and all the BS fit to read!

Occupy UI! – Larry Blumen

Occupy UI! – Larry Blumen

Jan 4, 2012

My wife and I each have our own Droid X smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets, plus a laptop that we share.  I’m fairly computer literate, but not more than that—ignorance reigns supreme with so many devices and apps to deal with, each having it’s own learning curve to be shinnied up. My wife’s position on all these learning curves has gone from zero to 30 in a very short period of time, which is not bad for one who freely admits her hatred of things that blink and chime, and talk back.  We both get really angry at our devices, but my wife, even when she knows what to do, will often play ombudsman for the severely device-challenged, pleading  the logic of their case eloquently and passionately as she did to me this morning: “All these apps work differently, with things disguised as buttons and buttons disguised as things—different apps with different ways of doing the same things in different places.  Why can’t they all do the same things in the same ways in the same places?” My wife was having a Steve Jobs moment.  In an Android world, that can be a little awkward.  It didn’t take me long to come up with examples of her complaint within Google’s own applications: The display of pictures and albums is handled differently, and lousily, in PC Picasa, Picasa Web Albums and Google+, with the same set of controls arrayed in wildly different ways. A single application, like Gmail, has a very different UI on mobile than on the PC and they’re both different from the tablet (where the interface is actually pretty neat). In independent apps, browser-based or Android based, developers are still living in the Wild West where anything goes. Keyboards are all different. The cure for this is UI standardization, which equates to a presumption of non-competitiveness, not to mention sameness and boredom.  Developers and their masters don’t want this—they want to be crazy different in order to get your attention.  They have data showing that crazy different works. They’re not going to change their minds.  But maybe they don’t have to.  It would be enough if the gods of Android just enforcedly...