In which two popular browsers confound all expectations.
Recently, I upgraded to the latest version of Opera, and soon realised why I hadn’t done so earlier: that browser’s lack of regard for usability. Here’s the default view I’m presented with in version 10.6:
Following a trend started — I believe — by Google’s Chrome, Opera have decided to do away with menus as we know and love them, and present them in a completely different manner:
Just a couple of reasons why this is really bad:
As far as I know, Chrome was the first browser to ‘pioneer’ this terrible technique, with its ‘icon menus’. It goes without saying that highly usable design is hardly Google’s strong point. In a similar vein, Chrome completely tears apart native UI in a whole other way: by pretending to be running on Vista, even when it isn’t:
And finally, back to Opera. Heard about the Windows convention that double-clicking a window’s title bar toggles between maximising and restoring said window? Not with Opera it doesn’t. The first double-click does, indeed, maximise. But some bright spark thought it would be sensible to then remove the title bar in that state, and shift the tab bar up over it. And double-clicking the tab bar adds a new tab …
There are plenty of other examples of this behaviour, from iTunes to Windows Media Player, but it all smacks of one thing to me: arrogance. Someone thought their software was so unique, so special, that it should look or behave differently from everything that the user is expecting. I call it the ‘arrogant curveball’, and it’s about time it stopped.