Google’s new “batshit crazy” UX  

In a recent update to Gmail and Google+, Google removed the ability to go “home” by clicking the logo. Kevin Fox, who worked at Google as a designer for many years, had this to say:

The new Gmail and Google+ ‘clicking on the logo does nothing’ behavior seems just absurd. […] As long as there is a property logo on your page, clicking on that logo should take you to the top level of that property, and if you’re already on the top level and it’s a dynamic site, clicking on it again should perform the same action as clicking a refresh button on the same page.

This isn’t a Google convention that will be acclimated to if changed. It’s an Internet convention that predates Google’s existence by a good many years. It’s like if Audi started shipping all 2012 vehicles with gearshifts on the driver’s left, no matter which side of the road folks drive on in your country, because it creates a more consistant experience across Audi cars or supports a future Audi strategy.

I am amazed that Google allowed this change, but not really surprised.

Twitter also recently made a bizarre design decision: a tweet’s timestamp is no longer a link to that tweet’s page. Instead, clicking the date contracts the mini-information expansion. There is now a dedicated “details” link which is camouflaged in color, size, and location, as metadata. On the web, clicking the date in a feed item should always take you to that item’s permalink. Ironically, this convention was popularized by Twitter’s first UI.

I bet there’s a ton of usability research showing that a huge number of users have trouble finding a tweet’s isolated page. But that is absolutely no reason to totally abandon a web default expectation. That’s batshit crazy.

You should follow me on Twitter here.


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