I’m not much for piling it on but I find it hard to disagree with anything from Gruber’s take on the Safari 15 tabs:
[T]he first job of any tab design ought to be to make clear which tab is active. I can’t believe I had to type that sentence. But here we are.
These tabs are indeed a terrible UI in many regards, and I have the same gripes about which tab is active, the favicon doubling as close button, and the general disorientation. I also think that the Apple trend to hide UI elements is a failure of design.
But on top of that I’ve been deploring Apple seemingly making changes for the sake of change. It used to be evolutionary and it kept my device feeling new. But things have changed. Many updates from Apple now feel arbitrary and unproductive. To the point where it now makes me feel like I don’t own my device.
Because at any point Apple may decide to ship an update to something I’ve grown to really like that breaks my relationship with it and I find myself having to rebuild that relationship. The Safari 15 tabs are like that. I didn’t ask for this change, but it’s forced on me. I work in tech, but my mother doesn’t. If I have difficulty with some of these changes, how is my mother supposed to feel like she has any kind of grip on technology?
The aim of design is to make things for people that they find intuitive and pleasurable to use. At a very basic level, it is to solve people problems. That is what is being lost here.