Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Facebook Layout

Let me share a facebook screenshot with you:

Does anything stand out?

To me, the vast amounts of unused space did stand out. To the left of my news feed, there's more unused space than width of the feed itself. On the right, between the suggestions and events, there's again three quarters of the news feed in unused space. Of course I felt cramped here. Clearly, the new facebook layout wasn't designed for widescreen monitors, despite the fact that these are the de facto standard these days.

It took me a while to realize what was actually making this feel so cramped. After all, they hadn't actually made the news feed any narrower. However, I found that what they did do was remove the navigation from the left side of the page. That is, it used to scroll with you and it no longer does. Now it just sits there at the top of the screen, nowhere to be seen if you're not at the top of the screen. It wasn't the fact that the feed was so small, it was the fact that it was so small while there was so much unused space. I actually scrolled up and found that indeed, when the space was used, it didn't feel quite as cramped.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A new google maps

Whenever Google rolls out a change, I end up being on e of the first that sees it. Maybe it's because I made my gmail account early on (almost nine years ago, now), maybe it has something to do with my geographical location or maybe it's just completely random. Either way, Within twelve hours from the announcement that the Google maps overhaul would become the default for us all in the coming weeks, it was my default.

And I hated it. I don't know what it is, but it is happening time and again that I just don't like the way Google redesigns their sites. I couldn't stand to use the new gmail until they added the option of a "compact" layout which allowed me to get as much emails on my screen as before.

And now there's map. And the new layout look great... for a mobile device, that is. Perhaps also for a smaller laptop as well. But honestly, on my 21 inch screen. It feels like I am using a limited touch UI and it feels like there was no space. And then there's so much map, it actually distracts from what I was looking for.

Of course, they have learned a lesson from the previous times: they now know  they should add a "similar to old version" button to their new version. This time, it is the "show all results" button. It's not quite like the old version, but we do get white bars on each side of the map, which are used to show us more relevant non-map data (not as much as it used to be, though). It gives you back a smaller map inside a page - as the default of the new version is better described as a "minimal UI on  a large map that is your entire page".

However, it's broken. When press it, the entire map goes grey and it gets reset to some random and very annoying spot that was nowhere near where I was looking.

No thanks, Google, no thanks.