Good user experience is not:
- ...changing webpages people use every day, all day or at least several times a day without any advance warning.
- ...refusing to let people opt-out of major navigation changes, such as changes to and/or outright elimination of sidebars, breadcrumb and dropdown menus.
- ...changing the way a website works so often (every six months to a year, let's say) that as soon as you learn the "new way" the rug's pulled out from under you, resulting in renewed pain, anger, confusion, and disgust with the experience-provider in question.
These thoughts, basic and simple as they are, seem beyond the grasp of most design decision-makers, especially the ones at Google. Case in point (and there are so many cases in point since Marissa Mayer left, it would take me all day to list them): Google's changing its homepage, again. They're scrapping the black navbar altogether. While they've put out a casual ETA on their blog which has trickled down to the few news sites that give a damn, Google's doing nothing to inform users individually, which would be almost too easy to do, considering most people who use Google for anything - even just search - can safely be assumed to have at least one Gmail, Google Plus, and/or Android/Chrome account tied to their use of Google.
When you consider Google offers hundreds of services including the most heavily used search page on the planet, custom websites for individual users, two social networks (Orkut and Google Plus), the biggest email service out there, their own chat servers, operating systems for most non-iOS-based phones and tablets, and many other important and rather popular functions and services besides - and when you also consider that some people couldn't even function without Google powering their phones, OSs, social lives, and other needs on a day to day basis - doesn't it seem only fair for a company with such broad reach into the hearts, minds and wallets of so many people to let them know with a simple email or even a text that major changes are coming to the sites they spend time on each day? That at least some of those users will prefer to navigate in a certain way regardless of what Google thinks is best for them?
I mean, yes, This Article Brought To You By The Fact That D-Day for my script, whose entire purpose was to give you the original navbar back, which you might like better than Google's black one, is now upon us (the change becomes official in the US by this weekend, according to the scuttlebutt I've seen). By this weekend my script will no longer serve its intended purpose for anyone. Of course, I could be a smarter coder and have "how to restore the navbar in Google" all figured out by now but for one thing, I'm not that smart, and for another, this isn't about me and this isn't about my script (though it was borne of the very thing I'm opining: Google's blatant disregard for user's navigation preferences).
This is about Google's piss-poor regard for its users. Any of them. All of them.
This is about what doesn't make for good user experience, and how Google could not care less as a company, as a set of design decision makers, and as a group of people whether you - another person much like them - have a good user experience or not.
If Google's going-out-of-business warrant is already signed, it's been done by their own hand, in the metaphorical blood of people they've wounded over the years with unexpected and unwelcome design changes that never give anyone a way to opt out that doesn't involve downloading and installing someone else's correction of what so many people view as their serious design and usability mistakes.