I have to say, as much as I like the general trend towards simplifying the Ubuntu interface, I'm finding 11.04 horrific regarding usability. I would really like to know if these drastic UI decisions were driven by real feedback from usability testing or by developers doing what they thought would be user-friendly. And were the changes they made then tested on innocent people, or just the typical Ubuntu early-adopter community?
To name a few things that hit me in the first five minutes:
- The menu bar is moved to the top of the screen (that's fine, hello OS X) but...
- The menu bar is actually hidden until you mouse-over it (once you've figured out where it is). Seriously...
- Tooltips removed from icons in the tray^Wnotification area (because it's obvious what an up arrow next to a down arrow means, and that it's really a menu, not an action button)
- Poor discoverability of installed applications (you almost have to know their name to easily find them, unless they're in the categories "media" or "internet")
Do note that I'm not bashing the whole UI, it's overall quite smooth, polished, and looks very nice. However it does simply seem like there are lots of places where years of usability experience have been thrown away on the whim of a design team - with the effect that the interface is in places harder to use, not easier.