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    buttons in header bars and a few other widgets have no background now, matching this mockup.

    […] This is not a new idea either — pretty much everyone else is doing it, e.g. macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, elementary OS, KDE.

    I deeply believe design changes should be backed by data from tests with users, not design trends.

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      I am endlessly frustrated that the only organisation with the resources to make meaningful changes and improvements in the Linux desktop experience also seems to have no firm vision or goal, so we just get pushed to whatever style and paradigm somebody prefers this week.

      Say what you will about the direction Chrome is bullying the Web, at least it’s an ethos.

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        I feel like I’m reading the updates about the Titanic’s seating arrangements. We’ll probably never have a Year of Linux on the Desktop since most people don’t care about desktop software any more, but it seems more and more like we won’t even have any kind of workstation environment that stands for anything at all.

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          Take the tiling-wm pill and build your own setup.

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            Not wrong - I’m currently on i3, and used wmii and ratpoison before that, but if we lose a Linux desktop on-ramp it’ll be harder to bring more developers into the free software world.

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        More contrast, please.

        Use colors and text weight to make different things easily and clearly different.

        Use form to reflect function.

        Make it obvious which things are buttons or controls and which are just areas. Minimalism is for places people don’t actually do anything in. My computer is where I do stuff.

        GNOME appears to hate all of those things, which is why I use XFCE and wrote my own theme.

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          <rant>

          buttons in header bars and a few other widgets have no background now

          Making the style feel lighter and reducing visual noise is a major goal for the style refresh we’re doing

          Ah yes, button outlines. The most frustrating feature of my keyboard and car is that the buttons have outlines. If only they were amorphous icons embedded into the surface of reality, with no beginning and no end. That would definitely make things more “usable”.

          It frustrates me endlessly that some UX designers will change things just to make themselves seem useful.

          This is not a new idea either — pretty much everyone else is doing it, e.g. macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, elementary OS, KDE.

          Ah yes, the design process has always leaned heavily on looking at what other people are doing, shrugging your shoulders, and going, “eh, guess we should do that too”.

          Also, how did they manage to find the one thing I didn’t like that everyone else was doing, and copy juuuust that?!

          </rant>

          For the record, according to this comment on the blog post, this is a writeup by an implementor and not a designer. In which case, I don’t understand why it ventures to make any sort of claims about why this is a good move. Whether you’re an implementor or designer, you must understand that nothing should change that isn’t going to help somebody. And that somebody should not just be yourself.

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            Ah yes, button outlines. The most frustrating feature of my keyboard and car is that the buttons have outlines.

            In fairness, there’s far less utility to tactile outlines in software that we use with a keyboard and mouse. The touch buttons in my old car were far more annoying than any flat design software.

            That said, flat design still irks me. Outlines and other “noisy” visual cues the author disparages help a lot when using programs I’m less familiar with.

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              there’s far less utility to tactile outlines in software that we use with a keyboard and mouse

              I feel this claim needs backing up. In all fairness, how is there not a massive amount of utility in knowing what the clickable area of a button is?

              And I don’t buy the “it’s too much visual noise” argument. That basically boils down to saying there’s more contrast than you need. If there’s too much contrast, the solution is to lower the contrast. You don’t crank it all the way to 0% so that even if you squint, you can’t tell what’s button and what’s background.

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                I feel this claim needs backing up.

                In desktop software the entire touch interaction doesn’t exist. In my car, when driving, I need to physically feel where buttons are because I can’t always be looking. When using a computer with a keyboard and mouse, but not looking at the screen, it does not matter if the buttons appear tactile or not. I still have no ability to find the buttons on screen by touch rather than sight, because I’m using a keyboard and mouse, and no physical buttons actually exist to touch. Their on screen appearance does not lend them physical form in the physical world.

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            As someone who has generally really liked the visual direction Gnome has taken in recent years, I absolutely hate this and can’t see any sense in it. This to me was one of the things Gnome got really right compared to others, and now they’re throwing it all away? This is the first time I’ve really felt like I can empathise with the people who feel that the Gnome team isn’t listening to their actual users. I tended to justify that to myself as ‘hard decisions are always going to alienate some people’, but now I feel alienated too and I suspect I’m in the majority…

            I hope they have the grace and humility to abandon this, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s hard to abandon something you’ve put work into and easier to double down, and it seems they have historically chosen the latter.

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              I do agree that the backgrounded buttons of current Adwaita can feel too heavy. But I’ll miss them nonetheless. They remind me of the Mac OS X Leopard - Lion era so much. The nostalgic value is real :)

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                What’s the trend with UI’s designed for touch? It would make sense if the OS was designed for iPad. How many use Gnome on a touch device? Adding more whitespace doesn’t simplify a UI.

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                  Maybe to take advantage of laptop hardware with touchscreens?

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                    Maybe, but I really doubt more than a small percentage of Gnome users have a touchscreen.

                    If this “improvement” really is intended to help touchscreen users, maybe we should just take a quick hardware survey to see how common touchscreens on Linux machines are?