There seems to be a growing number of people who are up in arms over gmail’s new look. Resistance was prevalent enough upon its introduction that google-folk granted users the ability to change the density of the data presented.
Ever since the iPhone came out, everyone in the technological landscape has been trying to emulate it somehow. The most mundane example of this sort of thing can be found among religious fanatics’ inclination to imitate their leader’s handwriting regardless of how ugly or even unreadable it might turn out to be.
Likewise, techies and marketeers alike seem to live under the impression that anything that comes out of the Apple church is blessed by awesome design.
It’s hard to argue with this, as their user interfaces tend to be streamlined, elegant, visually attractive, and, most importantly, very user-friendly. However, just because Apple created doesn’t mean that there can’t be anything else or, God forbid, something better.
And so, when google saw how much people liked the iPhone’s interface, in their infinite (or googolish) wisdom, they decided that gmail ought to have that same look. Morons.
What they totally missed is that we still interface with our computers with a keyboard and a mouse, not with the tips of our fingers. If anything, screens are getting bigger, both on the desktop and notebooks, so I really see no reason in this environment for oversized buttons and list items one inch apart from one-another. What’s the point of having a bigger screen if we’re getting increasingly less information out of it?
The latest bastion to fall for this iDiocy is Experts-Exchange.com. I have been participating in it for just a couple of days, and I had seen announcements of the “new look” every time I’d log on. Today they made the switch, and guess what: a very usable and, more importantly even, INFORMATIVE interface now looks like a damn iPad and, yup, has less information than before, requires more work to get around. On top of that, they botched it; it doesn’t render correctly in my browser (Firefox under kde).
Hell, I’m not 18 anymore; I need glasses to read, and I appreciate larger letters whenever I find them, but design, just for the heck of it, is plain stupid.