Has anyone else noticed that over the past few major versions the iTunes UI has continually degraded into a nearly unusable state? Discovery of core features is difficult and core tenets of UXD such as the Principal of Least Astonishment have gone out the window. Scrolling behavior is inconsistent, navigation changes radically with each release, its no longer obvious how to list the shows for a season in your library...the list goes on. What is going on with this app?
The UI also unnecessarily differs on Windows vs. iOS.
I think the usability/user-testing dept was on vacation, and the UI dept. decided to sneak one out on us :\
I would argue the most critical part of any applications interface is the navigation and should be handled gracefully during a redesign. iTunes' traditional left-hand nav, which mimics the Finder app sidebar on OSX, was completely hidden after upgrading with no walk-through or hints as to how you should get around. After fumbling for nearly half an hour I was finally able to get around once I discovered the left-nav was an option they simply chose to disable (View > Show Sidebar). </rant>
On one hand, I understand their approach in trying to consolidate the look & feel of their mobile OS and app UI's with their desktop counterparts, but not at the expense of the user experience. They're two different environments and usage behavior patterns differ greatly when consuming content on varying devices. I'm not sure how they let this one slip out the door.
Google recently took over YouTube and totally changed the UI as well. It's horrible. I u sed to go to the main page and find someinteresting things to view because they'd have things like new, most popular, trending, etc. Now it's all about subscribing to channels. I hate it. Use it MUCH less than I used to.
I've given the site lots of feedback about it, but it remains unusable.
I also recently started using the NewsWeek web site. I had a subscription to their print magazine but they've stopped publishing that and made it all online. It, too, is horrible. I think someone just figured, Make it look like the magazine. But they really need to look to sites like the ones for the major TV news networks. I definitely will not continue my subscription once this one expires.
Yes, it is complete crap and it is slow to boot. It has never been any good and the latest refresh is no better or worse.
@Mike - Thank you for the tip regarding re-enabling the sidebar. I understand Apple's interest in making the desktop experience more consistent with iOS, but as you rightly point out, iOS's UI isn't optimized for usability on a 17"+ display. It seems as if they are moving toward a lowest common denominator interface.
Mike: I think the usability/user-testing dept was on vacation, and the UI dept. decided to sneak one out on us :\
That is a very plausible theory. :-)
I think this extends to the App Store as well. It's pretty much agreed upon that the best way to organize a ranking or list of items is, well, in a vertical list. All that horizontal scrolling gobbledegook is big step backwards from previous versions of iOS. It's impossible to view more than a few apps in one category in the Top Charts section and difficult to browse through them. Plus, the store's Featured section is more cluttered than my closet after I "clean" my bedroom.
My (quite plausible) theory is that the UX team is constantly intoxicated and/or a bunch of lemurs.
@Nathan It definitely extends to the App Store. I agree with all your assertions save the lemur comment. Every respectable primatologist agrees that lemurs are the best non-human primates in the user experience design field.