View Full Version : Rebuttable: UI Simplification = Confusion

Rebuttable to: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/27/2982227/ui-simplification-confusion
A few bad UIs don’t spoil the bunch
User interface design is changing. Touch screens are everywhere, apps are hugely popular, and there are very few limits (if any).
Simplification != standardization
Cars are a perfect example of simplification. They’ve been getting easier to drive by creating more and more layers of abstraction between the user and engine. You know why that steering wheel is so large on the 1957 Ford Thunderbird? Because it doesn’t have power steering. You may know how to drive it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll do it well.

Going back further, you probably wouldn’t intuitively be able to drive a 1900’s Model T, arguably the first modern car. How many cars have a choke?
Problem isn’t over simplification, it’s ignoring standardization.
"Literacy is not declining."
Literacy is not universal. An app with no text can be easily translated to other languages. Text always needs to change, icons rarely do.
A lot of UI designs are moving towards touch-screen-centric controls (whether they’re on one or not). Icons are easy to put on touch screens because they’re square and work well at 44px. Text is harder. It’s only about 20px high and way too long.

Which is anti-standardization. iOS has a clear settings app, which allows developers to include their own app settings. True, the settings are limited to basically switches and text fields, but that’s where settings are expected.
"Android was promising with their dedicated menu button though I am wary of where that is heading in future releases."
If discoverability is a big deal (ie the Office button), I’m surprised you like the Android menu. It’s one of the biggest hindrances to pre-ICS usability. "Back", "Home", & "Menu", which of these three is not like the other? Home is OS-level, back is OS-and-app-level, and menu is only view-level. Home will always take you back to the main screen, back will take to back to the last view (be it the same app or not), and menu will pop-up a list of hidden items. When I want to mark an email as spam, I don’t think to look next to the home button.

Already here, and just read it. I just wanted to start a conversation about UI design and am glad to see a post with a different viewpoint . I know that standards will evolve naturally.
I completely agree with your Android Back button statement. Marking an email as spam is a perfect example of where I get confused. Do I long press, hit the menu button, tap it, swipe it to the left or right? I don’t know which one because there could be hundreds of apps, all with a different way to access the same feature.