Snap! Appearance Update

(This also applies to the website.)

I see a few staff members and users on the forums that complain about what Snap! looks like (mainly the flat design). If the appearance of both the community site and the editor is not considered that great, why haven't they updated it?

Because there are half a dozen of us and we don't all think alike.

There's also much more important things to worry about.

Not sure if they have the resources to update the entire UI that quickly.
To be honest though, the editor still looks better than Scratch 3.0 (might just be the dark mode talkin but still)

I think that Snap! looks a bit outdated...

To be fair, it IS based off of a 14 year old build of Scratch...
(I guess when you put it like that it does sound pretty outdated)

I'm not sure why the concept of "outdated" applies to appearance issues. 100 years from now, for example, serif fonts will still be more readable than sans-serif (because you can tell the difference between a capital I and a lower case L, for example) despite how everyone says sans serif is "more modern." If anything, increasing screen resolution makes the readability that much greater, because the serifs can be weighted as the font designer intended.

I think the concept of "outdated" is applied to appearance issues because certain styles represent older internet eras. Many people define "modern" as flat, simple, and sleek. New company websites and web applications exemplify this.

I believe that Snap! looks outdated because it was modeled after Scratch 1.4, which was released in 2009. Websites and applications in 2009 were skeuomorphic and neumorphic, filled with shadows and highlights. The default Snap! editor reminds me of this time, so I relate it to "outdated" designs. Personally, I'd like to see a revamp. In my opinion, the editor should keep basic shadows, remove the highlights, add more text spacing, lessen the stroke size of the font, and remove decorative grid lines. I understand that this is only my opinion, but I think that it would simplify the design and provide better UI/UX.

Oh, I understand what the criteria are; I just don't see why they're important in a non-information context. I mentioned serif vs. non-serif because that affects the readability of actual information, but your example of the striped background in the scripting area doesn't. (It was a pain in the neck in the early days, before we had the script pic feature, so you had to take screenshots and then try to edit out the background, but now it's no problem.)

About shadows, bear in mind that in Snap! they bear information, e.g., distinguishing an upvar from a variable used as a regular input expression.

I confess that my feeling about this is affected by my general feeling that things keep getting worse and worse, which is why each new computer I get runs slower than the old one (because of software bloat). My take on "internet eras" is that the main turning point in its history was the disastrous invention of the World Wide Web, which changed the Internet from mainly a vehicle for personal expression to mainly a vehicle for corporate expression, and that happened in large part because people came to expect professional page design. (To be fair, the Web wasn't originally planned that way; the original idea was that servers serve information, and browsers are responsible for its layout and design, following the desires of the user. But they made the mistake of allowing servers to send formatting instructions, and that quickly made it mandatory for servers to do that, to meet users' new expectations. And today even (ADA-required) respect for minimum font size set by the user is largely ignored by many servers, which try to cram the text into their designer-designed tiny text boxes without scrollbars.)

Opinions expressed are my own, and do not reflect official positions of the University of California, etc etc.

I’m fine with the shadows; I’d like to remove the highlights. Blocks should have a uniform outline that would act as a shadow.

If "highlights" means outdenting a visual element (as opposed to indenting it), that's how we indicate upvars (like the "i" in the FOR block).

Couldn’t the highlight be replaced by the outline I mentioned?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess it could. But, you know, first law of engineering: If it's not broken, don't fix it. :~)

P.S. I love the :shrug: smiley. The popular replacement of smileys (with their space for creative expression) by emojis (professionally designed) is another example of devolution online!

…I thought that flat design wasn’t broken. Is there anything to fix?

Oh, no, it's just a bad idea all around, but nobody else has to agree with me about this. I'm not seriously proposing to remove it.

Also, I’m curious. What don’t you like about flat design? Is it the extremely bright UI?

Yes, brightness is its biggest bug. But I just don't like the flat shape. (This is a rare example in which I think professional design (in the regular design) gave a much better result than the less-designed, modern, "flat" version.)

Is that why you don’t like Scratch 3’s design?

Yeah, basically. Visually bright and emotionally drab.

But, on another note, don’t you think that Snap! blocks should have a bit more padding and a lightweight font? The text looks quite cluttered on the shape of the blocks.