Dear JetBrains. Don't mess with your UI.
So we have yet a new UI overhaul. This time, bringing consumer-grade UI practices to the world of professionals.
We're professionals. We can handle the complexity and the density of the current UI. You made a contract with us about what the UI would be like for a foreseeable future. A user interface is like an API for your eyeballs. Your vision system expects things in a certain place. The way we revise APIs, we ought to do the same with UIs. The cost of changing anything even if it is objectively better through whatever A/B testing you've done, has to also account for the breakage of the contract it has made over years of daily usage. The bar needs to be really high.
So, what have we got here? Oh, the usual. Honest to god, I was playing bingo the moment I saw the headline on Lobsters. It is going to be something along these lines:
- More negative space. I've yet to see any modern UI changes that go in the opposite direction. Literally, everything just got fatter. More padding and margin across the board.
- Removal of color from icons. Yup, iconography and the designers that used to work on them are long extinct. Everything is open source so no one has the time and effort to work on icons anymore. We continue to use terrible simplistic icons everywhere. They're always made in a hurry using line segments to create a rough outline of the icon. I don't blame the designers one bit, it is just the situation. Designing icons is a full time job.
- Rounding of corners. Religion at this point.
- Homogenization. JetBrains wants to be like VSCode. Being different is not cool anymore. If we look at interface design across the board between 2010 and today, everything has become homogenized. The largest, and most powerful companies inject their consumer-grade ad-tech taste into everything and anything.
- Animations. Haven't seen them but it will be filled with animations. The whole interface is going to feel like turbulent molasses. Mark my words.
A double whammy. Not only are they breaking the UI, but they're also doing it for all the wrong reasons. A bit of spanking is needed in this space.
Goddamn it, I love PyCharm. What now? vim + billion plugins?