Apple feels a little bit lost with regards to its implementation of Safari 15. The new look of the native Apple web browser was announced to much fanfare but a less than exuberant reaction from users. I’ve read a lot of opinions on the new layout and features and certainly more negative than positive.
I find it surprising that Apple seeks feedback on the new design. It’s a good thing but also surprising has they tend to do their thing alone. Now, they look a bit in distress while searching for a solution. numericcitizen.micro.blog
I can remember years ago when Apple put the browser tabs on the top in a beta release. The tabs looked like part of the toolbar chrome and they were evenly sized, differing in length by the number of them you had open. If you had 2 tabs open, they would each take 50% of the browser window. I thought it was genius but I was in the minority. Apple changed the implementation and put the tabs back below the address bar, where they had always been. Apple can be opinionated, but they also listen to their users.
Matt Birchtree compares the way Safari handles the color of web pages being integrated into the browser chrome to the way Vivaldi handles it. He finds the UI on Vivaldi to be much more compelling and usable when adopting the same concept.
I think Safari is in a better place today than it was a couple months ago, but it’s still not living up to the usablity standards Apple holds its products to in my opinion. I do give Safari the edge in having larger tabs that show more of the website title in most cases, but this theming feature is not quite right yet. Hopefully Apple can make it great by when this ships in the fall.
It sounds like like Apple still has some work to do in order to satisfy their user base. I hope they come up with something that retains the originality of the initial design vision but also makes gains in usability. Some people want browser chrome and some prefer it to be fade into the background, putting the website first and foremost. It may be hard to satisfy both camps.