Safari decided this morning is the morning to stop communicating with me. That was the reason I launched Google Chrome and decided to make it my default browser. As usually I clicked Chrome › Preferences… in menu bar and was surprised nothing happened. I clicked that path again — nothing! The reason was Google Chrome stopped opening settings window because it opens settings in separate tab right where you browse the sites.

Yet again Google created something unusable with awful UX. They do it every time so precise I even start thinking they have a special department that specializes on bad UX. Apple made their HIG specially for such clumsy developers and listed there all aspects of creating forms, buttons etc. Thanks to that relative unification Mac OS X users experience relief when working with Mac OS X applications. Even Opera that made Opera browser slightly wide of the HIG didn’t ruin preferences UX much.

Settings

That is how Preferences windows Looks in Safari and about every application in Mac OS X

And this is how Preferences look in Google Chrome

Unusual Chrome mess may seem usable to one but that one might never experienced Mac OS X and didn’t get used to its apps interfaces and Preferences windows. This Chrom settings tab looks alien and unusual. Pay attention to the text fields that are way too long and resize with window resize.

Instead of separating setting in different tabs in dependence of their functionality as it is done in other browsers

almost all settings in Chrome are collected under mysterious ‘Under the Hood’ section and look like mixed this and that.

Appearance

Comparing with Safari’s Preferences window and system wide pop-up (sample texts font changes with selection in pop-up)

Chrome’s realization doesn’t look so good. When one clicks button to change a font size he gets a layer that overlays other settings and looks like that (I had to change its height because there were about 500-600 pixels of plain white space at the bottom)

Google is the search monster. Google tries to use search everywhere it is possible and in a couple of places it is impossible. Even the most unusable I ever met History in Chrome is based on search. Noticing Search option in settings tab I thought that it would finally prove me that there is something good in all that preferences change. Naїve me! Let’s skip the part that if your application’s settings need search field then your application is either Microsoft Word, or is too complicated. Instead of using simple and sweet mechanism of highlighting search results in Preferences windows

Google made their awkward unusable move.

While the search is not syntactic but semantic there is still not much use of it when highlights block GUI elements and descriptions especially.

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Google Chrome has autoupdate feature on and no way to turn it off. That is the reason I got this update of functionality and visual part without even prompt or warning. This is the invisible part of UX that matters.