Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Google - Y u waste so much space

Recently Google is pushing the new themes all across the products for a unified look and feel. The new UI is more AJAX-ed and provides streamed flow of the content.

But with this there is a lot of UI real estate being wasted on my 15" wide-screen laptop, for controls which I would be using once in a lifetime during my use of the site (or web-app).

Consider the following screenshot of Google Groups new UI:

Only in the area marked by the red rectangle I have got a little scrollable space for the looking through discussions. A lot of space is is just wasted as:

1. The black navigation bar which could have been mouse hover only. This is present in all Google sites and I hardly use it anytime.

2. The Google logo, search text bar and Google+ buttons. While reading the discussions I wouldn't be using this all time. Why did they just made it fixed on the screen?

3. Group name, topics unread, my membership status and other buttons. Would I really be changing these with with every post I read?

And after passing so many hurdles I actually go the content I want to read.

Similar is the case with other Google products, see below for some screenshots:

Google Books

Google Reader

Google Plus (like anyone cares)

Google Viewer

Google Maps

Obviously with new features UI goes complex but with the UI which distracts from the actual content is just unacceptable. HTML / CSS / Javascript provide a lot of options for UI which can be employed to make the interface a lot cozier.