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Did anyone really think that the new UI was an improvement?

It seems like no one can defy the change towards "flat-design" in modern software. Don't get me wrong, I like it for the most part.

But who actually designed the new SourceTree UI, stepped back, took a deep breath and thought "Yeah that looks good"?

The UI had lots of changes in the past and most of them made it worse in terms of usability and readability, which is a pitty. The lack of contrast and outlines makes it a total mess for me.

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bgannin Atlassian Team Apr 23, 2018

Hi everyone,

I'd like to start by acknowledging that we should have done better in communicating our intentions and how we are resolving concerns around this very passionate topic.

As noted previously in thread, the substantial UX redesign was first introduced nearly two years ago for both platforms with additional changes as necessary. One of the goals was and is the fidelity of Sourcetree between platforms as well as with the rest of the Atlassian family. And in an effort to tackle the very common complaint of interface bloat, we also removed several buttons from the toolbar and other areas that were either redundant or infrequently used.

Since this admittedly rocky start we've listened to your feedback and made some changes:

  • restored the Flow toolbar button
  • tweaked the colors and drawing of graph lines
  • delivered a revised set of toolbar icons infused with a bit more color and clarity
  • delivered a revised set of file status icons with clear iconography
  • added ahead/behind indicators to tabs (Windows)
  • improved the responsiveness and appearance of tabs (Windows)
  • refreshed the Atlassian and Sourcetree branding

One of the most contentious aspects was the removal of the treeview (sidebar) from Sourcetree for Windows. Jens, our Head of Product, recently posted an official response in SRCTREEWIN-7176 to help move us all forward.

Thank you for your patience and feedback around the pain points you’ve experienced with the UX changes. We do strive to improve the experience overall for the wide variety of users in our community but don't want to strip away everything you've come to know and love. We have work to do internally to better communicate and listen and I hope you can help us by staying positive and encouraging! 

Brian Ganninger
Product Manager, Sourcetree

I literally reverted back within 10 minutes because the new version is an unusable mess from a design perspective.  

The new design suffers from a serious lack of understanding for the purpose of the tool or its functionality. It is as if a bunch of designers, who have little to no understanding as to the use of the tool and its design choices, were placed in a room and told to peck away at the UI design until all the elements conformed to an arbitrary flat "design vision"; and that these changes occurred in a vaccuum without an understanding of how those changes impact programmers or build engineers who actually use the tool on a regular basis.

This is just a suggestion, but if you want to make design changes to a programming productivity tool, you should actually consult programmers who use the tools regularly for their input. 

Atlassian & @Mike Corsaro, responding to the only positive responses, when the bulk of the responses is negative, is lip service.  You guys need to seriously rethink how you're handling the PR of this. If people are upset, ignoring the pleas for sensibility is a sure fire way to upset your users more. You guys are a lot better than this with all of your other products, so this is really disappointing to see coming from a company with otherwise great tools. 

Totally agree. The first versions of Sourcetree showed deep understanding of git and its use. the last few versions showed a total lack of understanding. Just a few designers moving buttons around and changing colors. I am sure the new bugs will eventually get worked out but the damage that has been done to a formerly very productive tool will be hard to get undone.

Like # people like this

I reverted back in about 2 mins... as it no longer saw any of my repositories... when I tried to open one from the bookmarks.. it said it was not found and asked if I wanted to remove from bookmarks.  When I looked on the filesystem it was still there... I reverted back to 1.7 and hey presto everything worked again..... 

It was a great product... I really hope they just roll it back to 1.7 and then start beta testing new releases.

Like Ryan McLaughlin likes this

I don't think they will. ST is now a free product, what means that YOU are the real product.

So now they need to expand the user base at any costs in order get whatever revenue they wants from it.  Dumbing down the U.I. is a way to do so, as there're far more inexperienced/ignorant/whatever people in the world than experts that need a specialized tool.

What's nuts, because such audience would not pay for the Atlassian services anyway.

I don't like the smell of this. 

Like # people like this

I doubt they will expand their user base by dumbing down Sourcetree and making it buggy smile

Tell that to their manager. smile

This is the worst ui update i have seen up to now for sourcetree.

All flat, nothing sticks out, grey, tern.

It might be "nice" to look out, but as far as using the app, it's very very bad.

Sorry for complaint, but i am going to back to previous version.
Keep it simple folks.


Like Ryan McLaughlin likes this

I've been sticking with 1.7 because it has the tree view.

Also there was some other feature I used that they took out but I forget what it is now. Doesn't matter though. I'll stay on 1.7.

@Jay Reardon: Agreed. New version is totally unstable (on Windows)

Also agree, it is no help if you move the repositoy list from the left to the top. This is what you finally did with 2.0. On the top is just not enough place to work with more than let's say 3 repos.


And if they did not change it, i will change to another client.


Wish they'd fork 1.7 and start again, because they've completed forked the later versions.

They even removed the pull requests counter, which was very helpful for me to know how many features do I have.

@Chris FI was thinking the exact same thing, only without the clever pun. I have a few features I liked that have been removed but I really can't find what they've added since 1.7 that is responsible for the performance issues. It seems like it's just UI changes that no one likes anyway. Also, good luck against the Swans!

I just allowed SourceTree to upgrade itself from 1.7 to, the latest version available at the moment.

My first thought was that the UI looked uglier in general, but I can live with that. Now I'm starting to run into lots of usability regressions as well, though:

  • Diffs now appear as small centered rectangles inside the diff view, which means there's a large gap between the text and the line numbers. Left-aligning the rectangles would fix this; a better fix would be to make them take up the whole width of the diff viewer, like they used to.
  • You can't drag and drop files to stage/unstage their changes anymore.
  • Multiple selections get lost if you left-click on an item that's part of the selection.

I've filed bugs for these & hopefully they'll be fixed soon.

SourceTree's UI up to 1.7 was good enough that it was worth putting up with the app's overall slowness. This new focus on performance seems to be coming at the expense of the one thing that made SourceTree stand out - and frankly, the performance doesn't really seem to have improved that much anyway.

1.5.2 has both performance and readability :)

+1 The new UI is terrible. Please revert.

Sorry but the new status icon colours are a horribly garish and unattractive combo. Yellow icons on a white background cause them to visually bleed. And saturated yellow, purple and green are a very unattractive combo. The menu icons are uniform and dull pencil lines that are not at all useful in picking out a function quickly. I remember when Firefox for Mac went through a phase like that over ten years ago. Fortunately they got over it quickly.

The items in the repository pane are almost mashed together. Little thought was given to spacing.



@Mike Corsaro Thanks for you response here, unfortunately it is the only "official" one to this point. Yet there is a new version and at first glance I feel like our voices have been heard.

The latest blog post gives a humble response to our criticism for the 1.8.0 and 1.8.1 release - I for one appreciate that and hope that you keep your word in furture releases.

I'd like to point out that I've seen different improvements. Real improvements. But it is still not as good as the design before.

The main toolbar on top looks all the same. When I get tired, it's early in the morning or I just don't have much time I struggle to find the right icon for what I'd like to do.
Additionally if you look at the repositories details (the panel with "File Status", "Branches", "Tags", "Remotes", ...), its the same problem. Plus, the active element (for example the active branch or in the revision list the checked out element) has the tiny circle. As it is the only color thing in there it is dominating in the reception and looks like a major tree entry. In the revision list its not enough to find it when you are fixing bugs and jump all around revisions "binarily", especially when there are a bunch of branches and tags around.

I don't know if its just me, but I'm not having an easy time with the new design and I hope there's room for improvement.

I completely agree... Working with a monochrome interface is like having a conversation with someone that has a very thick accent and not a very good grasp on your native language.  You can work with them, but it takes way more effort to extract the information you need, and increases the opportunity for error...


I had to go back to 1.7 straight after updating.  Not only did I have the generic monochrome skin, that makes you work harder as you have to check you clicking the right thing every time.

But also, SourceTree told me, after the update, it could no longer see any of my repositories!!  I couldn't open any of them.

Very poor effort guys...... really disappointing.....

Very sad to see a lack of care from Atlasssian on this once go to product. I to am looking for a usable replacement.


I understand wanting to make themselves more new with the UI but how hard is it to keep existing functionality OR leaving a original UI mode that with their usage stats would should most will would use.

The replacement product is SourceTree v1.7. It's really good actually :-)

If more software companies asked their loyal user base, how best to improve their products, success would follow, quickly & efficiently. Many of the suggestions in this feed, would have gone a long way to improving SourceTree. It is a great shame that Atlassian have used a negative feedback loop to achieve this objective. How about asking the question before releasing the update, rather than ignoring comments, once the damage has been done. Atlassian have missed a trick.

@Daniel Do Binau I have, though I'm going to try using VS Codes git more.

@Charles Robertson Totally agree, funny though they did say that they did, the obvious question after that was WHO the hell did they ask!

@Daniel Do BinauThey asked some 'YES' men...

I think it is a huge improvement. I waited better design so long and finally it is here.  Atlassian, thank you very much.

Icons are awesome, hunks separation in diff pane is more convenient, flattish is beautiful. 

However, there are some potential improvements:

  • Add more contrast (maybe by more brighter background)
  • I would limit colors for branches in history with shading of blue + violet (Red-Violet-Blue-Chromatic)
  • Remove gradient for History pane headers
  • Simplify UI: remove text under icons in the toolbar, eliminate some duplicated controls, etc.
  • Highlight with distinct color (blue of course) key controls: tabs at bottom, tabs at top, etc.


Mike Corsaro Atlassian Team Feb 25, 2016

Thank you for your kind words Stanislav. Removing the gradients is on the roadmap in the next non-minor release as well as increasing overall app contrast.

Are you seriously kidding or working for Atlassian?

Do you like the new diff window showing everything centered with gigantic grey padding? It was close to perfect in 1.7. I've never experienced a UI getting this much worse!

image2016-2-25 20:38:57.png

Mike Corsaro Atlassian Team Feb 25, 2016

@Magnus Bondesson Sorry about that – that issue was my fault and caused by a library that was updated, but not included in the last release. This is a known bug and it will be resolved in a release in a few days.

You can track it here:

Bugs are annoying, but fixable.

But defects-by-design, that's much harder to cope.

Everytime I saw someone saying "beautiful", "sexier", or some other kind of crap about a productivity tool, I promptly think exactly what @Magnus Bondesson though. Or near it, as most of the time it would be just unpublishable. smile

Seriously - we are not artists, prostitutes or photographic models. We are developers. We need well made, productivity enhancers, work-flow optimizers tools.

If you want more beautiful, more sexier, more whatever products, you are on the wrong business. Or in need to see a specific kind of movies. smile

Lisias, It is possible to make a productivity tool beautiful. As a UI designer you just need to make sure design doesn't tarnish function. Something that wasn't done well here.

I agree. It's possible. But it's not a priority. Not even close.

If you can't enhance correctly the UI and at the same time keep and enhance the functionalities, the tool has no use to me - I would be using Git-X or even "git gui" for now, If Atlassian didn't rolled back the tool. Ugly as hell, but they works the way I need.  

I need my tools to do the work, not to looks pretty on the screensaver while I'm at lunch. smile 

I just think they didn't do their proper due diligence before hand. This mistake is probably why they appear to be opening a beta program soon. If that were the case before this release I doubt most of the issues would have ever (officially) seen the light of day.

Exactly - I care about functional and quick to use not about "beauty". If it looks good that's a bonus, but is probably 4th or 5th on my list of priorities for a programming tool.

Clashing colours work, because it differentiates functions from each other - you can find things quickly. Changing everything to look the same may look nice, but has no use in a productivity/development tool.


UI don't follows the same path of functionalities. It's too expensive to implement a new UI to discover only in beta that it's not viable.

In an ideal world, UI changes are first documented and discussed with representants of the intended audience. Mocks are made, simulations using Photoshop are made. This kind of prototyping would had prevented more than half of the complaints above. 

Then the thing is implemented and goes to Alpha to some selected stakeholders that are interested on the success of the tool (and know the thing enough to criticize it). That would have catched about half of the remaining complaints, as the most obvious programming mistakes would be detected.

And just then you go to a public beta.


And missing a library package update should have been easily picked up in testing prior to public release.

New design is SUCKS, you removed all stuff that i use, the GENERAL functional is FLOW, where is it not, how to open/merge/close branches with one button ?


sorry for caps.

You can find a link to the old version on the reddit subforum /r/sourcetree


The new version is suuuuper bad



I am a super fan of Atlassian.  We use JIRA with lots of plug-ins and Stash as well as Sourcetree.  This new UI is terrible.  Please rollback.

We have a team pushing for Gitlab and Gitlab-CI.  This is more ammunition to their cause.


If I could open the software first, maybe i can appreciate such UI.

Looks like I'm having problem with DEP on Windows10.


Wow the new UI is so bad, time to revert...

I had to revert back to old version also. UX is horrible. Earlier posters have already pointed out the obvious flaws so i won't reiterate. At least add a color/non-color switch so people can chose themselves.

@Stanislav Pitsul are you kidding?

The new design and icons are HORRIBLE, because they'r indistinguishable from each other.

Also app became super-buggy and Atlassian STILL haven't fixed super-annoying bugs like this:


I am switching to GitX-dev ( It's very similar to SourceTree and the GUI design is well thought.

+1 to this. Just did a new OS install and downloaded the most recent version of SourceTree. It's barely readable compared to before. And why the heck is there no number icon telling you how many pulls or pushes you have queued??

GitX-dev looks stabler, true.

And in case of Windows I am moving to GitExtensions

The GUI is a bit ugly, but it is open source and very configurable (also allows custom actions like SourceTree and it is richer in features, it even has bisect, but I haven' tried it yet)

So it is more like a set of tools (also includes adding file log to windows context menu like git tortoise does, which I find very handy).

Also it is more stable than Sourcetree at the moment. 

Even though the GUI is ugly in that app, it's still functionally better than the new ST flat design.

Don't like the new UI. Please roll back.

please provide us an option to switch the UI back and forth without losing the current version of Sourcetree.

the new UI looks better at first but it's so buggy and in terms of usability it's worse. I'll give you examples:

  • removing the checkboxes for the staging/working files and relying on double click: if you click the node to expand it and you find out that you clicked away from the arrow and try again, you switch between staging and working.
  • there seem to be some mass checkboxes even though there are non next to the items (discard window).
  • the discard ui still has the old issues in addition to new ones (clicking stage all now closes the popup! rendering it broken and only works with "reset all".
  • the directory files indentation pushes file names too far for many sub directories

I'm still discovering more every time I use it

so please don't force the new UI even if it's going to be finished soon.

Atlassian is persistent! no one is listening and they're still making more updates (more like downdates) .. now the upper bar's icons are broken, they've just shifted the icons down so that they don't have a text label! what a genius workaround. it just sounds like a newbie learning layout building and applying it to the main product.

I'm really disappointed. thanks god I could get the installer for V1.7 and rolled back before I lost my mind. 

As it appears, professional developers are not the intended audience anymore.

The new user interface looks like a wireframe and not a final product.

The icons are terrible.

The tabs are extremely bad looking.

I really would like the option to have the old theme. Maybe you could let the user choose the old theme or this new flat theme. 

+1 Daniel - Totally agree! The new UI is pretty fugly. And please, bring back the GitFlow button on the toolbar!

I'm going to try installing an earlier version (windows) or failing that look for a new UI or may even go back to the command line!

Any good alternatives out there?

UI experience is always somewhat "subjective", but it's not only this new UI. It's about all these bugs.

All your shiny new versions introduced regressions! Every x months you come up with a "new UI", meaning to push out a version with bugs!

Think about:

  • If at least one file is staged no diff view of unstaged files is possible anymore
  • SourceTree freezes at lot more
  • The GitFlow button
  • If many repositories are opened, there is a new boring scrollbar. Why are there so many spaces before the name of a repository?
  • and the bugs of version 1.8.0, which prevents people from commiting and pushing files! Did you test it?
  • ...

To not provide an archive with at least the last version to download is NOT user friendly. Your quick response time is no excuse for that!



I agree with that cat!

I was censored for suggesting having the people responsible for the UI update tracked down and shoot..

Even with the latest fixes, if I try to create a patch, I still can't check individual files. It's all or nothing.

I agree, version 2.2.2 on the mac is NOT good. it's going backwards. Suddenly half of the stuff does not work. The flat design is a bad idea.

I am going back to the previous version. What was the thinking. If you improve design (allegedly) don't break the features. That's not helping.

Do NOT remove the customize-ability of a software when the majority of its users are programmers who are accustomed to tweak and customize every single corner of their tools.

Alas, like the other competitors there would never be a switch to activate the old theme.

<rant>Don't be surprised if they remove the menu bar and switch to a ribbon, or a minimalistic design. MSFT, GOOG and AAPL are competing on their designs and the fire has spread everywhere.</rant>

New icons are TERRIBLE and BROKEN, because they're almost invisible and indistinguishable from each other.

Please return coloured icons!

SourceTree became so awful with that release. Please fix annoying bug:

Too bad we have a new generation with daltonism smile

Colors are essential UI parts red = delete, green - ok ? right?

I've lost the checkboxes next to the files in the staging interface. I'm trying to get 2500 tests under control, so I make a scripted change to lots of makefiles then review them in the staging dialog. Formerly, I could click the file to view the diffs, then check the box to add the file. Now I'm having to mouse all over the UI and make sure I hit "stage selected" rather than "stage all" which is right next to it.  Diabolical!  Couple that with the UI losing track of its state when the filesystem notification fires, and suddenly I'm paying more attention to UX issues than my problem domain.

I switched to command line, and I was surprised to learn that I don't regret.
For instance, visualize a nice graph with

git log --graph --oneline --decorate

There are of course other commands and tweaks to reproduce other aspects of SourceTree.

The new UI sucks bad. I can't find anything. atlassian must have had to decide to either lay off their designers or give them BS busy work to do screwing the uI up.  Why do companies fix things that are absolutely not broken. The old interface was so simple and easy to use, the new one sucks

The reason software companies change products that aren't broken is so that they can justify keeping their development team employed. Plain & simple. It is an awful justification, but I really cannot see any other reason.
Adding new functionality & fixing bugs is fine, but completely revamping the UI & removing useful features, is totally unacceptable. Even worse, which seems to be the case with SourceTree, is removing features to allow the new UI to function properly. It is never a good idea to prioritise style over substance.

Downloaded 2.5, after being on 1.7 for a while.  Flat design is a retrograde step in my opinion.  There's no coherent structure, and affordance of the various screen elements is restricted.  The tabs are a a prime example.  I used to be easy to see at a glance which tab is active, not any more, I mean even Windows 3.x got that right. 

I also don't like the wasted space to the left of the diff pane.  Just so a lozenge can be shoehorned in presumably to make screenshots look "sexy" or "funky" or something.  Always blame marketing :)

Have been looking at alternatives. 

That's the thing - if this was a media player or a normal user app the flat new UI would be totally fine.

This is a developer productivity tool. The aim of it is speed and accuracy and to make developers lives easier.

We don't want "sexy" we want "functional", if a UI is ugly as anything, but if it helps me do my job faster or better that's perfect.

Same as the icons down the left, in the old I could tell which were branches, folders, tags or remotes in a quarter of a second without even having to focus my eyes or read it. In the new one they all meld into one and I have no idea what's what.

Windows users can download what I think of as the "latest stable" version of SourceTree (1.7) here:

For the record it still works great and is an extremely useful tool. I have not found the need to search the market for any other solutions.
Be sure to save the Exe file locally, just in case Atlassian decides to remove it in the future. They seem to be very intent on self-destructing.

Thank heavens for this link to version 1.7. I am going to change immediately. The newest version has removed a really useful feature. There used to be file status totals for untracked, modified, removed & renamed files underneath the commit comments box. I used to rely on this so that I could compare changes between local repos using the same code base. 

Apparently someone at Atlassian still thinks this horrible new UI is a good idea - they just removed the option to opt out.

It's pretty sad how they destroyed a tool that was almost perfect. Since 1.7 pretty much everything they did made things worse.

Er, I think you're in the wrong thread - this is about Sourcetree (which has never had the option to "opt out" - you upgrade it to a version which has a poor UI)

Is it possible to revert to the old CSS anymore?

Don't expect an answer from the Atlassian team, anytime soon, Alex. These people don't seem to care less about their loyal user base!

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