15 comments

  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 6 years ago

    I really can't disagree with any of these points. Very solid and constructive criticism. That said, I really don't miss the barber pole loaders.

    3 points
    • , over 6 years ago

      Hello again, Steven; thank you for offering your thoughts a second time.

      That said, I really don't miss the barber pole loaders.

      Stylistically, do you mean?

      0 points
    • John PJohn P, over 6 years ago

      I really don't miss the barber pole loaders

      I do, the replacement is completely illegible on graphite

      0 points
  • Jonathan EngstromJonathan Engstrom, over 6 years ago

    Having read both articles I understand where you are coming from, however I don't entirely agree.

    People know how to deal with a desktop intuitively. If you walk into an office, there are papers on the desk. [...]

    When Steve Jobs made comments like this that was exactly true. Circa 1984 business was (for the most part) conducted on paper, and home computing was a rarity.

    Today though, that's not the case. The whole world (almost) is familiar with computing, so less visual cues are required. Your notes about the reduction in contrast for various UI elements of OS X in recent years are valid, however Apple build all these accessibility options right into the OS, and contrast settings a staple of that offering.

    I think, just like it does with it's physical products, Apple is striving to improve the aesthetic of it UI and is very successfully doing so. Given the option to turn the interface of El Capitan back to the Snow Leopard days I certainly wouldn't make the change.

    1 point
    • John PJohn P, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      Today though, that's not the case. The whole world (almost) is familiar with computing, so less visual cues are required

      Designers keep parroting this as if it's some profound new paradigm but I've yet to see an example where this theory has lad to a better UI.

      Even Apple backtracks further and further away from the original iOS7 design and back to a world of buttons that look like buttons.

      1 point
  • Dan CoatesDan Coates, over 6 years ago

    Just read both part 1 and 2. These are definitely good criticisms, though funnily enough not things that frustrate me day-to-day. I think perhaps because I've been able to transfer learned behaviours from using early OSX versions that did have a more intuitive and usable interface. I imagine these issues would have more of an effect on new users.

    As an aside, I really like your website. In the age of medium posts and social silos that aggregate many people's content it's nice to see you cultivating your little corner of the internet with creative stuff across a few mediums. Also nice to see a links page, not enough websites have those these days.

    1 point
    • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 6 years ago

      This is an interesting point, because what we're really asking is whether someone who has never used an operating system could figure it out. I don't find the usability to be difficult at all, despite the lack of visual feedback or whatever, but it's probably because people are pretty good at using these things now.

      Granted when we create new products that people aren't familiar with, it's probably a good thing to be more obvious. In that respect, I wouldn't design things the way Apple does, simply because they are taking advantage of people's understanding of the OS.

      0 points
      • , over 6 years ago

        I don't find the usability to be difficult at all, despite the lack of visual feedback or whatever, but it's probably because people are pretty good at using these things now.

        I would certainly argue that in some places OS X's/macOS's UI has grown distinctly difficult to use (especially in such examples as the loading indicator), but my point is not ultimately that OS X's interface has become of the utmost possible difficulty to use; my point is that Apple once designed a thoughtful and very easy-to-use interface for OS X and has let it fall into comparatively shabby mediocrity.

        Granted when we create new products that people aren't familiar with, it's probably a good thing to be more obvious.

        It would never hurt anyone to design in an "obvious" way throughout a product's life. Why must we strip away clarity?

        0 points
    • , over 6 years ago

      Hi, Dan. I appreciate your insights.

      These are definitely good criticisms, though funnily enough not things that frustrate me day-to-day.

      They frustrate me mainly in aggregate... (See below.)

      I think perhaps because I've been able to transfer learned behaviours from using early OSX versions that did have a more intuitive and usable interface. I imagine these issues would have more of an effect on new users.

      ... Precisely because early OS X versions had a more intuitive and usable interface. I am disheartened to see it all fall so far from its well-considered origins.

      Thank you very much for your kind words about my website: I designed it 16 months ago after a long-held certainty that if I ever were to have a personal website, it would be a custom creation. I believe every design deserves such care and reject the "choose a template" solution that has ballooned in popularity. I particularly liked your turn of phrase, "... cultivating your little corner of the internet."

      Also nice to see a links page, not enough websites have those these days.

      Why do you think links pages have ebbed in popularity?

      0 points
  • Jackson AlsopJackson Alsop, over 6 years ago

    Wow. I didn't realise how often interface elements were hidden behind the option key.

    That's inexcusably bad design.

    Great article, Nicholas. Some very well thought out criticism.

    1 point
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, over 6 years ago

    Agree with most of this article. There's removing visual affordance and then there's deliberate obfuscation. Many of OSX's recent changes fall into the latter camp, unfortunately.

    0 points
    • , over 6 years ago

      There's removing visual affordance and then there's deliberate obfuscation. Many of OSX's recent changes fall into the latter camp, unfortunately.

      Is it not unfortunate when OS X's changes fall into either of these camps? Why should we remove visual clues?

      0 points
      • Ian GoodeIan Goode, over 6 years ago

        I meant that it's a different level of bad. It's possible to remove visual affordance but maintain a level of affordance through hierarchy or context, but no we shouldn't be removing visual clues :)

        0 points