Am I the only one to hate these designs?

Both the Guardian and Bloomberg have moved over to new designs. Seemingly based on Windows 8 for God’s sake. Why?

Haven’t they heard that everyone hated that design?

25 thoughts on “Am I the only one to hate these designs?”

  1. Totally ruined what was previously by far the best (twittish columnists notwithstanding) newspaper website.

    Dreadful Window 8 style layout. Impossible to find anything. What is the difference between the categories: “opinion”, “view”, “talking points” & “columnists” ? No “politics” section mentioned on front page but sport has both a “sport” and a separate “football” section. Adverts and promotions for Guardian “master classes” everywhere.

    Beggars belief why they have done this.

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    Shinsei1967 – “No “politics” section mentioned on front page but sport has both a “sport” and a separate “football” section.”

    Clearly they are covering the Italian football league. Sport requires an element of chance and fair play.

    “Adverts and promotions for Guardian “master classes” everywhere.”

    As bankruptcy looms. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of Stalinist ar$eholes – or fast enough.

    “Beggars belief why they have done this.”

    Putting two and two together, they couldn’t afford a professional design and so got the work experience children to do it for them?

  3. Not seen the grauniad site (and not going to look either), but if it now looks like these it’ll be because “responsive” and “mobile first” are the new buzzwords.

  4. Surely a decent website should detect the browser it’s being served up on and select the appropriate layout? Or is this the same developer’s mindset that assumes we’re all using hardware and an OS that are never more than six months old?

    I have a ten year old PC running XP. So far it works, but in the next few months I know I’ll have to up(down?)grade to Windows something-or-other.

  5. I doubt the Guardian would base their designs on Windows 8. The photos of their swanky new offices showed rows of Macs.

    Ian B and Block in Wales get it spot on. This is about the rise of tablet reading and how design is being changed for tablets, which are growing as consumption devices.. If you’ve got 2 things to click, whether buttons or articles, you’ve got to allow a lot more spacing and make them bigger because of the accuracy of touch on a tablet.

    They could deliver separate stylesheets for tablet and desktop, but in the current fashion for responsive design, not going to happen.

  6. Bloke in Wales,

    Mobile first isn’t a bad idea, especially as sites are a bitch to debug on a tablet compared to a PC, But you should then consider PC changes. Unfortunately, the fashion is for looking after tablet users and to some extent, not considering desktop, even though they still make up the majority on many sites.

    Personally, I think of tablets as only useful as a PC you can throw in a small bag. I never use my tablet at home. I’ve got a laptop and it’s just so much better.

  7. As sites get more sophisticated, it becomes very expensive to do distinct developments for different platforms. So you focus on the dominant one, which is mobile. It’s what everyone is doing.

    Also, backwards compatibility is a backache, especially older versions of IE (pre 8, I think, is the problem region). If people want to use kit that can’t run a modern browser then that’s fine… just don’t expect a modern Internet.

    The main problem I see with many sites today is that ‘flat design’, which is the fashion, gets harder to pull off the more complicated your site. And if your designers don’t have total control (eg by accepting user content or 3rd party advertising) then sites can become very awful very quickly. Any fans of football league clubs, who visit their official sites, will know what I mean.

  8. I’ve heard the argument that the new design is intended to be user-friendly for tablets however I find when scrolling around on my iPad I am always accidently opening the many many hyperlinks or connections to Twitter or Facebook dotted all over the screen.

  9. Disagree with their politics, but the Guardian was by far my favourite newspaper website in terms of structure and content. The change is f*cking awful. Hard to get your hear around what’s happening. Have hardly been on the site since.

  10. bloke (not) in spain

    “If people want to use kit that can’t run a modern browser then that’s fine… just don’t expect a modern Internet.”

    I’m reminded of those words of Adam Smith:
    “…the sole purpose of production is consumption.”

  11. b(n)is,

    and that’s why we don’t support old browser kit. It’s not about “ooh shiny”, we ditch old browsers when hardly anyone is using them. It doesn’t add up to support IE6 when that’s less than 1% of all browsing and can cost considerably to make compatible.

  12. @Johnnydub, thanks for the advice. I was always one of those who waited for (at least) the first pack of debugs & patches to come out first, so it sounds about the right time to go with Win7.

  13. Vir,

    You’ll probably want to install Classic Shell to get a decent Start Menu back, and Taskbar Tweaker to get rid of insane annoyances like it throwing up window thumbnails any time you go near the taskbar.

  14. Ian B – a matter of taste, I guess. I find Win7 to be solid, and the start menu is close enough to what I want (XP, thanks) that I haven’t had to mess with it. I actually like the thumbnails, since I often have multiple programs and windows open, and there’s not enough room to keep them all visible on a laptop screen.
    My son recently upgraded from Win7 to Win8.1, and he reports that it is slightly faster than Win7 and the resource demand is lower (he has a pretty up-to-date machine, so that wasn’t a constraint). He says it took him about a day of tweeking until it looked just like his prior Win7 install, which in turn looked pretty similar to his XP box.

  15. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The CSS media detection facilities make it easy to hand back different stylesheets based on display properties that the requesting agent pledges it has (given a sufficiently modern browser/OS combination; although non-MSIE platforms have been in the lead for some time in most features, they were literally a couple of years ahead of Explorer here, which is an eternity). IE8 is really the cutoff for a lot of new features but enough people are still using IE7 to make withdrawing support for it a difficult business decision. IE6 users can go fuck themselves. Ideally, if anyone had to use IE for anything other than installing Chrome, Firefox or Opera, they’d be using IE10+.

    The problem is there are two competing desiderata. On the one hand, you want your site to have the same functionality across platforms. On the other hand, you want it to look as though it has been tailor-made for any given platform. Certain design motifs that work for phones or tablets don’t work on desktops and vice versa. Abstracting away the functionality from the way it is presented to the user is of course the way it is supposed to be done, but it’s not always that clear-cut. It can get seriously expensive, and adding new functionality can be a nightmare. The problem is, this is hard. No-one has a magic bullet.

  16. This sums it up, as seen on another forum.
    Everything’s starting to look like the Fisher-Price version of the internet now.

  17. Surely a decent website should detect the browser it’s being served up on and select the appropriate layout?

    CSS @media queries allow the alteration of layout depending on screen size; you can “browser sniff” but this is frowned upon (for a number of good, practical reasons (not least that it’s difficult to sniff for browsers that don’t exist yet)).

    Also, backwards compatibility is a backache, especially older versions of IE (pre 8, I think, is the problem region).

    Pre-IE9, in fact. IE9 is the first version of that browser to understand @media queries (and code-generated rounded corners, shadows, etc.); the Javascript engine is also different (and better) in IE9.


  18. > Surely a decent website should detect the browser it’s being served up on and select the appropriate layout?

    This has been part of the definition of what a decent website absolutely should not do since I started fifteen years ago. But it was impractical to actually follow that ideal until recently. Now HTML 5 allows sites to be built in such a way that a single design will reshape itself based on screen dimensions.

    Personally, I like flat design. I don’t like my PC to be covered in little pictures of pieces of paper and cardboard folders so I can fantasise that I’m using a filing cabinet, and I don’t need “3D” “buttons” on my websites so I can “press” them. Now if someone could just stop the mouse arrow turning into a picture of a finger, I’d be happy.

    Windows 8 I found was one of those things whose detractors were very very loud for a very long time and whose fans just didn’t make much noise. Its sales were bad partly because 7 was so good, and computers are now so good, that nobody needed to upgrade, and partly because a load of IT professionals kept insisting that it was not only them that disliked it but also that real ordinary novice users will never be able to figure it out. I find that, on the contrary, IT pros whinge about it while real ordinary novice users respond to it with comments such as “Yeah, it’s fine” and “OK” and “Why do you keep asking me about my computer?” Half of them will use 8 without being able to tell you how it’s different to 7. Ordinary users don’t really give a damn about OSes.

    Personally, I always hated the damn Start Menu and was glad to see it go. I love 8.

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