Design Element
Comment on "Thoughts on Human Interface Guidelines"
by Scott Stevenson — Oct 23
MZiray: I can't wait for Core Animation to come out so developers can make their applications look like bad PowerPoint presentations and add the most annoying transitions and effects to "spice-up" their apps.

I don't think people will pay for such apps.

I don't foresee many new Leopard apps coming out from Apple for a while to use as a model.

Apple already uses Core Animation-like concepts in their apps. CoverFlow in iTunes is one example, Front Row is another. Xcode 3.0 also uses Core Animation, but in a 2D context.

returnself: The thing that bothers me about Apple's drift from the HIG is that they keep adding whiz-bang new controls but they don't share them with the rest of the Mac developer community.

This comes up a lot at the WWDC feedback sessions. I think the app teams (not the system-level framework folks) come up with new controls, so transitioning them to publicly-supported API isn't instant.

In a way, this is good because it forces the controls to work through the real world first. What happens if Mail has to ditch or drastically rework the new controls, but the public versions of the controls still exist? Break compatibility?

It's inconvenient in the sense that new controls only come out every 18 months or so, though. Maybe what Apple needs to focus on is creating a set of base controls that behave in a certain way, and the developer can make them look however they want.

Dan Price: I'm not sure I agree Scott. You've only got to look at the mess that is iTunes 7, Mail and the Finder to know that this 'make it up as we go along' approach is dodgy.

I don't get what the big deal is with iTunes 7. Other than the scrollbars, it looks great to me. I don't like the Mail buttons but I've gotten over it. I really like the Mail sidebar, though, and it seems most people do. That's probably how it has worked its way into iWeb, iTunes, and so on.

The Finder is a topic onto itself, but it's probably the one app of the three that you listed which most closely follows the rules.

Yikes. This is the attitude on Windows. Problem is, everyone has their own idea of what 'looks nice'.

The attitude may be similar, but the environment is completely different. Apple sets the bar very high to begin with. By definition, Mac users won't just take whatever comes down the tube, or they wouldn't be Mac users. I'm not worried about it. The user base rewards good design over and over again.

Bill Coleman: I don't remember a time that the Mac "orbited" Windows. EVER

I meant when it orbited Windows in the minds of the average person. Now with iLife, Final Cut, and so on, the Mac has its own identity.

For a small developer, creating a lot of custom controls can be prohibitive. Leveraging existing work is very important to producing a quality product.

True. To argue the other side of this, though, the standard controls work just fine. It's just that people want their apps to look like Apple's. I suspect part of the reason Apple makes custom controls is to keep things fresh and different.

I think you could make the case that the custom controls are most interesting when not everyone has them. Other developers do the same. It's something to make your app stand out. The folks behind Disco get this.
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