• Nicholas Windsor Howard, 3 years ago

    Hi, Patrick. As you can read in my opening paragraphs, I don't disagree with you: I am unwilling to claim that Steve Jobs achieved perfect success with every design he presided over. Thank you for linking the Ars Technica review. I had read it before, and I concur with many of Siracusa's points about decreased ease-of-use. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds as if you agree with my overarching theme: that OS X's interface quality has declined with the years.

    2 points
    • Patrick SmithPatrick Smith, 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago )

      Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds as if you agree with my overarching theme: that OS X's interface quality has declined with the years.

      What — no! It is so important if you are going to critique something that:

      1. You yourself take constructive criticism on.
      2. You use those same skills you critiqued with to explore other possibilities.
      3. You don’t seemingly make it your top goal to convince others that your original argument is completely sound and still stands.

      You are making multiple arguments:

      1. OS X / macOS’s UI quality has declined.
      2. This is closely tied to the loss of Steve Jobs.
      3. This is related to the move away from skueomorphism.

      My argument in return is:

      1. Not just the UI but the UX has declined, and although related, I think UX is more important. The user experience is more important than whether something is skueomorphic or flat.
      2. This was occurring during the time of Steve Jobs. Excessive skueomorphism was harming not aiding usability.
      3. There has not just been a move away from skueomophism, but a move to more fragile user experiences with Apple software. I don’t agree that one simply caused the other. However, I do believe there are other links. Maybe I’ll have to write an article.

      So please don’t attempt to boil down my points to ‘sounds as if you agree’. It simply dismisses them. I hope you understand why I am a bit cheesed. Looking forward to reading part II.

      2 points
      • Nicholas Windsor Howard, 3 years ago

        What — no! It is so important if you are going to critique something that:

        One. You yourself take constructive criticism on.

        I eagerly await constructive criticism; I simply failed to understand your initial point.

        Two. You use those same skills you critiqued with to explore other possibilities.

        Again, I am eager to explore other possibilities.

        Three. You don’t seemingly make it your top goal to convince others that your original argument is completely sound and still stands.

        You misrepresent me: that was not by any means my top goal, nor any goal at all. Later in this reply, I will attempt to explain why.

        You are making multiple arguments:

        One. OS X / macOS’s UI quality has declined.

        Yes; that statement correctly represents my argument.

        Two. This is closely tied to the loss of Steve Jobs.

        I intentionally never committed to the argument that Apple under Steve Jobs never had any of the problems I reviewed in my article (because that claim would be false), but I did argue that we could pin many of Apple's early software successes on Steve Jobs. Those are two different arguments, and I only made the second one.

        Three. This is related to the move away from skueomorphism.

        The decline is partly related to the move away from skeuomorphism. But my article never mentions your examples of egregious "decoration," such as Lion's Calendar, Contacts, and Notes apps. I agree that those applications already had sensible interface designs prior to their Lion incarnations (with the exception of Notes, which did not exist on OS X until Mountain Lion), and I see the ways in which the new designs harmed those applications. The designs for Calendar and Contacts, at least, consisted mainly of non-useful visual metaphors. If I never mentioned those examples in my article and I agree with your points about them, how could I be trying to convince you that "my original argument is completely sound and still stands"?

        My argument in return is:

        One. Not just the UI but the UX has declined, and although related, I think UX is more important. The user experience is more important than whether something is skueomorphic or flat.

        "User experience" is not a separate entity from the user interface. One uses the interface and has an experience. So it is impossible for user experience to be "more important." The interface forms the root of the problem.

        Finally, I must stress that "user interface" involves much, much more than a toggle switch between "skeuomorphic and flat" (which, even then, is a false dichotomy; the real grossly simplified debate should be "dimensional vs. flat").

        Two. This was occurring during the time of Steve Jobs. Excessive skueomorphism was harming not aiding usability.

        As I have already illustrated above and in my article, I never argued that Steve Jobs had immaculately clean hands in this matter.

        Three. There has not just been a move away from skueomophism, but a move to more fragile user experiences with Apple software. I don’t agree that one simply caused the other. However, I do believe there are other links. Maybe I’ll have to write an article.

        What do you mean by "fragile user experiences"?

        So please don’t attempt to boil down my points to ‘sounds as if you agree’. It simply dismisses them. I hope you understand why I am a bit cheesed. Looking forward to reading part II.

        I genuinely thought you did agree; I apologize if I wronged you. As I hope I demonstrate with my lengthy replies throughout this thread, I would not like to dismiss anyone's points. I appreciate your eagerness to hear more from me.

        2 points