Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 17:05 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Mike Elgan at Cult of Mac: "It must surely be a sign of the impending apocalypse that Microsoft's operating systems have 'more taste' than Apple's. I'm referring, of course, to Apple's inexplicable use of skeuomorphic design in iOS and OS X apps, and contrasting that with Microsoft's stark avoidance of such cheesy gimmickry in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone user interfaces. A skeuomorphic design in software is one that 'decorates' the interface with fake reality - say, analog knobs or torn paper. The problem is worse than it sounds." Won't come as a surprise to anyone that I wholeheartedly agree with this one. iOS and Mac OS X are ruined by an incredibly high Microsoft BOB factor. I have no idea how - or if - Apple will address this, or if the current downward spiral is going to continue.
Order by: Score:
Hm
by Raziel on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 17:38 UTC
Raziel
Member since:
2006-03-27

I'm a Linux user and I disregard Microsoft and Apple in equal amounts, but I think you really don't know what you're talking about. What has always been beautiful and pleasant is suddenly considered bloat, just because Microsoft is trying to push a new Windows 3.11-era style in UIs?

Reply Score: 8

RE: Hm
by Morgan on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:36 UTC in reply to "Hm"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

It hasn't always been beautiful and pleasant to everyone. This isn't just one of Thom's fetishes, I happen to have always found skeuomorphism silly and unnecessary. The only exception I've ever made is with music multitracking software; the analogue of an on-screen interface to a real mixing board is a functional example of skeuomorphism done right. As a musician, I find it much easier to glance at a virtual control that looks just like what I use in the real world, rather than an OS-specific slider widget.

That said, I think Apple goes too far with, for example, GarageBand with its wasted pixels on either side to represent functionless wooden cabinet panels. That's the key difference: If the skeuomorphism is functional, then (as long as it looks pleasing to the eye) it can be a good thing. But doing it for kicks or because you think it looks "organic" without function to back it up is just wrong.

As for Metro, it's about as far from Windows 3.11 as you can get. Have you actually used a Metro interface? I live with it every day on my phone, and it's highly intuitive, simple, elegant and stays out of my way. It's not perfect; no interface ever will be, and there are a few things I'd love to change about it. But it works for me so I stick with it.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Hm
by Raziel on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
Raziel Member since:
2006-03-27

Used the W7 phone Launcher a couple of days on my Android phone. Looks nice at first glance, but lacks a lot of functionality I'm used to, I switched back to my default Android launcher.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Hm
by Morgan on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hm"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Right, you used a poorly implemented visual clone of Metro, written as a launcher for a completely different OS, and you're condemning it based on that? That's no different than calling OS X unusable based on an Aqua skin for Gnome or Xfce.

All of that "missing functionality" is present in the real thing; I would suggest testing out a WP7 phone at a store. Who knows, you may still find it lacking, but at least then it would be an honest, informed opinion.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Hm
by Raziel on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 19:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hm"
Raziel Member since:
2006-03-27

I DID use a Lumina phone before installing the Android launcher, and it looked exactly the same to me. And by "missing functionality", I mean my widgets and tens of applications I normally use right in the main Window, classified by type in different screens, without the need to scroll that much because of the buttons being huge as in Metro. I also didn't find a single permanent notification area, a couple of pixels to instantly know if something's happened in my phone in the last minutes, with drop-down for details, instead of looking for changes around the whole screen.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Hm
by Morgan on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 19:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hm"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You hit on my one true gripe with Metro as it exists currently on WP7 phones: I miss the notification bar from Android. I would be satisfied with notifications via the status LED, but on my phone (HTC Arrive) it only has four indicators, three for charging state and one for missed calls. Why can't I have email/SMS/social status indicators without scrolling the main screen?

Some of your other issues are being addressed with the 7.8 and WP8 releases, giving the user a 1/4 size button choice so there will be room for more indicators on the main view, and a double-width button choice for displaying widget-class info. The latter feature currently exists but is controlled entirely by the app vendor; the new OS releases will put the control in the user's fingers, so to speak.

My "perfect" phone interface would be very similar to Metro but with features I've seen in OpenMoko, Bada, Android and even Symbian. Alas, that will never happen, but it's nice to think about.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hm
by henderson101 on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 22:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

That said, I think Apple goes too far with, for example, GarageBand with its wasted pixels on either side to represent functionless wooden cabinet panels.


I need to stop you there. GarageBand is a REALLY, REALLY poor example to use. Anyone who has used ant kind of music creation software can tell you that this is the absolute norm. Here are some key players who skeuomorph like a Mofo:

Native Instruments - Guitar Rig, Studio Drummer, pretty much all of their products and plug ins (including ones that work in GarageBand)

IK Multimedia's AmpliTube.

Peavey ReValver

Toontrack EZ Drummer

Addictive Drummer

Any of the 100's of free or low cost VST or AudioUnit plug-ins for PC or Mac.

I have no idea why they feel they need to look like real hardware. It is actually harder to use them in many respects. But they do.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Hm
by redshift on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hm"
redshift Member since:
2006-05-06

Anyone who has used ant kind of music creation software can tell you that this is the absolute norm. Here are some key players who skeuomorph like a Mofo:....

...I have no idea why they feel they need to look like real hardware. It is actually harder to use them in many respects. But they do.


Sometimes I hate that you cant vote on posts after you have responded to an article. I really want to give you a +1 for this. It is very true.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Hm
by Morgan on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 22:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hm"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Did you read the paragraph above the one you quoted, where I said that skeuomorphism can actually serve a purpose in audio editing software? My comment about GarageBand specifically called out the useless "wooden" left and right borders. The program overall is one of my favorites, especially on the iPad.

Personally I find the realistic look of the knobs and sliders in such programs easier to understand, coming from a background in analog audio editing. I was making a distinction between useless, eye candy skeuomorphism and functional, useful implementations.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Hm
by henderson101 on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 10:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hm"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

GarageBand specifically called out the useless "wooden" left and right borders.


Why does Guitar Rig need to implement a rack for my emulated Amps? Why does EZ Drummer need to show me an on screen kit that is impossible to play without a multitouch screen? (and they didn't exist for the general public the first time I ever used EZ Drummer.)

I'll admit I skimmed your original post, apologies. But if one starts down the road of realism, where does one stop?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hm
by redshift on Wed 25th Jul 2012 02:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hm"
redshift Member since:
2006-05-06

Did you read the paragraph above the one you quoted, where I said that skeuomorphism can actually serve a purpose in audio editing software?.


Yes... I have seen a few cases where it helped. I forget what the software was, but it basically represented analog plugs and patch cables between virtual amps and virtual analog sound fx equipment. For people who understood the equipment it emulated it was extremely east for them to wire them up on the computer screen to get the desired effect.

Perhaps it grates on me more when they skeumorphize something that has become more familiar on the computer than the nearly forgotten analog they emulate.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Hm
by Gone fishing on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 07:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

As for Metro, it's about as far from Windows 3.11 as you can get. Have you actually used a Metro interface? I live with it every day on my phone, and it's highly intuitive, simple, elegant and stays out of my way. It's not perfect; no interface ever will be, and there are a few things I'd love to change about it. But it works for me so I stick with it.


Interesting maybe Nokia isn't f*cked

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hm
by Drumhellar on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 08:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

As for Metro, it's about as far from Windows 3.11 as you can get. Have you actually used a Metro interface? I live with it every day on my phone, and it's highly intuitive, simple, elegant and stays out of my way. It's not perfect; no interface ever will be, and there are a few things I'd love to change about it. But it works for me so I stick with it.


I love it, also. My only gripe is how god damn much I have to scroll on the start screen. As I (slowly) add apps to the start screen, the scrolling gets annoying.
God help me if I decide to move a live tile from the top to the bottom.

Reply Score: 2

It is the circle of tech...
by HangLoose on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 17:48 UTC
HangLoose
Member since:
2007-09-03

...just like in lion king.

Remember when Microsoft tried that with Win 98? With the pin ball machine game, there was also a dialer and I remember an envelope (cant pin point where). And then came OSX with the "polished metal" looks and boy it was pretty.

Now tables have turned, MS is the UI inovator and Apple is stuck with the old and tired polished metal looks+weird-leather-casing-for-contact-book.

Funny.

Reply Score: 4

RE: It is the circle of tech...
by Morgan on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:55 UTC in reply to "It is the circle of tech..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't think you should include a game as an example, as the whole point of a game is escapism. You don't want it to look like a computer interface (unless of course you're playing one of those "hacker" type games).

Otherwise, you're exactly right: Microsoft and Apple are both to blame for this pointless dumbing down of modern computer interfaces. I'm glad Microsoft is throwing all of that out and I hope Apple does the same.

Reply Score: 3

HangLoose Member since:
2007-09-03

I don't think you should include a game as an example, as the whole point of a game is escapism. You don't want it to look like a computer interface (unless of course you're playing one of those "hacker" type games).


oops.. my bad. ;) that makes perfect sense.

Reply Score: 1

Not really an issue
by Poseidon on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:02 UTC
Poseidon
Member since:
2009-10-31

It boils down to usability. Apple usually keeps the eye candy usable (With the exception of that change in folders from OS X Tiger). Microsoft seems to change stuff every other OS release for the sake of doing it.

People just give meaning where there is none.

I personally loathe the peanut gallery of the Win 8 Start screen.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Not really an issue
by cdude on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:12 UTC in reply to "Not really an issue"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

Agrred. Usability is the key and not the eyecandy. The eyecandy is only a helper to reach that goal. Windows was and still s bloated. Just look at the amount of buttons, colors and space used in the new Office. Unsexy.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Not really an issue
by zima on Sun 29th Jul 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Not really an issue"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not about sexy, more about usable - and Ribbon was a great improvement in that regard, also greatly streamlining things; it's much cleaner than pretty much anything else of comparable capabilities (initially opposed largely just because of the usual in people resistance to change), so you kinda couldn't be further from the truth... And overall, Win UI is one of more consistent ones for the past 17 years, since Win95.
(but then, with you it seems that aiming at groupthink is usual / "oh I will just yell at MS a bit" - and the amount of OSS circle-jerking here can be sometimes suffocating)

Edited 2012-07-30 00:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not really an issue
by cheemosabe on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:21 UTC in reply to "Not really an issue"
cheemosabe Member since:
2009-11-29

Indeed, Microsoft has really made a dubious turn. From "stick every function conceivable in there" 180 towards "pretty stuff, show only stuff you need most of the time". Finally a move in a direction I appreciate but leaving behind too much usability. While I appreciate it (just the direction) I'm glad most people won't ;)

Apple still seems to me unsurpassed in providing the easiest to use interfaces, uncluttered. You can find everything where you'd expect.

Still a Linux user...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Not really an issue
by zima on Fri 27th Jul 2012 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Not really an issue"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple still seems to me unsurpassed in providing the easiest to use interfaces, uncluttered. You can find everything where you'd expect.

Except if you want to, for example, eject removable media...

Reply Score: 2

Virtual Steampunk.
by tomz on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:30 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

The one difference in what apple used to do is the animations bore information, like a window shrinking to a specific location on the dock. Windows is mainly eye-candy. I don't want transparent menu bars, I want them small and unobtrusive. I want easy to click buttons and don't care about rounding and gradients. But now Apple is getting into the nonsense. The animations are meaningless. Instead of being able to see extra titles, we get icons on an eyecandy bookshelf or magazine rack. The spine of the book's image takes up valuable screen space. Aargh.

Gutenberg didn't come up with something that looked like script handwriting when he came up with printing.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Virtual Steampunk.
by orfanum on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 22:20 UTC in reply to "Virtual Steampunk."
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

I understand the kind of argument you are trying to make but you are using the wrong example with Gutenberg: even his innovations largely emulated previous manuscript production. He wasn't printing in Courier.
http://www.slideshare.net/fpaisey/early-printed-book

Reply Score: 3

RE: Virtual Steampunk.
by M.Onty on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 12:52 UTC in reply to "Virtual Steampunk."
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Gutenberg didn't come up with something that looked like script handwriting when he came up with printing.


Looking like formal script is exactly what the Gothic typeface Gutenberg used for his Bible was designed for, so he did. We just don't write longhand like that any more because its monsterously elaborate.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Virtual Steampunk.
by zima on Fri 27th Jul 2012 19:08 UTC in reply to "Virtual Steampunk."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The one difference in what apple used to do is the animations bore information, like a window shrinking to a specific location on the dock. Windows is mainly eye-candy.

Windows does those animations, too...

Gutenberg didn't come up with something that looked like script handwriting when he came up with printing.

No, you have it pretty much backwards, he came up exactly with something that looked like script handwriting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Western_typography#Medieval... (compare the page of Gutenberg bible there with some earlier scanned pages on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackletter ).

And #Classical_revival, just below, covers how Carolingian minuscule is the close basis for vast majority of the letters that you are reading right now (the small ones; capital letters coming from the earlier Roman square capitals), with nice scan of it from IX century.

Edited 2012-07-27 19:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Both Apple and Microsoft can do better
by laffer1 on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 18:33 UTC
laffer1
Member since:
2007-11-09

I find that modern OS X is a nightmare with the leather bound address book and ugly iCal. Windows 8 looks like a children's toy with the colorful boxes. The era or professional, clean user interfaces is over. it really started going down with Windows XP on Microsoft's side and Lion with Apple, although let's not forget the brushed metal look they experimented with.

I've experimented with this real world object idea on an app. Eventually, I came to my senses because it truly was ugly. I had a "journal" view for a blogging app.

It's like every developer at Apple and Microsoft have forgotten history. Are all the old timers gone who remember Microsoft Bob and the Quicktime 4? It wasn't just them either. Some people may remember Packard Bell Navigator. (computers shipped in the mid 90s had it)

I don't think it's limited to desktops either. Some of the new mobile apps I've seen are just as hideous and it's even showing up on the web in some places. The era of ugly is upon us.

Reply Score: 3

MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12

The critique is way over the top. There is a vast difference between a pseudo leather background look which can - depending on personal taste - look pleasant or not and the QuickTime 4 problem where discussions were (rightfully) about a wrongly chosen UI control: You don't have to interact with the leather background so there's IMHO no problem to use something that looks 'real world'. From the 'use' standpoint there is no real difference if you use grey or pseudo-somehing.

You can see how ridiculous the discussion is if i start calling the white background in a MSWord document a skeuomorphism because it looks like real world paper. Is this a problem. No. Just one of those Holwerda stories stating the message that the success of Apple is the downfall of good IT ..

Reply Score: 2

laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I don't think this critique is simply about the rise of Apple and the downfall of everything. It's a critique on the poor usability of modern operating system (and application) development. Everything we've learned in the last thirty years has been thrown out.

I have a Mac Pro and a PC w/ Windows + BSD on it. I'm not so narrowly minded that I think all things Microsoft and Apple are bad. I just find my computers less and less useful over time. That is a problem to me and it should be to anyone else who needs to get real work done. At the same time, I don't hear anyone I know claiming computers are getting easier to use. Most people are confused with the new interfaces too. Not only did they throw out what they new, they don't make sense and have no consistency. Every "screen" is different.

Reply Score: 3

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

> The era of professional, clean user interfaces is over.

If you miss Win9x, try MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce, or even KDE 4 with a "Redmond" style for Qt, Gtk, and KWin.

If you miss NeXT, try Afterstep or Window Maker.

If you miss BeOS, go contribute to Haiku.

Reply Score: 4

Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Using a minimalist NeXTSTEP, BeOS or Win9x style theme in an OS doesn't change the applications that run on it.

In my opinion the main problem today is with the design of applications, not with the theme of the GUI itself (however bloated and annoying they may be).

Reply Score: 2

v Agreed
by jbrown94305 on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 20:27 UTC
I doubt...
by Coxy on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 20:50 UTC
Coxy
Member since:
2006-07-01

...that apple users have ever even heard of "skeuomorphism" or care what it is. They couldn't care about fitts law or any other over-used phrases. And they don't need to, they have an os that everyone thinks is the best in the world, and where you need lots of money to have it.

There are sites now that only let you join if you use a mac, or offer you more expensive products and services... when you put up with that, I guess you couldn't care if some blogger thinks that your contact application shouldn't look like a filofax.

Edited 2012-07-22 20:50 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: I doubt...
by zima on Thu 26th Jul 2012 20:35 UTC in reply to "I doubt..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There are sites now that only let you join if you use a mac, or offer you more expensive products and services...

They seriously do that / some more details?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I doubt...
by Coxy on Fri 27th Jul 2012 05:32 UTC in reply to "RE: I doubt..."
Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01
RE[3]: I doubt...
by zima on Fri 27th Jul 2012 20:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I doubt..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

"We're packed with designers, photographers, musicians, and tons of creative types." - whoa, belonging there must feel great...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I doubt...
by Coxy on Fri 27th Jul 2012 20:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I doubt..."
Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

I'm glad I can't ever join... They should rename that site the "B-Ship". (hitch hicker's guide)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: I doubt...
by zima on Sun 29th Jul 2012 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I doubt..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, utilising browser spoofing or, worst case scenario, hackintosh (however they authenticate you have a Mac are, the 2nd will certainly work) would be a nice little joke on them - except, it seems one needs to also pay for the "privilege"...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by historyb
by historyb on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 21:10 UTC
historyb
Member since:
2005-07-06

I saw the article. I hay to say I like the screenshot of the reel to reel player

Reply Score: 2

Not a big fan of skeuomorphic
by redshift on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 22:45 UTC
redshift
Member since:
2006-05-06

I hate the overly gratuitous skeuomorphic design elements and favor clean lines. It is ok to make things feel tactile..... Subtle gradients and shadows can enhance, but when they get amped up too strong, they can become garish and decrease readability fast. I would much rather they used the default UI elements of the system than wrap things in ugly leather. I don't like it in the address book... but it really crosses the line in the calendar app on OSX.

I give you that MS has at least provided a clean design in metro (they already proved they did not understand how to use gradients and shadows correctly in previous releases, so it is good they stayed away from them). But the way it is tacked on to win 8 and how functionality is not easily discovered, doesn't lead me to believe they know what they are doing yet user experience wise. But I would not mind if UI's trend towards a cleaner look as a result of Metro.

My theory is that guy who did all those awful alternate themes for Apple's unrealized Copland release (in the pre OSX days), is still working at Apple as a skeuomorphic ui consultant.

http://besser.tsoa.nyu.edu/impact/s97/Focus/Commerce/PROJECTS/aks/c...

Edited 2012-07-22 22:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not a big fan of skeuomorphic
by thavith_osn on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 02:52 UTC in reply to "Not a big fan of skeuomorphic"
thavith_osn Member since:
2005-07-11

I loved the idea of Copland back in the day, I know we had theming packs that did this back then for OS 7, 8 and 9. I never got into it myself, I tended to go back to the standard theme, whether it be Win or Mac.

I also can't believe we thought they looked great. :-)

More pixels and more colour makes for a nicer UI (usually).

Reply Score: 3

snob article.
by sergio on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 23:07 UTC
sergio
Member since:
2005-07-06

Skeumorphism is cheesy and fugly. OK. We got it. Agreed.

The rest of the article is pure over-rationalization followed by a plain stupid conclusion.

Reply Score: 3

Is the matter so black and white?
by Dr.Mabuse on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 23:45 UTC
Dr.Mabuse
Member since:
2009-05-19

While I get the point many are making against skeuomorphic design (particularly on issues for example when an e-reader wastes space showing a book's spine) totally functional minimalism should probably not be the last word either.

One the comments (from aepxc) on that article made a good point: Some ornamentation is nice to have from the user's perspective, introduces some familiarity to the design and as long as it's not overcooked (and compromising the functionality) then what's the issue?

Effective minimalism, therefore, is one that tries to produce the least amount of pattern-breaking and dissonance, not one that tries to remove all ornament.


When I look at Metro, it really does leave me cold. Apple GUI's always looked pretty swish to me. But hey, I still like the look of the pre-XP classic Windows 2000 GUI too, so what do I know? :-P

Finally, the article was clearly going for the controversial angle. I doubt many people believe Microsoft actually has better taste than Apple. Pretty cheap journalism! Are they that hard up for hits?

Reply Score: 3

I'm sorry...
by thavith_osn on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 02:48 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

...but this is purely personal taste.

I personally like iOS and OS X and find simulating the real world to be a great idea in a lot of cases.

What is important is functionality, the look and feel are always secondary to me.

Having said that, I think both companies are doing what they do, some will like one, some will like the other. What's it matter either way???

Reply Score: 3

ZzzZZzzzzZZzzZZZzzzZzzzZZzz
by ze_jerkface on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 02:50 UTC
ze_jerkface
Member since:
2012-06-22

Um.....It's just a computer GUI.

At the end of the day computers are tools and tools should be focused more on functionality than design. Windows 8 is not focused on either and in fact focused on some deluded vision of a single GUI to rule them all. How this fits in with the reality of everyone and their mom owning iProducts is beyond me.

But back to the article.

Whatever is "cheesy" or tasteless is subjective. This person write as if there is only one true opinion of artistic design.

A wise software company recognizes that design is subjective and allows customers to choose a style that fits their taste. Microsoft is currently ran by two idiots (Ballmer and Sinofsky) who think that forcing Metro on the desktop is needed to compete with the iPad. This plan will fail and this author will show himself to be just as out of touch with reality as Sinofsky.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 05:29 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

There's nothing wrong with eye candy.

Also, many vsti makers opt to emulate the look of real hardware because it provides familiarity for the countless number of people who use and/or are used to real hardware.

Reply Score: 2

False dichotomy
by Gone fishing on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 07:51 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

Using an architectural analogy we are presented with the view that Bauhaus is superior to mock Tudor - but I wouldn't choose to live in either.

Reply Score: 3

siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

There are many things that bother me in Lion. Well no, mainly two things. Contacts and iCal. Good Lord, they are ugly.

However, there is another theme that seems to be repeated in these comments and that's how systems were somehow easier (ergo more correct) in the days of yore. I can't help but feel it's because we expect so much more and we get things done so much faster now that we really take for granted how far things have come.

We expect to be able to navigate and send data between applications so quickly that maybe the old Apple UI guidelines type approach (i'm talking about when every window had to look and behave the same) might make it more cumbersome, not less.

Just a thought...

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

I'm going to be honest and say this: I have owned a Mac Mini with Lion for almost a year now. I've owned a MacBook since 2008. MacBook went from Leopard to Snow Leopard to Lion (this last week.) Lion just works. Lion seems more stable on my hardware (admittedly, went directly to 10.7.4.) Weird things, like flakey WiFi, seem to have cleared up (though I didn't migrate my profile this time...) Lion on the same hardware as Snow Leo feels comfortable. Best upgrade I've done for a while. (caveat, this Macbook still triple boots Snow Leo, Win 7 pro and Lion - I just blatted my Leopard partition to install Lion.)

Reply Score: 1

siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

Sure those are updates that bring with them the benefits of a mature system. I was simply referring to whether the strict Apple GUI guidelines Apple was famous for (Pre os 10.0 ) are still as valuable today where data flows between applications far more rapidly than it did in those days.

Apple flouts it's on rules more and more with every release. Clearly many people *here* view it as a bad thing. I'm just wondering if there isn't a a degree of necessity that dictates this shift.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The bigger issue is that we're moving away again from the document-centric ideal, back to an application-centric world. In the latter, the application is the star, and as such, gets more attention than what actually matters (the document or content).

In a document-centric world, applications must get out of your way and hence they ought to be as consistent and unobtrusive as possible - with the ultimate goal being that applications become loose collections of components, with document calling individual components instead of entire applications.

I always thought this was what we were working towards, but somewhere we did a 180 and regressed back to the MS-DOS days. What a shame. I don't give a rat's ass about applications or their developers - I care about my shit.

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

The bigger issue is that we're moving away again from the document-centric ideal, back to an application-centric world...

In a document-centric world, applications must get out of your way and hence they ought to be as consistent and unobtrusive as possible...with document calling individual components instead of entire applications.


I swear, there are times when I wonder if you and I are long lost brothers or something; I feel like I'm reading my own quotes up there. I've been pushing for a return to document/workflow-centric paradigms for many years now, but I think you're right: We are losing that war.

Reply Score: 2

siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

Do you mean Document-centric in an OpenDoc type approach?

For me, I find documents becoming less and less relevant as the Data they contain (including presentation of the data) tends to exist in various places. I might have a .doc a pdf and a copy on google docs of the same document. Only the actual data within it matters. Increasingly, applications pass data to each other via APIs and keep local (often hidden documents).

What difference does it make if where the focus lies? If applications are too cumbersome they will be replaced by less cumbersome ones.

For me, I think looking for a one size fits all document-centric approach sounds nice but also like an impossible ideal.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

What difference does it make if where the focus lies?


A huge one. Now, if I want to edit a bit of text in a word document, I have to load up ALL of Word - even if the doc only has text in it, it still loads up everything else, unrelated to text editing.

In a proper document-centric approach, you'd load up the doc, and when you start editing text, it automatically loads the appropriate text editing engine (preferably all standardised), and ONLY that. If you double click on a picture in the doc, the picture editing component is loaded.

An ideal, for sure, but something I always thought we were working towards.

Reply Score: 1

siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

Actually you can open Word or Text Edit, or Google docs, or Pages, etc, etc.

Provided the applications plays nice with the data, you have options to load the one you find least obtrusive.

I think the ideal you are reffering has too many design problems. You would need a standardized document component model which would add complexity rather than remove it. I think Apple's OpenDoc experiment provides a useful reference.

Rather than trying to plan and design something like that, let the Applications fight it out. Those that play nice and are least obtrusive will win. - OK, that's also in an ideal world, but it requires a less ideal one than yours. Especially as yours has unicorns!

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

An ideal, for sure, but something I always thought we were working towards.


No. That idea died in the 2000's. I remember when it was a buzz word (circa 1998 - 2000) in the company I was working for. The IT Director decided we would gut all of our tools and make a fully component based approach. The analysis tool would sit on the computation engine. The document viewer would sit on the computation engine. It would all be COM-like (this was Windows NT4 era) but not COM. We started to create this product (it was more complicated than I list here, many more components, but I don't have time to go in to specifics..)

I left the company around April 2000. My last week I spent time with the team working on the component project. I'd been mainly maintaining the current builds, as this was the bread an butter of the company. Components were unproven. I asked for a demo... I wished I hadn't. The demo did everything the old tools did. But where the old tools batched the process (as they were specific tools), this monstrosity had a shell that loaded components on demand. So, rather than using batched of data processed over night, it processed the entire batch at time of "displaying" the final result. It took an hour. I asked about caching, but I was told the architecture was too loose to really make that work. Because nothing was specific and everything fitted together so loosely, it was pretty hard to get anything working efficiently without hardcoding functionality. That defeated the purpose.

So, I visited them again a few years later. You know what? They'd jettisoned that entire team, save 1 manager, run out of money, laid off all the other developers and had hired contractors to maintain the original source base that I'd worked on for 2 years. The "generic" product was gone.

After all that rambling anecdotal reminiscing, what conclusion can I put forward? Component based software is ridiculously hard to get working in the manor you describe. No one was working towards what you describe. Not really. You would need an architecture predefined that could handle anything you throw at it, and that is a fractal that just has no solution at the moment. Since my first encounter with componentized development, no company I have ever worked for in the last 10+ years has ever attempted anything as ambitious as that (and I've worked/contracted in a lot of different industries.) It's just too complicated for a single company to achieve without a lot of other external companies buying in to the idea.

Reply Score: 3

redshift Member since:
2006-05-06

The bigger issue is that we're moving away again from the document-centric ideal, back to an application-centric world. In the latter, the application is the star, and as such, gets more attention than what actually matters (the document or content).


It is one of the reasons I find iOS difficult for content creation. The creative work I do on the desktop is made much harder for me when I can't freely move my content between apps as I can in the desktop world. Each app is its own walled garden for content due to a lack of filesystem management and interoperability.

Reply Score: 1

Trollbait article
by wocowboy on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 10:48 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

Who cares? Some people like fake leather and torn bits of paper and some people don't. The world does not end or stop turning because it exists or does not. I used to use WindowBlinds desktop themes that brought all sorts of fun looks to my Windows desktop, steampunk devices and buttons, how is that different from what this article is railing about. It's called personal preference and is what makes being able to have your desktop look the way YOU want it to, instead of what Mike Elgan wants.

Along with seemingly everyone else on here, I also loathe the Win 8 desktop and the entire experience, from using the previews. The Jekyll/Hyde thing turned me off within 5 minutes of using the first preview.

Reply Score: 1

Skeuomorphism seems to be selling
by Chrispynutt on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 14:50 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

Thing is skeuomorphism seems to be selling. iPhones are still flying off shelves and Android phones with custom launchers are selling just as a fast. WP7 seems to be like the minimalist packaging designs on 'The Die Line', loved by designers and ignored by the general public.

Also have you seen iPhone cases, they take those minimalist lines and turn them into a gameboy, cassette tape or Angry Birds scene.

I get the whole skeuomorphism backlash and I understand the theory. However much like a lot of popular culture, bad taste seems to be the taste of the day.

Reply Score: 2