency is not the be-all and end-all of interface design! Sometimes it makes /sense/ to not follow the guidelines, so you /should/.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: All guis the same
by ari-free on Wed 18th Feb 2009 04:15 in reply to "All guis the same"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

"Are we willing to give up creativity and artistic license to appease people who just don't want to think?"


Who has time to 'think' around a messed up GUI? Most people just want to get their work done faster, which is why computers were invented in the first place.

Reply Parent Score: 3