What's messing up our UIs?

I use a variety of operating systems but my primary OS is Windows. Everybody seems to be bashing Windows lately and the bashing has only subsided a bit with the introduction of Windows 7. Seems to me that most personal computer operating systems still have a long way to go before they'll be great. The real advances have in fact been made in mobile operating systems. I believe that there are more similarities than differences between Windows and Mac OS X with the latter appearing to be better due to recent hype and because Apple drives greater consistency across its UIs.

I've been trying to put my finger on why my experience with Windows has changed recently. And then it hit me! It's the fact that the Windows UI is being messed up by applications that create a completely inconsistent user experience on Windows. Of the applications I use, iTunes is an example of this, being totally inconsistent with the rest of Windows in look and feel. The Adobe Air applications like Twhirl and TweetDeck similarly are completely inconsistent with Windows. For example, I find the Windows model of being able to resize a window by grabbing any side or corner far superior to the Mac model of having to find the few pixels at the bottom right of a window. Twhirl and TweetDeck introduce the inferior Mac design to Windows and, as a result, mess up the consistency of using apps on Windows. By comparison, Google Chrome has introduced enhanced UI elements when used, for example, in application mode. However, the fundamental interaction style is still maintained and the UI change is in fact an improvement.

I think we all jump to conclusions too quickly, become fan boys and girls, and then exhibit a herd mentality about issues of design. As users, we should all be concerned that applications that don't follow standards and conventions could further mess up the user experience we have with them. As customers, I believe we should expect applications that are consistent with the platform they will be used on.

I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have on this by using the commenting feature of this blog.