A step back: "Brand New Cross-Platform UI"

I know changes to an established GUI are always difficult because people are so accustomed to the previous version that almost any change triggers some reluctance.
However I tried to give IDEA 11 a fair chance during the early access programm - but still I think things got worse.

Many interactions now take more clicks and open additional dialogs, dropdowns or menus.
The mantra seems to have been to show as few GUI components as possible.
Besides this cosmetical change of moving components to yet another layer in the "click chain" little was done to substantially improve the interaction design itself.

A few examples:

  • The toolwindow buttons are now hidden in a dropdown.
    That in itself is not too bad, because I almost never used used that buttons anyway.
    BUT the button logic itself is just as ill-designed as before. For example it takes lots of paragraphs plus a screenshot in the help topics to explain how the "Split Mode" button is currently working. That should be simply two radio buttons "Top" and "Bottom" which would be almost self-explanatory - see http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/IDEA-76424
  • Commit dialog: Previously there were three different buttons that immediately announced my options. Now there is a single button with a dropdown. The saved screen space is just wasted/empty. See http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/IDEA-77866
  • Keymap Settings: Options to edit shortcuts are now hidden behind a context menu for no good reason. The "Action Description" that I sometimes found helpful is gone for good (?).
  • Editor Colors Configuration: Can't anymore quickly select colors, have to jump the loop to an additional dialog - see http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/IDEA-78392
  • lots of other changes

All in all these changes put less power at my fingertips and force me to deal more with the IDE and less with my code because the interactions got more complex.

Sorry to say, but It seems to me that the UI was done by a graphics designer that is inspired by web 2.0 apps targeted to my wife and our adolescent sons.
However IDEA is used by professionals day in and day out. Some additional buttons do not confuse these people, but give additional power to get things done quickly.

Sorry if this comes over as ranting, but I care deeply about this tool that is so essential to my work and that I spent so much time with.

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+1 "mee too thingy".
Those dropdown buttons are really annoying.
One feature that I used often was build artifacts popup, which was allowing me to select multiple artifacts and build those. It would also remember which artifacts were selected. Not anymore:
To build 3 artifacts now, I need to invoke this window 3 times (or go to project section and check "make on build" and remove those when not needed)
Few bits of  sarcasm: I am afraid that next step is going to be addition of wizards for anything we do, maybe to accomodate Eclipse exiles and make them feel home...
It's pitty because, other than few annoying UI changes, 11 release is a very nice one.


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