A different github design

Earlier today HN reviewed a proposed github redesign and largely didn’t favor it.

As a senior-devops engineer, I have zero expertise and no real design credentials. Yet I think I can still do better.

See the proposed before-and-after pictures above.
Far be it from me to tell everyone else how to do their job, but here are some principles that seem intuitive to me, and maybe designers might consider them too.

  1. The visibility of an item should be proportional to its usefulness. This includes size, placement, brightness/colorfulness.
  2. There is always a flexible solution which caters to both experts and novices simultaneously.
  3. Hierarchy of UI should reflect conceptual hierarchy.

If these rules don’t click for you, then you probably have a long way to go in your UX journey. But just to spell out some of the more egregious mistakes:

  • Create new file has no business being on the same line as “Clone repo.” It is a branch-specific operation next to a repo-specific operation.
  • The current-branch dropdown/button should connected-to the file-list widget. The file-list widget is showing files of that branch. The two are logically interdependent but visually separated.
  • Wiki and Insights are features I have never used on github and may never use. They should be hidden by default. They can intelligently show for repos that have ever once used those features.


Good luck on your design journeys.

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