Why do software developers feel compelled to fix what ain't broke?

Sorry to be so negative but I am absolutely appalled by the new baby blue interface.

I would be the first to accept that the old interface was not perhaps the most stylish and looked a little dated but it was a model of clarity and legibility. After just one hour of working with this new faded pastel, sometimes barely legible, horror my eyes feel tired and strained. It’s really fatiguing.

Why? Why? Why? This is truly a case fixing what ain’t broke. A triumph of style over function.

Many software developers offer different versions of their interface - dark, light, modern, classic, etc. Can we please, please, PLEASE, have “Classic” as an interface option selectable in settings. I appreciate this is probably not as simple as it sounds but I cannot believe that I am the only one who finds the new interface a very dubious and questionable ‘improvement’.

I shall have no choice but to roll back to the previous release of Sketchup simply to keep it usable without fatigue. This however means I will no longer be able to profit from future updates and my Sketchup will eventually become obsolete and I faced with having to scrap using a software that I have loved and used for almost thirty years.

How terribly sad …


I speak in general, having no access to how Trimble operates, but I think it is more often marketing departments, “corporate vision” types, senior management and the like than developers who set the priorities.


I second this. It’s definitely a decision from the top. I’ve worked at a few companies over the years that have suddenly decided to rebrand, change their logo or corporate colours when there was nothing wrong with how they were.

Personally, I quite like the new look.

There have been complaints about it on this forum, it doesn’t really bothers me the new icons what annoys me is that the design of the extensions tools icons were made following the design language of the previous native tools, so now we have different design styles between native and extensions tools, I hope that either the developers update the icons of their extensions or sketchup brings back the icons it used to have, I have an OCD with eclecticism.

also, a difference of vision.

just because some long time users feel attached to the old icons, doesn’t mean some other users are.
I liked the old ones, they felt comfy. But over the years I’ve had trainees complain about how old the software looks. they wanted a modern software, not a thing from the 2000s

Who’s right ? who should trimble listen to? I mean, for years I’ve advocated an unified mac and PC interface. They appear to be working on it, hence the QT shift. and they are working on an unified all platform experience. Can we really blame them ? not talking about how the switch was made, it should have been a yearly update, and yeah, the icons are a bit smaller. but after 10 years, and the new ipad/web interface, who can honestly say they were surprised it changed ?

Just a word of warning, in a few years, sketchup will move on from OpenGL. and it will be buggy. and many people will say in chorus “why did they fix what was working perfectly”. but again, is it ? is using a tool made obsolete in 2017 a good idea for the decade to come ?
And in a few years as well, the mac interface will change. it has to. it’s too 2000, not pro-looking enough. and There will be a dark mode. and all those things will need ironing a few kinks. and everytime, someone will ask the same question.

I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions

I’ll end up on a quote from Douglas Adams,

In the beginning the Universe was created.
This had made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

In my experience as a developer, the vision rarely comes from the developers. It is mandated top down by management - perhaps reacting to comments from users or simply from marketing’s notion of whether a dated design is impeding sales. The developers just get stuck with trying to “make it so”.

Of course, there are frequent posts on the forum about issues that end up being blamed on OpenGL, as well as occasional queries about why SketchUp has stuck with it for so long after Windows and Mac moved on to newer graphics libraries that purportedly offer better performance. So, it isn’t clear to me that a change to a new graphics pipeline will get the same reaction as the change to the new icons has. The former is functional, the latter is just a “more modern look”. Of course, that’s assuming the new version isn’t even more buggy than OpenGL…

Edit: If I were driving the bus, the first priority, above all else, would be figuring out why there are so many instances of damaged skp files happening every day. I don’t know of any other software that has that kind of track record, so it has to be something that SketchUp does differently than everyone else and that has a flaw that destroys a file when events line up just wrong.


the SU + cloud based storage combo is quite flaky.
I wonder if it’s also not also based on the amount of users ? I keep reading that there are about 40-41 Million users worldwide (all platforms I suppose, all account created certainly, but still, that’s the pop of canada). I wonder how the “file failure per user” ratio compare to other cad tools. Revit might have fewer crashed files, but fewer users aswell.
we’ll never know, softwares companies guard these infos like smaug on a stone.

oh yeah, developers are footsoldiers. Most of the modern economy is built on their backs except in small team startups, devs are executants. most people we interact with on these forums are. Even the designer who made the new icons are.

Oh, yeah, agree with that. It’s spooking me to see how many posts there are with people having this problem. I had it happen to me once (knock on wood) with a project that had time in the hundreds of hours into it. Lucky for me, I keep saving fall back versions as I go. No cloud storage issues, or other users or any of those things. Yes, I suppose, with all the issues we users consider BIG problems for us, we do wonder why redesigning icons gets done, but our wish list doesn’t.

What if all icons were nicely placed into a folder called “Icons”

Then an user, or an AI tool, could reformat them all using a particular style, or change the contrast, or something.


This has run off on all sorts of tangents since my original post.

Let me be very clear. I am not against change. I fully accept that software producers want to keep their products looking up to date - of course!

My problem is entirely one of functionality.

Here’s are two quotes from Sketchup’s release page. The bold face is my own.

"Outside of scale figures and the axes, SketchUp’s icons are likely your closest companions throughout the creative process. Recognizing the Push-Pull, Paint Bucket, or Follow Me tools at a glance and their keyboard shortcuts are one of the keys to unlocking SketchUp’s powerful, efficient modelling.”

YES! A resounding yes to that.

"The updated icons won’t change the size or layout of your toolbar, so you still have ample modeling space and the option to reorder tools based on your favorites. It’s a modern look that maintains the functionality you already know.

NO! Here is my problem. It doesn’t!

The new icons are faded and lacking in contrast and much less visible. I quite simply can longer at a glance identify many of the icons. I have to consciously look and examine. After relatively short periods of work with the new interface I can feel the eyestrain and consequent fatigue setting in to a point where I can longer use Sketchup for any kind of protracted period.

By all means update your style but please not at the expense of functionality. Give those of us whose vision is not twenty twenty the chance the chance to roll back to the far more easily readable ‘classic’ interface. Lot’s of software producers offer interface alternatives. If Sketchup really wants to be modern and keep up with the competition perhaps they could do so too.


Apple went down the same path a few years ago, draining all color out of their icons. After a few years they realized - they all look very much alike this way (REALLY?!?!) and have slowly started to roll back on that - bringing more color and more differentiation to the icons. For me the new icons are no problem because I don’t click on them at all. I use shortcuts. :slight_smile: But that was probably not what the designer had in mind, when they designed them.

As I’ve mentioned here or in another thread – you still see the new tool cursor icon.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned in this forum but I’ll say it again… In the early 2000s or so ( I don’t remember exactly ) the BBC decided that their weather icons needed “modernising”.

The new weather symbols were vague and diffuse – a bit of as washout.

Eventually they reverted back to the classic weather symbols.

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Agreed! The “usual suspects” of blaming corruption on use of a network drive or USB thumb drive etc. don’t hold water to me (as a professional softwsre developer in the storage industry).

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I really like the new blue interface, I guess it’s subjective. :grinning:

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Design is the most subjective thing on the world.


I suppose we’ll all get used to the new look, but it’s a disappointment that the Sketchup team didn’t “reskin” all of the icons (ex. Sandbox Tools, Geolocation).


What if all icons were nicely placed into a folder called “Icons”

Then an user, or an AI tool, could reformat them all using a particular style, or change the contrast, or something.

This, right here. I’ve posted about this in the past. SU boasts about user-made extensions being what makes SU so great, but they won’t even allow us to access icons, or anything else about the interface or other configurations.

It’s only been out a wee while. Give it a chance…

I agree. I’m glad someone else feels this way.

End of the day user interface makes some difference to how one uses the software. Trimble knows this because they took the effort to change the interface.

Many packages allow users to choose different skins or color schemes. Because they understand that individuals don’t all fit a single user interface profile. This seems especially true of the creative fields.

I’m not upgrading. Until the interface thing gets taken seriously.

My ask is for a classic interface option. You can call it classic or just have it listed with one of two other options. i understand the impulse to update but it must be done with a certain pragmatism or it’s just change for the sake of change, and I’m hoping that’s not what’s going on here. Please give us the option to interface with the software in the way we find most efficient.

Thank you

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