As they perfectly say: there are a lot of talks about invites and so little about Google Wave itself. I’ll help Google and talk about Google Wave. Sorry folks, I don’t have invites to send at looks like had none at all — no easy way to find out and not a word in the Help section. Oh, Google, you are so… so… arrrrgh! Just because it’s invite-only and not everyone can enjoy this, let’s be honest, pathetically cool but practically useless service, I’ll describe you why Google made its best to implement its unique philosophy on awful user experience in one more of its interfaces. Don’t get sad and bored, I’ll highlight just three most outrages GUI fails novelties ;)

Google Wave itself


Yeah! That’s the thing I dislike most. They are glossy little things that scroll sometimes from top to bottom but sometimes in a certain area. First I thought that Google decided to make scrollbars like on DesignCharts but I was wrong. Scrollbar on DesignCharts is pretty usable comparing to GoogleWave scolldisaster. There is only scroll slider actually and no scroll bar. You can’t click slider background to slide on page up or down (the way I like to slide most). You can either click the arrows on the slider either drag it and then some dark thing on the background slides somewhere in the direction you pointed. The whole block scrolls too, but… it’s unobvious while working with it. You’ll get used to it, we even use Microsoft Powerpoint now but why not give user a perfect experience form the very beginning? UX! UX!

If you have a scroll wheel on you mouse, you can use it and it would help a lot, but I have Wacom and Mighty MouseM here and I had to get used to scrollbars.

Summary: it’s more about scroller on fancy flash website then about scroller in application. If you had to make a section in help about scrollbars (they had to) then these scrollbars don’t seem to be intuitive and user friendly.

Working with panels

While everyone moves forward, everyone knows about modal interfaces being wrong, Google makes its own way in implementing something unusable. I think that controls on panels tops are portents of Google OS GUI. And the model for this OS is must be Windows XP. Welcome to the future of interfaces, yep.

So we have minimize to top, maximize and close buttons. What do they do? Minimize to top minimizes to top near Google Wave logo — very unobvious (roll up is more expected) and I am sure users lose their minimized windows for the first times. Close button closes the panel. Maximize button makes that awful ‘fill whole 23” of your display with this content’. Lucky I am — my browser windows are not maximized to fill the whole screen, so maximize is only about a browser window.

Process of closing windows varies a bit: sometimes you have × button to close the window and sometimes clicking outside it is the only choice.

Summary: if it’s prototype of Google OS GUI you’d better find a better role models then copying Windows XP inaccuracies.


Though there are not a few inconveniences in the interface I’ll highlight just one more that shows how Google didn’t really care about UX. The text editing panel when you enter the text. First of all it’s placed not near the text you enter replacing the toolbar of the panel and the second — you can’t say what do some buttons do until you press them, which is bad.

Some of buttons show dropdowns and have arrow next to icon and some of them do the same but with no arrow. How should I find out before clicking?

Summary: compare two bars and you’ll notice the buttons on them look different. Not so consistent, ah? ;)

For the Google fans

Hello there. Thank you for reading. I know Google Wave is preview (being in beta is their style of living for ages) and I know they can do everything better. I don’t like Google itself lot but I adore Gmail (which actually thinks my emails are spam ;) and I waited for Waves as you were. What I do here is helping Google to make better UX. It almost turned out with Opera ;)