Tag Archives: User interface

Google’s UI Growing Pains

In general, I’ve been a huge fan of Google’s UI changes. It makes the service seem fresher, more relevant and easy to use. Overall, it’s a nice progressive move that shouldn’t totally freak out a user base made up of a huge variety of user skill levels, operating systems, you-name-it. But there are a few spots where it starts to break down. For instance, this is the upper-right hand corner of the Google Voice UI now.

Google Voice new UI

I mean, that’s just plain confusing. There are nine controls packed into that little space and they are almost completely unrelated to one another in terms of functionality.

I love that Google is iterating quickly on it’s products and that it’s pushing it’s UI to be more modern. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an old UI because your user base can’t or won’t adapt. Ask Amazon. But, I also hope that Google acts quickly to come through a clean up areas like the above so that they continue to drive that Google hallmark of ease of use and clarity down through all of their products.

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What No One is Saying About the New Twitter.

The new release of Twitter has, predictably, put the Web in an uproar. The Internet pundits have been focused on the new UI, with many rehashing two tired themes which amount to who moved my cheese, and utterly fail to grasp the bigger picture, which is a strategic shift in the product itself.

Twitter has shifted to a product posture that puts consumption ahead of production. With this release Twitter has made the leap from “micro-blogging” to discovery engine. You can see it happening with the reduced prominence and location of the composer box on the web version, and the increased prominence of the discovery UI. It’s an acknowledgement that many people who use Twitter don’t actually use it for expression, but rather information gathering. This is an important shift, and something that people who are the publishers will have to get used to.

When half of your daily users don’t Tweet, but just login to see what’s happening, you have to make that discovery easier. And I think this new release is a step in the right direction. As for the criticism? It’s myopic and self-centered and fundamentally misses the broader implications and use cases of the Twitter user base at large.

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