Hey, seriously: UX developers I am begging you, please stop following trends without reason. If a bunch of apps are following some new HIG that has real research and backing behind it, go wild. But stop assuming that companies like Google or Apple are actually designing their UXs with logic in mind and using them as a reference point. They're not.
To be REALLY clear here: they're not. They literally aren't. the constant UX redesigns we see from these companies is a result of their corporate…

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… policies rewarding people solely based on what work they introduced to the company. Or in other words, as a UX designer the way to make your employer happy is by repeatedly changing things and following trends without asking any further questions. It's not about productivity, or ease of use, it is literally a direct side-effect of how these companies operate and is not in any way rooted in actual logic.

I mention this because for instance, I've seen both libadwaita and gitlab move towards "flattening" their entire UIs. This is literally hostile to accessibility??? Please step back for a moment and honestly ask yourself, what benefit is there to having there be less differentiation between an interactive widget such as button vs. something that is not interactive. Don't think about how it looks, how is it going to affect users?

This seems like a silly hill to die on, but I'm focusing on this point because it's one of the most obvious examples to me of how people don't even seem to realize how many UX trends are _literally_ the equivalent of fashion trends. If we're open source projects, we should be doing better. We have the ability to make UX design based on actual feedback from the community, and don't have as much of that corporate structuring overhead to deal with. So why do we keep copying trennds 1:1?

Keep in mind - this isn't some huge anti-gnome rant, actually GTK+ is my favorite toolkit! and I also like Gitlab a lot! But these UX changes are seriously, seriously not helpful. I literally feel like I am having to think more just to use software like this because I can't rely on buttons having a consistent shape to set them apart from everything else. There's just less and less visual references as time goes on, and it's infuriating. It's like if every house in your neighborhood was identical

Like, you know how confusing it is to navigate areas when there's literally no visual landmarks you can use? That's the exact same principle here. You're giving people less land marks in application UIs that they can use to figure out what's being presented to them.
It's not like this isn't a thing that's been mentioned in general design either. Look at video games, hell overwatch is a great example! Differentiating background from characters was a huge issue and literally hurt the game's rep

Honestly - even just having a dark square around buttons is good enough. It's not the background, and it stands out as an element you interact with. I don't have to visually parse everything else on the screen to come to that conclusion, because I can just look at the border and go "button".

@Lyude GTK/libadwaita's solution is usually a high contrast theme that basically does what you're asking for, right? :blobcatthink:

@xerz so to get this out of the way - it's very important to mark the distinction between libadwaita and GTK here. GTK still has buttons that look like buttons, more flexibility, etc.
Or in other words, the flat looking one is libadwaita and the not flat looking one is just GTK+. I think you can have button borders in libadwaita, but I don't think(? I haven't tried libadwaita so hopefully I'm not wrong here) it's part of the default style

@xerz mainly what I'm asking for is that buttons have a border, or something that sets them apart from the rest of the application. So, button icon with no border? bad. Button icon with border? good. I do think there's exceptions to this though, particularly in situations where something is placed in such a way that it's clearly on a toolbar, or some other surface that typically has user controls on it so you still default to thinking it's a button.

@Lyude at some point someone said buttons that look like buttons are bad, and it's been only downhill from there

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