This Is What Happens When You Let Developers Create UI


Actually that is a pretty good interface. It comes close to being modeless and stateless, except for that frightening pro-mode button. (If this mode isn’t pro mode, then pro mode might have too many options.)
Nothing is hidden, nothing requires multiple clicks, nothing requires remembering if “view source code” is on the edit menu or the tools menu.

This is why I’ve got my “inner graphic designer” permanently stashed away in Gitmo. The horrors it would unleash upon the world…

It shouldn’t be TOO too easy to snarf websites. If this complicated GUI turns n00bs away, then rightly so.

Developers FTW! designers should stick to making funny tshirts and barbie doll packaging.

this wget UI is great… yeah i know, its too confusing for people that are looking for pretty flowers that say “PRESS ME”, but damn, i would seriously question why i was using a wget gui that was chrome plated and decorated with gay andy warholish abominations… who but people that don’t care about how much lipstick is on a UI is using wget anyway? go cry more noobs!

I dont know, the wgetui sure is ugly, but the UI was probably made in some hours work, or rather as fast as the controls can be dragged. You got the functionalities you need and yes maybe the user dont find the application easy, but it would probably be more easy then wget from command line. And who knows, if the user learns to use the application, it might be easy? Rounded corners and pretty colors dont make an application more usefull.

Other Applications are just as ugly to look at:
and I am sure the user base is quite different.

I am not saying that I like wgetgui, but at least the UI is honest and directly layed out. The developer has not added any help functionalities , tutorial, tooltips?, etc. so I cant see that the application is aimed on anybody else then expert users.

You cant say developers are bad designers if they design an application for them self and other developers. The problem is more when developers think they know the users or cant understand that people think different.

There are alot of good ui developers and alot of good ui artists, but very few good ui designers…


It’s free software. It doesn’t have a corporate hierarchy enforcing certain tasks to certain people. This is what you get.

I’d add that the converse is true. Don’t let graphic designers and HCI experts do your coding.

But of course as others have pointed out its all shades of grey. Personally I’m a strong coder, average at designing UI in terms of layout and function, but awful at choosing colours and drawing icons and images. Where possible I prefer to leave the appropriate area to the appropriate expert - but of course thats not always possible.

Regarding the wgetgui. I’d consider myself an expert user and I wouldn’t use something that looks like that. It makes my eyes bleed and there are always alternatives.

The perfect application doesn’t require a GUI at all. It just needs to be ESP enabled.

Leave UI to Information Architects. Even Graphic Designers aren’t experts on UI design. Graphic Designers try to make things look “pretty” while Information Architects focus on structuring content and usability so the UI can be meaningful to the end-user.

Ok - so I found this page via (You’re on the front page as a “popular link”). The screenshot you’ve posted reminds me of numerous conversations I’ve had with staunch supporters of edge-case design or “developer logic.”

They look something like this:

Designer/UI person: “We’re designing a widget so individuals can automatically post their links to their blog automatically. It should be easy and intuitive.”

Developer: "OK! Let’s make it look like a stack of form-fields with horrible names and make everyone do some sort of magical time zone conversion so they have to specify the time they want the job processed in GMT. And, let’s call the link to this blog posting service…“add new thingy.”

Designer: “…”

Point taken, however:

  • In the perfect world we alyways have specialists in req. engineering, architecture, testing etc. however my organization does not have the means to hire someone just for the UI-work.
  • Most developers have some sort of intuition and can come to a decent result by means of prototyping.
  • Your example screen dump does not adequately reflect professional software development but rather some high school/hobby project.

Casper: agreed. I design GUIs not because I want to, but because we’re not even close to having an “interaction designer”.

I do the best I can by sketching a design out beforehand, and always keeping the user (not me) in mind, but GUI design is just a necessary evil for me.

There is one thing, much, much worse then having the UI designed by a developer: having the UI designed by a graphic designer.

UI-design is a speciality most graphics people don’t get, but think they do. The UI displayed here is perfectly usable for it’s intended audience, but a clueless graphic designer can render such an application utterly and completely useless.

Hence the poor usability 90% of all commercial websites…

(BTW, the example here is kind of lame, since this is an app geared at techie powerusers, I wouldn’t want any fancy userfriendly UI stand in the way of me and wget parameters, which is why I use the commandline version. Basic rule of UI-design: know your audience. Having user-friendly interfaces for stuff that’s only used by peoply like coders and sysadmins is not userfriendly, it’s just annoying… So is hiding options for people who need them.)

Jesus H. Christ. I don’t even want to know what the “Pro Mode” button does…

What is wrong with Every page is blank, even the home page.

Point taken, but to buck the stereotype: some developers excel at creating UI, and this is their main focus. It’s part of the reason why the label developer has become popular, as people tend not to be just programmers but also specialize in other things such as a business domain, a technical niche, or UI.

There is something of a culture of interesting software development on the OS X platform. Of course great things are being done on all the other platforms too. However, there are a lot of indie developers on OS X shipping well thought out and nicely crafted UIs. Worth a look.

At least, GNU wget got Windows has a GUI. In UNIX, you don’t get to use a GUI (come to think of it, better than having one like the above, I’d rather not have one).

I have to say that a big dialog with loads of controls on it is prolly the best type of design

Even though this one looks ugly (just the old Win98 look), it’s infinitely preferable to a “Dialog”, oh so common, that goes one step at a time. Imagine setting up this Wget as a stepped process:

Do you want ABC? OK CANCEL

Do you want DEF? OK CANCEL


Bad developer! Nineties nightmare.