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Independent Human Interface Guidelines 245

Posted by kdawson
from the because-somebody-has-to dept.
An anonymous reader alerts us to the IndieHIG Wiki, which is an independent effort to pick up the ball that Apple has dropped on human interface guidelines (can you spell FTFF?). From the wiki: "The IndieHIG project is an initiative created out of the necessity to document the new look and feel aspects of the Mac OS X experience, outside of the supervision of Apple itself. The project is not intended to replace, but rather to supplement the somewhat dated Apple Human Interface Guidelines (HIG). There are many instances of Apple using new and experimental interface styles, spurring developers to emulate these styles in their own applications. Unfortunately, because Apple provides neither guidelines nor code for developers to work with, the implementation of these interface styles and features by third parties can be lopsided and directionless. The IndieHIG intends to change this by providing a comprehensive set of guidelines governing the use and appearance of new, undocumented interface elements so that their implementation by third party developers adheres to the unwritten standards that Apple has set."
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Independent Human Interface Guidelines

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  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:15PM (#19139871) Journal
    As in the auto industry, placement of standard controls in the user interface make everyone comfortable enough with the technology to promote universal usage. How they connect, their feel etc. leaves everyone a bit of leeway to play with the design, but there are those first moments when you immerse yourself into a technology where you neither want nor need to think about how to begin. The initial controls should be familiar to all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Cars all have the same function. Cars take you places.

      Computer programs do not all have the same function. Photoshop does not do remotely the same job that gcc does, and neither are much like Doom. There's no reason for all programs to be force-fit into identical interfaces.
      • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @04:00AM (#19142557)

        Computer programs do not all have the same function.

        Most computer programs have a common set of identical functionality. Some examples are manipulating windows (resizing, closing, etc), manipulating files (open, save, etc), manipulating text (copy, paste, etc), online help, changing settings.

        It is a significant boost to productivity, learnability and ease of use when these common types of functionality are presented in a consistent and predictable fashion.

        Further, there are a number of general UI principles - like Fitt's Law - that can also be used (where applicable), regardless of specific implementation.

    • I find the opposite to be true. Locking, unlocking, and opening doors, buckling and unbuckling seatbelts, adjusting the seats, releasing the brakes, etc, etc vary widely from car to car. Even which side the steering wheel is on varies. Cars are incredibly idiosycratic.
    • ...they're patented?
      • by Ilgaz (86384) *
        Unless you don't charge and use it in evil manners, I doubt Apple will care about patents they own. It is about the will of people using something.

        I know by experience. How many Aqua-like themes on GPL/BSD Window Managers/Browsers out there? They just told not to use "Aqua" word as far as I remember.

        Now try this, ship a spyware which you also charge money which claims to show OS X themed Windows. Count days if not hours you will get a letter from Apple lawyers.
  • by Spunkemeyer (805072) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:19PM (#19139889)
    Why would they let the Human Interface Guidelines langush? The consistency of the experience in using a Mac is a big plus. But, given the number of inconsistencies that have crept into OSX the past few versions, it's completely obvious to see it hasn't been a priority to them.
    • Well I am guessing you are talking about The Different Window Borders? Aqua, Brushed Metal, Plastic...
      But that doesn't really effect the UI it is just an an appearance thing. The Close, Minimize, Expand buttons are in the same place. Same with the Menu bars. The Menu sub systems is always in the same place. If a Person will have a hard time using a Mac because some of the windows look a bit different then they have more problems then just Apples UI. Apple is trying to expand what it can offer us and
      • by prockcore (543967)
        That's just one aspect. How about how some apps quit when the last window was closed, and others don't?
        • by Ilgaz (86384) *
          Generally on programs you can "create new file/document" (creativity) and edit yourself, they don't quit after last window closed.

          Utilities, such as Disk Utility are generally used once, do its job and user expects to quit when work is ended Quits after last window closed. On TextEdit.app you may want to create a new document instantly without having to launch it so it doesn't quit after last Window closed.

          Same for Mail.app, you expect it to keep running and checking for mail so when you close its Applicati
      • by 7Prime (871679)
        Yes, but what does the expand widget do? Tell me? Beacuse every window handles it differently. For some, it is the same as a windows "Maximize", for others, it expands the window out to encompass all content, and for others, it does even other things, or even nothing at all. And tell me what the gray oval button does? For some programs it shows/hides a drawer, others it does strange things to the windows.

        Just because all the windows have the same buttons doesn't mean that they all function consistantly.

        I wi
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by kinabrew (1053930)
          The normal behavior of the resize(+) button is to make the window just large enough to view all of the content in the window. Clicking that button again would resize the window to its original size.

          In programs where the display of the content depends on the size of the window, that button resizes the window between two sizes that the user can set.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gobbo (567674)

            The normal behavior of the resize(+) button is to make the window just large enough to view all of the content in the window. Clicking that button again would resize the window to its original size.

            In programs where the display of the content depends on the size of the window, that button resizes the window between two sizes that the user can set.

            Yes, and to add to this: Where the content doesn't have a set size, such as in a web browser, the zoom (resize) button actually maximizes the window to fill the screen. This is confusing to Windows users, as it is very context dependent and an attempt to direct the use of the window. Some developers don't seem to grasp this, either, and so there is occasional deviance from this very useful feature.

            Windows users complain about the window not maximizing because they don't get the notion of overlapping and

          • by prockcore (543967)

            The normal behavior of the resize(+) button is to make the window just large enough to view all of the content in the window. Clicking that button again would resize the window to its original size.


            In theory anyway. Try it in the finder. Every time you click + the finder chooses a different size.

            In iTunes it toggles between a mini mode and the regular window.. hardly matching the spec.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by kinabrew (1053930)

              In theory anyway. Try it in the finder. Every time you click + the finder chooses a different size.

              By default, windows do "fit to content" when resized, like I said. That is, unless you've clicked the button to "fit to content" and then resized that window. In that case, it remembers the size you set.

              In order to demonstrate this(and what I said in the last post), open some folders you haven't opened before(There are probably a bunch in ~/Library). Each window should be the same size.

              Now resize one of those

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Actually, the Close button used to be on the other side of the window. Remember? Far away from the others so you wouldn't click it by accident while trying to Zoom? That's the kind of detail Apple used to get right.

        The Ars article "About the Finder" describes exactly how Apple could have expanded what it can offer us without losing any consistency. Apple just plain didn't try.

        But forget the interface consistency, what about the blatant bugs? How about the crappy network support, so that if I have the audaci
        • by gobbo (567674)

          Actually, the Close button used to be on the other side of the window. Remember? Far away from the others so you wouldn't click it by accident while trying to Zoom?

          Hear, hear! But then, save your wrist and use the keyboard. Oh, wait, there is no keyboard command for 'zoom window,' so I have to jump hoops to assign one on every OS X machine I work on. Shame shame, Apple, as resizing windows is designed to be a common action.

          But forget the interface consistency, what about the blatant bugs? How about the crappy network support, so that if I have the audacity to open my iBook somewhere other than "the network its used to" it literally freezes Finder for minutes at a time. Then you go to open something on your (offline) iDisk, and you're frozen for another minute.

          I have a bitter, bile-tasting feeling about Finder network performance and iDisk. Why should a BSD style machine have crappy ftp performance in the base GUI? Then there's refusing to offer a LAN or roll-yer-own iDisk option, yet sticking it in

          • by Blakey Rat (99501)
            Then there's refusing to offer a LAN or roll-yer-own iDisk option, yet sticking it in my face at various points in the OS, which amounts to junkware similar to something out of Redmond.

            Except the software out of Redmond lets you map a WebDAV share as a drive, and then turn on "Offline Files" for it... thereby offering exactly what iDisk is, except free and without the fanfare Apple gives it. Sure; OS X technically has the capability, as iDisk proves, Apple just doesn't let you use it on an arbitrary WebDAV
      • A good example is address book, which is now totally separate from mail which is not actually HI but it is very annoying yo launch a second app to edit email addresses. Also in Address book to add an address or group you press the [+] button on the bottom of the list (no nice easy to understand "add" button - but to delete and address or group there is no [-] button (like other similarly interfaced Apple apps), in Address book you have to highlight the item and press Backspace or Delete - very non-intuitiv
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Why would they let the Human Interface Guidelines langush? The consistency of the experience in using a Mac is a big plus. But, given the number of inconsistencies that have crept into OSX the past few versions, it's completely obvious to see it hasn't been a priority to them.

      I see little evidence Apple care about consistency any more. As you say their apps seem to change from one release to the next with more and more use of the wretched chrome for no discernable reason. It's interesting to read about an

  • Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThePub2000 (974698) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:20PM (#19139893)
    Guess someone has to pickup where Apple leaves off, it's just too bad that Apple is so set in not continuing all those years of solid UI studies they funded and documented themselves.
  • Giddyup! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jddj (1085169) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:22PM (#19139915) Journal
    Human Interface Guidelines have been languishing for far too long at Apple (basically since OS 9 if not a little before).

    This is sorely needed for the OS X platform, and Microsoft, all of the Linux Manager projects and the web as a whole could stand to take a few notes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:28PM (#19139949)
    I'm not saying that this site is not needed in the UI community at large, but it seriously needs some work and input from designers. Probably the most useful entry is the "UI Elements to Avoid". Unfortunately, their number 1 avoidance is to avoid "Brushed Metal". However, the majority of their examples throughout the wiki make use of the Brushed Metal theme in all of their positive examples.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can anyone explain how both KDE and Gnome have been working for years with the entire open source development world supporting them and they can't make anything even remotely close to the polish and UI level of this:

    http://images.apple.com/macosx/leopard/images/inde xdesktop20060807.jpg [apple.com]

    Do the toolkits just suck that much?
    Do the developers just suck that much?

    Shit brown desktop colours.
    Jarring font alignments, positioning, and rendering.
    Amateurish UI element spacing and layouts.

    And the first person to say th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Can anyone explain how both KDE and Gnome have been working for years with the entire open source development world supporting them and they can't make anything even remotely close to the polish and UI level of this

      I'm going to state the obvious and get flamed for it: "bazaar-style" open source works for developing things developers want, and not so well for developing things they don't personally care about. Since novice users are--almost by definition--not developers, UIs suitable for novices don't get de
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zsau (266209)
      -1 Troll. You can't use that picture as a comparison of free desktops and Mac OS X. It's so low-res, the only thing you can see in that picture of any consequence is OMG SHINY AND BRIGHT COLORS which are really quite irrelevant.

      If you could provide specific examples of how, for instance, Gnome or KDE have "amateurish UI element spacing and layouts", that'd be useful. Otherwise, why talk?
      • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @12:48AM (#19141727) Homepage
        Well, for one, users do react better to a UI that's visually appealing (but non-invasive). Although I personally think that Apple's Mail.app shown in the grandparent post violates this principle, OS X on a whole conforms to it pretty well.

        As far as "amateurish UI element spacing and layouts", I refer you to this KDE Print Settins dialogue [asinclair.com]. Although the screenshot's somewhat dated (2004), I came across a similar dialogue this past week when using my University's linux cluster. Although the font configuration doesn't appear to have been borked like in the screenshot I linked to, the element spacing was the same, despite the smaller fonts (ie. huge window, small fonts).

        There are a few examples of good UIs on KDE/GTK apps, but for the most part, they tend to look very sloppy. Win32 apps tend to look neutral and professional. OS X apps are a bit more flashy, but are on a similar level of "neatness".

        I would doubt that it's even an issue with "open-sourceness". Adium, a (free) GAIM-based multi-platform IM client for OS X has what is easily one of the best UIs [adiumx.com] I've seen on an application regardless of license or platform.

        Another complaint I have is that FOSS GUIs tend to rely a lot on toolbars and icons. Although this isn't necessarily a terrible thing in and of itself, It is more often than not the case that WAY too many icons are presented, and that the design of said icons gives very few visual cues as to the function of the button. Konqueror is a terrible offender of this crime. Although virtually every other browser on the planet gets by just fine with 4 or 5 buttons in the toolbar, Konqueror somehow feels that it's perfectly acceptable to put 17 buttons [konqueror.org] in the default toolbar.
        • by zsau (266209)
          Thankyou for your useful reply. The KDE print settings dialog you link to is indeed ... weird. Whether the fonts really are that large probably depends on the user's screen resolution and eyesight, but it does look ... wrong.

          There are a few examples of good UIs on KDE/GTK apps, but for the most part, they tend to look very sloppy. Win32 apps tend to look neutral and professional. OS X apps are a bit more flashy, but are on a similar level of "neatness".

          I certainly would've agreed with this a few years ago,
        • by overunderunderdone (521462) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @12:27PM (#19147931)
          Another complaint I have is that FOSS GUIs tend to rely a lot on toolbars and icons. Although this isn't necessarily a terrible thing in and of itself

          Actually it is. There is a UI principle: "a word is worth a thousand pictures." Icons are only useful if you already know them by sight and/or their meaning is painfully obvious, and even then only when there isn't too much visual clutter from a bunch of other icons around them making the user have to hunt for the particular one they want. The need for "Tooltips" is a clear sign of a bad UI. It always seemed to me that the MacOS got this, while Microsoft didn't. It's ironic that Apple which popularized icons as a UI element has always used them much more sparingly than Microsoft. It's as though Microsoft coming in later to the game said: "So they want pictures do they... well! We'll give them pictures out the yazoo" without ever fulling understanding the point of those "pictures".
      • What the hell does the resolution of the example image have to do with anything? If someone says, "hey, this 5 series is prettier than a Honda Element" and hands you a 640x480 image of it, coming back with a 10-megapixel image of an Element proves nothing.

        It's the implementation that is expressed that is important, not the quality of the visual symbol. If it's too vague a concept for you, walk up to a Mac and use one in person, or hell, Google for a better picture if you've never seen this mysterious "OS
        • by zsau (266209)
          What the hell does the resolution of the example image have to do with anything?

          You can't make a fair comparison with a low resolution image. The fact that the image is low-res doesn't mean that the product on offer is bad; it just means I can't make a fair comparison. Considering one of the anonymous coward's points was rendering of text, you really need full resolution to make any sort of comparison!

          Your car analogy is really bad, btw. A more accurate one would be saying "My car is better than yours. As p
    • by wall0159 (881759) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:56PM (#19140149)

      While I'm sure that Gnome and KDE developers can get something out of HIG docs, I'm sure they already are! As a user of both Gnome and MacOS Tiger, I think that Gnome is in many ways _more_ consistent!

      On my Mac, Finder, Address Book, and iCal are brushed metal, whereas Mail and iTunes are uniform grey. Preview is different again. What the hell?!? Over the last 3 years, MacOS has become _less_ consistent, whereas Gnome has become much more so.

      So you don't like the default colours on Ubuntu - change them. It's very easy to do, even for newbies - personally I find them refreshing from the over-pervasive blueness of most desktops, but you can make it blue if you want!

      I'm not saying Gnome is perfect (I haven't used KDE much for a while) - I doubt anyone would say that - but it's certainly not as inferior as you're making out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tickletaint (1088359)
        Where you see inconsistency, I see useful visual cues. Regular windows are for single documents. Brushed metal is for utilities and goal-directed tools. There are gray areas that demand individual judgment, of course, but the general guideline is there.
      • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @09:28PM (#19140387)
        On my Mac, Finder, Address Book, and iCal are brushed metal, whereas Mail and iTunes are uniform grey. Preview is different again. What the hell?!? Over the last 3 years, MacOS has become _less_ consistent, whereas Gnome has become much more so.

        Duh. That's the entire point of this story... independent Apple fans are attempting to document Apple's horrible slide into UI mediocrity so third-party apps can at least be consistent with the system, since Apple doesn't feel the need to actually document any of these stupid themes on their own. This is the kind of thing that makes people remember the unstable, quirky Mac OS 7 with tears forming in their eyes... Apple used to give half-a-shit, they don't anymore.

        I'm not saying Gnome is perfect (I haven't used KDE much for a while) - I doubt anyone would say that - but it's certainly not as inferior as you're making out.

        Welcome to my favorite screenshots:

        http://schend.net/images/screenshots/gaim_2_is_ugl y.png [schend.net]

        http://schend.net/images/screenshots/gaim_2_is_bug gy.png [schend.net]

        GAIM is a GNOME app, is it not? It's so hideous, it makes Microsoft's Luna theme look beautiful by comparison. You seriously think that competes even slightly with what Apple's putting out? Even the crummy stuff Apple's put out recently?

        (BTW, your example about changing colors is particularly apt, since you can see that GNOME apps on Windows completely and utterly ignore the Windows theme and do their own thing.)
        • by Coryoth (254751)

          BTW, your example about changing colors is particularly apt, since you can see that GNOME apps on Windows completely and utterly ignore the Windows theme and do their own thing.

          Because Apple's software for windows [winplanet.com] just blends in seamlessly with the native toolkit [russellbeattie.com], right? At least GTK+ lets you change themes -- and even has themes that do blend in with windows [sourceforge.net], mimicking both Win2k and WinXP appropriately. Apple's stuff just sticks out like a sore thumb.

        • 3) Gaim no longer exists. It is now Pidgin, which uses much more pretty icons and has undergone some subtle UI cleanups.

          4) Gnome apps do not look right in Windows because Windows is not Gnome. Tried running Windows applications in Mac OS lately?
        • by asobala (563713)

          GAIM is a GNOME app, is it not?

          No. No, it's not.

          GAIM is a random app that goes completely its own way, and is well known for ignoring requests from other segments of the community.

    • stuck up ... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by typidemon (729497)
      It's the entire 'fuck non-technical users" attitude that spews forth from highly technical users that has hurt nix distributions hard.
    • by Mr. Picklesworth (931427) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @10:25PM (#19140863) Homepage
      Firstly, for the love of God, Ubuntu is not dark brown! It's orange. (And mine is sharp black). If you think this [ubuntu.com] colour looks like poop, you should visit your optometrist.

      The fact that you don't like Ubuntu's default theme gives you a perfect opportunity to explore why this UI is indeed a good thing. Try changing that theme, and be amazed that every single program on your desktop - including, often, their toolbar icons, menu icons and generic button icons - changes with it.

      The only programs I have had problems with are programs that try to support multiple platforms by delivering minimal attention to the problems of any single platform. This often means disasters like arbitrary pixel coordinates for GTK widgets, or programs that just don't fit (Firefox, OpenOffice to an extent).

      Actually, the Gnome desktop environment does have human interface guidelines [gnome.org]. They are practically worshipped by Gnome developers and followed by nearly every Gnome program I have come across. (especially the myriad of official ones).

      To make this nicer, Gnome uses GTK, which is by all means not a "sucky" toolkit. Indeed, it is the best UI library I have ever used both as a developer and as an end user! (Largely thanks to Glade, although even on its own it is excellent).

      Instantly configurable menu accelerators (I don't like it that Find in a program is Ctrl+G! Thus I highlight the menu entry and it Ctrl+F. It never bothers me again), tabbing without having to tell the UI library to "make it possible to tab between these", searching in list boxes with a full text entry that appears (a great accessibility feature)...

      GTK uses a layout system that one could say works a bit like an HTML table. Instead of using arbitrary pixel coordinates, you give what is essentially a relative position and size for the widget based on your layout. Thus: Instant, sensible, automatic resizing of practically any window on the desktop with no hassle for the developer.
      In fact, that table layout is easier for developers; it helps to create consistent padding and spacing without the need to pull out a calculator to figure out exactly where that next widget to the right should go.
      This is good for the user, too. With Windows, one reason you have hardly any control over font size (prompting people to lower screen resolution on the idiotic assumption that it makes small text easier to read) is that if you make your fonts too big then every program's GUI will not fit it because every Windows program has hard-coded pixel values for everything. With GTK, since the sizes for widgets are handled on the fly by the UI library, you could have a font size of 50 and it would still work. (And yes, that font would apply to every program across the desktop. Why do I have such trust that every program on a desktop would use the native GUI? Because GTK, like Mac OS's GUI, is actually good to work with).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drew (2081)
      Well, I'm not going to complain too much. I prefer useful to pretty.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      Hmmm, I do have to say that OSX is great for screenshots. but really after useing it for almost a year now I find far to many inconstancies and things that don't fit together it is almost as bad as the old Redhat 6.2 days.
    • by Khazunga (176423) *
      Bah, you see a pretty face and start drooling. Here, have fun:
      http://amadeo.blog.com/repository/2/1998456.png [blog.com]
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Can anyone explain how both KDE and Gnome have been working for years with the entire open source development world supporting them and they can't make anything even remotely close to the polish and UI level of this:

      The problem with voluntary efforts is that they don't really have a GUI designer and a developer. Normally they're one and the same so you end up with something that looks great from a developer's perspective but probably not to others. This usually means GUIs that range from okay, to cluttere

    • Pictures of pretty girls do not mean that the UI is pretty, or usable. I for one dumped OS X for KDE, because the workflow was better.
  • This is pretty interesting. I think that developers could use this as guidelines for developing UIs for other platforms.
  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:42PM (#19140051)
    If the rumors are true, new unified interface standards will be debuted with Leopard. I think we may well see major developments on that front. There's a new unified grey theme that is going to replace Metal. Resolution independence is another big item, and we know that's coming. Hopefully Leopard will be the release to fix most, if not all, of the minor UI inconsistencies found in Apple's applications, which will in turn spur developers to follow suit.
    • by acvh (120205)
      a new theme color isn't what this is about. it's about creating an interface that is consistent with how humans think and work. i used a mac in business 15 years ago (system 6?) and once i got used to it could make it fly. os x is pretty and i like it much more than windows, but it's horribly clunky in comparison to older version of the os. windows open in random positions and views, making me spend way too much time to resize them (using the lower right corner to grab it of course). ars has some insightful
      • by thogard (43403)
        I hate the "application" view of their version of alt-tab. It breaks my concentration because I have to change my task view. An example of this is say I have 2 word processing documents open. One I'm writing in and one I'm plagiarising stuff from. Then I'll have a few web pages open with pages for research. To switch from the document I'm editing to the other word processing document is an apple-~ but switching to the browser is an apple-tab. And in this scheme the whole breaks a "most recently used"
        • 1) That's a feature not a bug. "Hey, I want to get to my browser -- Cmd-Tab." "Hey, I want to get to my other document window -- Cmd-`." It gives you a way to switch to two different things with one keystroke, and saving keystrokes is good.

          2) Don't listen to those guys telling you how to make pointless AppleScript: What you want is already built into Mac OS X! Go to System Preferences, click "Keyboard and Mouse," click "Keyboard Shortcuts," scroll down the list to "Keyboard Navigation" and find the item und
      • Leopard's unified interface isn't just about a new theme color. Brushed metal is gone, and Aqua is almost gone, replaced with the darker gray of iTunes 7 in titlebars. Eventually the rest of the widgets will look like iTunes 7 in the WWDC build, like scroll bars and buttons.

        I don't see how grabbing the lower-right of a window makes resizing a window take too long. Being able to grab from any border would require a 5-pixel border of wasted space around every window, like in Windows Vista. The unified the
        • by dwater (72834)
          > I don't see how grabbing the lower-right of a window makes resizing a window take too long.

          Sure - if all you want to do it resize the window, then fine. Unfortunely, resizing is often done in combination with a window move.

          Also, what happens when the bottom right corner is off the screen? You're forced to move the window so that the corner is on the screen before you can resize it - if the window is too large for the screen, there's no way to resize it.

          I use OS X frequently, and this is something I oft
  • by Tickletaint (1088359) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:50PM (#19140105) Journal
    When you start applying them as though they were cold, autistic rules, you start degrading usability. Emerson said it better than I ever could, but I will say this: Judicious use of dissimilar UI paradigms can emphasize the aspects of your application that are dissimilar to others, the aspects that need special attention from the user. Not everything should be treated the same.

    That said, there are plenty of amazingly talented programmers who turn out to be rather shitty UI designers. While guidelines like the Mac OS X HIG are most useful in the hands of designers who already know what they're doing, I suppose as a cheat sheet for coders who have nowhere else to seek advice, they're better than nothing.
    • When you start applying them as though they were cold, autistic rules, you start degrading usability.


      Would you explain what "autistic" means in this context?
      • It's called poetic license.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      "Autistic?"

      I see it something like the rules for anything. When you're the expert, when you've mastered the field, then you can work on changing the fundamentals. If you start inventing new widgets without researching how and why the current widgets exist, then you're going to cause problems. Like those applications you see that consist of nothing but 40 tabs in a tab-panel, they didn't understand the purpose of tabs, and now they've made something with poor usability.
  • Isn't the major point of an good gui is consistency. What may be called languishing here could be just as easily interpreted as not reinventing the wheel. Anyways, Apple is putting more research into developing human interface guidelines for embedded OSX and small touch-devices like the iPhone.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      "Languishing" in this context means making the OS less consistent. They're not enforcing the standards they themselves wrote.
  • by bl8n8r (649187)
    fsck the fscking fsck?
  • I'm so happy a group of enthusiasts has come together to make sure everyone thinking of making programs will put form before function. One time I was thinking about putting five buttons on a mouse, but then the Human Interface Guideline Coalition shut me down and informed me that humans sometimes have all of their fingers on one hand mashed into a pulp with a hammer and burnt with cigarettes so they can only effectively use one button. I can tell you I never made THAT mistake again!
    • by MightyYar (622222)
      I don't think that Apple insists that you use a one-button mouse, only that your program function with a one-button mouse. This serves a couple of purposes:
      • New users won't use the wrong button if there is only one button.
      • Mac users can count on every interface for every program having all of it's functions readily available from a menu or toolbar... there can be no "hidden" functions that require a right-click, middle-click, or some combination. This makes every program fairly accessible to the novice or o
  • Aqua's a wimp. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dwater (72834) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @11:49PM (#19141401)
    The thing that bugs me about both Mac OS X's Aqua (and MS Windows) is how the window manager seems to have so little authority over the windows it manages.

    On SGI IRIX's 4Dwm, for example, if I use the window manager to minimise a window (by clicking on the minimise button, for example), it damn well minimises, no matter what state the window's application is in.

    Why is Aqua's (and MS Windows's) window manager such a wimp? They have no authority over their windows at all. What kind of manager is that?
  • Look, if you buy and use commercial software, you should live with what the vendor gives you, and you really don't have much choice. Trying to do some of their work for them doesn't make much sense.

    Keep in mind that the primary purpose of any commercial piece of software is not to make users happy, it's to generate revenue. Sometimes those coincide, sometimes, they don't. For example, the Dock is an awful piece of software, but it demos well, so Apple keeps it. I suspect that the Finder and Spotlight al
  • Until there's a # button on the keyboard. Now that's usability.
  • I'd like to think that the past seven years have been all about experimentation for Apple. When they binned OS 9, they also dumped the concordant HIG - and rightfully so. How we interact with computers should - no, must - evolve as computer literacy becomes ingrained in the culture. Just as we understand moving pictures rather better than the audiences of 1904 - we understand the evolved grammar of cinema - e.g., what do close-ups mean, how point-of-view is established and played with in a scene. And surely

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