Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Jun 2012 12:19 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces It's been one of my major pet peeves on both Android and iOS: the total and utter lack of consistency. Applications - whether first party or third party - all seem to live on islands, doing their own thing, making their own design choices regarding basic UI interactions, developing their own non-standard buttons and controls. Consistency died five years ago, and nobody seems to care but me.
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Sort of agree.
by leos on Wed 20th Jun 2012 01:33 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

I kind of agree, in that on a desktop platform I always valued consistency, and Windows was a pain to use because of the lack of it. That's why I enjoy the mac and formerly linux much more.

However as usual you tend towards the hyperbole.

the biggest change in UI design caused by the iPhone, and later Android, is that 'consistency' lost its status as one of the main pillars of proper UI design.


This isn't backed up. Both platforms have extensive UI guidelines. Many things about them are more consistent than on a PC. For example, both provide a much more extensive and standard set of classes and widgets. While Windows is a hodgepodge of dozens of toolkits, there is only one major standard on iOS and Android. So 95% of the table views you'll see are the standard platform ones. Same with 95% of the toolbars, buttons, toggle switches, etc, etc, etc.

If some website reports on a new application for iOS or Android, the first few comments will almost inevitably be about how the application looks - not about if the application works.


If an application has gone out of its way to look good, then people will comment on it. But that doesn't give the app a free pass if it doesn't work. The thing is that the apps where people have made the effort to make it look good are also the ones that tend to have the attention paid to working well.

We've reached a point where it's entirely acceptable to reduce functionality just to make an application look good.


Name one example where an application removed functionality in exchange for looks and demonstrate how users thought that was acceptable. I don't believe you.]

We give more accolades to a developer who designs a pretty but functionally crippled application than to a developer who creates a highly functional and useful, but less pretty application.


Again, you just made that up. Who gives more accolades? Certainly not on this site. Show us the reviews where that is happening. I mean real reviews, not some random person posting on twitter.

'I give up, I know my application needs this functionality but because I don't know how to integrate it, I'll just claim I didn't include it because users don't need it'.


One example of that happening, just one.

In order to not drown in this highly competitive tidal wave of applications, you need to stand out from the crowd.
A highly distinctive interface is the best way to do this.


No. A good app is the best way to do this. Good apps look and work nicely. I have never seen a single app that looks good but doesn't work, and yet is highly rated amongst its peers.

Sadly - I, as a user, suffer from it. I don't like using iOS. I don't like using Android.


Sadly, you are in the minority. I love using my phone, and hundreds of millions of people do too.

And now a note about consistency from someone that actually designs user interfaces. Functional consistency is important, but visual consistency isn't (to a point of course).
It doesn't matter that certain apps have toolbars that are blue, and others are black, and others are green. This does not hurt usage of the app one iota and doesn't require extra thought. If you disagree, please point to a usability study that shows that interface colours and graphics decrease interface performance.

Consistency in behaviour is important, but also not critical to a good application. As others have mentioned, creative UI can be more productive than standard UI. Winamp is one example (very compact UI that could live in a titlebar when always on top). Another example that I use every day is the Remember the Milk app. The new version uses a very cool UI with multiple cards that can be swiped into view, and it is significantly faster to work with than the old "consistent" version.

Consistency is a crutch. It's a useful crutch, and in most cases it will make a perfectly good UI, but it is still a crutch. Most people that throw away standard components to make their own will make a worse replacement. However the 2% that are actually good designers and pour hundreds of hours into designing their own table view that perfectly matches their app will make brilliant things by smashing through the requirement for consistency.

Edited 2012-06-20 01:36 UTC

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