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What is "ugly" software?

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Posted by satis
Jul 12, 2018 at 02:26 AM

 

Paul Korm wrote:
> but is interface really all that important? 

OmniOutliner Essentials limits you to 11 themes which are locked down in terms of font, size, text color, background color, formatting, whether or not disclosure triangles are shown, whether or not alternating lines are the same color. There’s no dark mode, just three (poorly-chosen) dark themes - all of which include some dark blue text on a near-black background.

Utterly awful.

But it’s a powerful app for $10, and I use one of the better themes grudgingly. The UI’s utter awfulness seems designed to force people into paying the additional $40 for the Pro version to unlock customization, however it backfired with me, and I would rather find another app entirely than pay and effectively endorse Omni’s stratagem.

 


Posted by Luhmann
Jul 12, 2018 at 08:58 AM

 

User interface (UX) is not separate from functionality. If a software has an amazing feature but it is hard to use, difficult to find, or implemented poorly due to bad design, then it doesn’t really matter if it has that feature or not. This has been the guiding principle of Apple’s corporate philosophy since the beginning, and it was only very late that other companies, such as Microsoft and Google began to understand that design was not separate from functionality. Now all three have good design, even if their design philosophies are still different. (Jobs, for instance, was slow to move away from skeuomorphism.)

The difference between Workflowy-like outliners and OO for me is that they get out of your way, so you don’t have to think very much about the UX when you work. I would not say that OO is ugly, but it is poorly designed in a way that makes it difficult for me to do the work I want to do. But I use 2Do over Things even though it isn’t as elegant a UX, precisely because it has some features that are absolutely critical to how I work. The same with BBEdit which I keep around to do RegEx text manipulation even though I prefer using Bear or Ulysses for my note taking. (I still haven’t figured out any use for Agenda…)

 


Posted by Paul J. Miller
Jul 12, 2018 at 09:01 AM

 

Paul Korm wrote:
>Obviously a question of preference with no possible basis in fact, but
>the question is:  can design really be everything?  If software doesn’t
>have a pretty face is that a permanent thumbs down?

I am a very visual person and the way a program looks has a very big influence over my perception of it.

The interface should look nice and be visually intuitive (no “what the hell does that do?” moments) but power is more important than looks, if something is more powerful and does what I want it to do then I will learn to live with the looks.

Having said that if a program comes along which is just as powerful (or even less powerful but does all I need it to do) and has a nicer visual interface then I would switch.

 

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Jul 12, 2018 at 10:22 AM

 

The truth for me is that I preferred the old, ugly Tinderbox in a lot of ways.

Jeffery Smith wrote:
I hate to post this, but early reviews of Tinderbox (on blogs)
>invariably had the words “ugly app”, and fortunately, Mark
>B. started to provide enhancements that could be added, though I thought
>prettiness wasn’t important.

 


Posted by satis
Jul 12, 2018 at 10:57 AM

 

Luhmann wrote:
> >The difference between Workflowy-like outliners and OO for me is that
>they get out of your way, so you don’t have to think very much about the
>UX when you work. I would not say that OO is ugly, but it is poorly
>designed in a way that makes it difficult for me to do the work I want
>to do.

Also, with a web-based app there are numerous browser plugins available to change fonts and colors. That’s how I am able to use Trello without that annoying background or fatiguing contrast. (And I use Stylish/Stylus skins to enlarge boxes and add named/color tags.)

>BBEdit which I keep around to do RegEx text
>manipulation even though I prefer using Bear or Ulysses for my note
>taking.

I regularly fire up BBEdit just to reformat paragraphs to set line lengths. Does anyone know of any simple utility apps that also do that? The Mac text utils I have (Clean Text, Clean Text Menu, Text Soap Menu) don’t offer this simple feature….

 


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