There gets a stage in every large company’s lifecycle when there are too many people working on a single project.
This usually manifests itself in strange internal struggles over the heart of a product as different teams compete for their “vision” to succeed.
What often happens is that the user is forgotten and a manager, somewhere, has to make a compromise which sacrifices usability for intra-company harmony.
Let’s take, for example, Google Maps for Android. This is an app I use every day and it’s becoming clear to me that it is a battleground in some internal Google war.
Have a look at this map. What is the difference between these two starred locations?
Why? I mean WTF?
I sort of get that one is a “place” whereas the other is just an “address” – hence the “reviews” section.
But that doesn’t explain why does one of them has a white star to indicate there is a yellow star on the map – and the other one has a more intuitive yellow star.
Even if there is a good reason that this user is missing – I can’t understand why the stars are in totally different locations on the screen.
Why is there a big picture on one and a small picture on the another?
I can’t rely on muscle memory to hit the “directions” button” because it’s displaced by a couple of thumb widths in the two different screens.
And all that is ignoring whether a score of 22 is good! (Is that a percent or is it out of 25?)
Even within a single product, Google’s teams aren’t held to a single UI standard. It’s similar to the Android project as a whole – there is no single design language which every team is complying with.
It’s unprofessional and deeply frustrating to the user.