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Flat design results in higher cognitive load.

Discussion in 'Editor Workflows' started by eobet, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. eobet

    eobet

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
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    176
  2. dadude123

    dadude123

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    What I'm about to say may seem aggravating, but hear me out until the end!

    In the early days of the software industry maybe that would have worked, but making things more shiny, and keeping them "fresh" (whatever that means at the time, even if objectively a little worse!) has always been neccesary.

    In many cases user-interfaces are not (at least not primarily) about usability.
    They're about impressing people; and more often than not targeting people who don't even actually use the software.

    Do you honestly think anyone in the software industry is like "I want to make a good UI, maybe looking up some scientific research would be a good start, or studying the basics ui design...". Like come on, lol.

    It's an open secret what the driving force behind this change is: keeping in line with peoples expectations, impressing new/inexperienced users, marketing, ...
    And Unity is not alone here, in fact, they're just following the trends of the rest of the industry!


    I know, I know, it all sounds super bad, but it is not! Let me explain.
    Not scaring away new users is basic marketing. If you want to sell your stuff, you need to attract people, and whoever does it best gets the most initial impressions, and people tend to stick with the first choice (assuming they don't find something that immediately turns them off completely).

    And you need a constant stream of new users since developing the "unity software" costs money, a ton of it.

    I know the image many people have in their mind right now, but it's not that there are some stupid "executives" in their golden offices, forcing the newest marketing fad onto the company!
    Instead it's simply just the realities of how things work.


    All that being said consider some more important things:
    1) Most likely, the guys in charge of this are aware of what's wrong with the UI and are working on fixing things. Case in point: They have addressed the god-awful font rendering in their latest iteration and implemented a lot of the feedback people had as well. I'm really happy the font thing got fixed, even if the communication regarding that was exceptionally bad again. A simple
    Code (csharp):
    1. Windows fonts bad, got it, will be fixed
    would have been enough. It even could have been those exact words haha. That would have calmed a lot of people down really quickly! Anyway, it doesn't matter now since their actions are what counts in the end :)

    2) They have already said that it will be possible to customize the editor theme. So after a little while, there will be quite a few user-made themes available. That always happens.

    3) I'm not super happy about the need for marketing either, but if you really think about it there's just no way to avoid it. What you're gonna do? Reprogram every person to be a perfectly rational being? (That'd sure solve a lot of problems, but it's not gonna happen :p)


    edit:
    Actually now that I think about it. What I said about the "open secret": It may not even be that, I think I even remember someone of the team explicitly stating those thoughts.
     
  3. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Jan 20, 2015
    Posts:
    8,792
    Really? "Hard science": Participants were: 19 female and 1 male university student from Moscow, aged 18– 28 (mean – 21.2), experienced web, smartphone and tablet users.

    Well. Not to mention that it didn't really measured the flat design, no matter what they said, they measured the lack of signifiers. On the top of all of this, they measured websites and they deliberately created an environment with less contrast.
    This "study" is BS in this form.

    You could link the Nielsen study, which worth something at least, but you chose not to. And then the answer to certain criticism. Although this study also measures the lack of signifiers, but it at least concludes right and tells you that.

    It's not the flat or not flat the problem, it's the lack of contrast or other signifiers.

    Edit: oh and I forgot to mention. All these studies are great for websites, they built on the lack of familiarity. Your cognitive workload is going down as soon as you get familiar with the design. Because, obviously, you get familiar with it, you can click a certain icon even with your eyes shut. So don't worry about your cognitive load, you will get used to the new design. ;)
     
  4. eobet

    eobet

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Posts:
    176
    I didn't "chose not to". I did not know about their studies, so thank you for linking yet another finding which seems to corroborate this topic, especially one by the most influential ux designers there is.
     
  5. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2015
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    8,792
    ROFL. Apparently this whole subject is just flying above your head. Okay then.