The most excellent and lamentable tragedy of Flat UI Design, in two acts.
@aras I think that's more the tragedy of "Microsoft trying to follow trends they don't really understand" rather than "Flat UI design". I mean, every part of that UI design is a mess. It's easy to make scrollbars obvious in a flat design, Microsoft just has no idea what on earth they are trying achieve.
@WAHa_06x36 I think it's not only Microsoft; majority of flat UIs I've seen are terrible. It might be possible to make a good one, but that doesn't happen often.
@aras damn, that's a compelling argument to go back to basics
@aras Yes and no. I think what your really seeing is the evolution of the user. We have trained the users enough they no longer need the strong visual cues as its remained static for so long. As a result we can favour aesthetics. Design is never in a bubble.
Also see controller UX.
@kimau maybe. I still dislike majority of today's flat UIs. I actually often can't tell what can be clicked on, just by looking at it. I can't easily tell which window/control is active, etc.
@kimau @aras I think it's a clash between touch controls changing expectations and that not quite gelling with more indirect traditional control systems. Humans are hardwired to just fiddle with things and see what happens so touch can get away with less affordance, but that's bled into non-touch UIs too, to mixed effect.
@sinbad @aras Didn't say it was the best design but this is often called "white knowledge" which is assumed to have permeated the user base.
There is a legit counter argument that touch UI has changed UX enough since 2005 that the everyone who uses windows knows what a windows title bar does is no longer white knowledge.
At what point does feedback become noise. The less attention I need to give to global UX the less dense the UX.
@sinbad @aras Yes black knowledge design was part of it. Though it's a big part of mobile UX. TikTok and asian apps in particular have iterated on mobile UX so much they have settled on conventions most apps don't bother explaining. Where in the past screen darkening, swipe effects or peek cues were common place in mobile UX they are now largely removed for a snappier less dense experience.
@kimau @aras I'm feeling old - I studied UX design in the 90s when affordance was linked to more universal real-world concepts (raised = pressable etc). Now it's several steps removed from the physical on the basis that everyone is already very familiar with what has gone before - although I'm not 100% convinced that's actually true.
@sinbad @aras Design fundamentals don't change that much but fashion does and the goals are hyper specific. Windows (the og example) is something most people use 8+ hours in a day. When something is that pervasive the layers of design go super deep. The more familiar something is the more it's play with and few things are as familiar as the "window"
@sinbad @aras @kimau Presumably the terminology is based on whitelist/blacklist but this got me thinking about design as subtle targetting of social control. The behaviors encouraged by a certain design will only be encouraged in groups that can understand the design language. (In some cases this is a blessing: systems that encourage bad habits might be inaccessible to audiences that would be harmed most by them. Can't think of an example of this being the case though.)
@kimau @aras no we haven't trained users enough. I hate that mentality. I started using android last year and it still pains me to understand a bunch of ui concepts. Is crazy and not intuitive at all. Worse, causes a sense of internal chaos and paralysis cuz I have no idea what is safe to touch or not. I can't even imagine trying to make my mother for example use a modern windows or android, I'd probably would cry from how frustrating it would be.
@aras So very true.
I once developed a Windows Mobile Embedded scanner application. When my boss looked at it, he told me that it was ugly, and should be made more modern. So i spent a lot of hours hacking the UI. Eventually, all the buttons were bordered labels, and it was smacked unto a back ground. Bossman was happy, but the customers were confused
"Why did you make it less obvious whats what?" they asked.
@aras my current desktop approves of your toot
@johannesg nice :)
@aras Windows 21: "We removed the scroll bar because it felt archeoc. Now you can just scroll with your finger"
@aras I had to stare at this for a minute to see the problem because my brain is so used to those scrollbars, haha.
I think the way macOS represents flat scrollbars is probably the way to go; the ends are round to differentiate them from the background. But then Apple had to go and hide the scrollbars completely by default, undoing the slightly better UX in favor of minimalism.
@aras I think Numix is a good representation of what any Flat UI should be. 🤔
@aras It *is* obvious from the context. The scroll bar changes color when you hover it and considering you know where in the text you are, you also know where the scrollbar is.
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