Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 20th Jan 2013 23:42 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Ever since I bought my HTC HD7 way back in October 2010, I have been hooked on Windows Phone. Without even being able to test-drive the new operating system (The Netherlands didn't get Windows Phone 7 until a year later), I imported the HD7 from the US - the minimalist, stark, clean, flat, and textual interface spoke to me, and I just knew I would like it. And like it, I did.
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Digital vs Analog really ?
by delta0.delta0 on Mon 21st Jan 2013 02:12 UTC
delta0.delta0
Member since:
2010-06-01

I don't know about that label between the designs. Maybe futuristic vs retro ? Analogue doesn't fit well, shadows, gradients translucency and transparency are not really analogue they are not retro either, but you could say the "digital" side is pretty retro except that Holo is pretty futuristic looking and not retro, I don't know it just didn't read right in places.

Who cares what Gruber says ?, I don't understand why you let him wind you up so much. He is an apple fanatic, there are a minority that wholesale buy into the marketing and brand of a platform, he makes a tonne of money from it. I absolutely agree with you though Apple is probably working on a new futuristic interface and this is his way of trying to side step all that has come already.


On a side note, you have a strong weakness for Microsoft platforms, it is evident in a lot of the articles you publish or comment on, we all have a bias, its inherent to all of us, to say I have no bias I support everything and nothing is just impossible. If you are human and have a passion for a specific field, you will have a bias and they will colour your words, its as simple as that. To not admit it is to lie to yourself, because deep down you know this bias exists.

This is probably why you think the Metro interface is such a "visually unique interface". Why you think "Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, Google) has taken over the baton, reaping all the praise for its innovative and unique Metro interface - and there are people in this world who simply cannot accept the fact that the tables have turned."

Metro as you mentioned goes back to the Zune (and even windows 2 or 3 to some extent, its a pretty retro interface in places) which was a commercial flop, low and behold they port it to everything windows and sales in all windows product lines are flopping, its a bad interface, if we just go by sales.

You think it doesn't sell because its too different, I look at it and see a boring / bland interface.

http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/windows-phone...

That is the interface, its all monotone everything looks the same, I don't see how that grid of pseudo icons excites you so much. There is no detail just a mainly monotone colour, plastered all over your screen and this is meant to excite the masses ?


I am not all that keen on walking around with a yellow phone or brightly coloured phones generally, its like the people that drive Yellow Porsches, I see 1 of them and instantly think you dick. Its just a bit childish. If I want to add colour I could buy a silicone cover in some bright colour, but I would rather look at the screen rather than be distracted by the phone. I like Sony's design ethos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktIhuJA_92I

This is what I think you miss, your so distracted by the UI of the OS that you miss the purpose of the device, the content, the use and most importantly the applications. In terms of hardware, the stuff Sony is doing with NFC is really cool as well, touch the tv remote to display the phone screen on the tv is really useful.

So for you the metro interface may be "innovative and unique", but to others like me its pretty monotone and bland, with hardly any real configurability, can you even apply a good background wallpaper to it ?.

It does nothing for the content, it doesn't improve usability in any meaningful way (in fact some if not most would agree that windows 8 usability is just awful with a mouse and keyboard) and it does nothing for the content / applications either (again this is worse - no proper window handling in the metro side of windows 8 ).

Is change just for the purpose of being different better? is it really innovative ? Does Metro improve usability does it make the applications more accessible ? I think if you were to honestly answer these questions, you would realise why the interface is a flop. The same reason why Apple "natural" scrolling is just a dumb ass idea as well.

Reply Score: 6

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

yeah, its a terrible, terrible, terrible labeling system that completely distracts from the discussion Thom is trying to start. It couldn't be worse labeling, I'd take Bieber UI vs Gaga UI over this nonsense.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Digital vs Analog really ?
by tomcat on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Digital vs Analog really ?"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

yeah, its a terrible, terrible, terrible labeling system that completely distracts from the discussion Thom is trying to start. It couldn't be worse labeling, I'd take Bieber UI vs Gaga UI over this nonsense.


You're obsessing over the wrong details, and Thom is essentially right here: It's about Skeuomorphism (modeling the analog world) versus Digital (modeling digital design).

Reply Score: 3

RE: Digital vs Analog really ?
by bentoo on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 20:10 UTC in reply to "Digital vs Analog really ?"
bentoo Member since:
2012-09-21

Does Metro improve usability does it make the applications more accessible ? I think if you were to honestly answer these questions, you would realise why the interface is a flop.


Honestly yes. To me Metro does improve usability as it provides me with more "at a glance" information than Android or iOS.

As far as "applications more accessible" that is kind of hard to gauge. iOS doesn't have a home screen and Android's default app drawer is a mess (lacking any customization/organization options). Either way it's about the same number of touches to get to a non-pinned application on WP as it is on Android or iOS.

Reply Score: 1

Thoughtful and balanced
by Nelson on Mon 21st Jan 2013 04:14 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Nicely done.

My problem with the overuse of textures is that they make your app lack future proofing for varying resolutions. Your texture may look nice on your 800x480 screen, but bump it up to a higher resolution for example and you'll get a lot of fuzziness.

The solution to this on iOS have been these insane high resolution textures which make apps almost comically large in size.

Its a shame because a digital interface on a retina display (buzzword overload) would look absolutely phenomenal.

I don't think pure digital is here to stay, and we'll find a nice equilibrium in the future. I think Holo has it about right in terms of balance and visual identity, but the way they use Holo in Android, to me isn't as thoughtful as it could be.

A Holo based UI which eschewed the grid of icons and stopped trying to be like iOS would be pretty compelling. Something like how Jolla uses edge gestures in Sailfish and still maintains some semblance of a digital look.

On the flip side, Metro is a significant design hurdle for developers. Its a lot easier to design a good looking app in iOS or Android. Metro takes a lot of thought. Text plays a huge role. Visual structure is defined by the text, so font faces, sizes, and decorations are especially important.

For the sole developer that's a problem. Using Metro to its maximum potential requires you sometimes to rethink how you'd traditionally design an app.

Also while with skeumorphic displays you can add "flare" to your otherwise identical looking app by using textures, using Metro it is much easier to have every app look like this big black void with white text.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Mon 21st Jan 2013 05:07 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Thom, the pointer isn't hidden on touchscreen devices; It's just located someplace else.

http://tinyurl.com/bbu9rz9

It's attached to your hand.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by ssokolow on Mon 21st Jan 2013 06:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

<span>Thom, the pointer isn't hidden on touchscreen devices; It's just located someplace else.

http://tinyurl.com/bbu9rz9" http://tinyurl.com/bbu9rz9</a>...

It's attached to your hand.</span>


Depends on what Thom meant. If he meant the pointer as implemented in the software, then it is hidden.

Makes using Android for x86 in VirtualBox a pain because you have to choose between "seamless mouse mode" (which fakes a touchscreen and causes Android to hide the cursor) and "old-style mouse" mode where you get a cursor but you have to press a key to release the mouse whenever you want to move it outside the VM window.

Reply Score: 3

Another example of digital design?
by kwan_e on Mon 21st Jan 2013 05:16 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18
EternalFacepalm Member since:
2010-09-02

I dunno... the navigation menu screams "metro", but the tap-dancing book screams "Forstall wet dream"

Reply Score: 1

Non-WIMP intefaces
by Neolander on Mon 21st Jan 2013 06:45 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Regarding non-WIMP interfaces, I'd argue that it's very well possible. One well-known example would be most CLI interfaces, which use no icons, and are generally not based on pointing, although pointing is possible as the interfaces to the links web browser and some Debian tools showcase. Another, more prospective example, would be some possible implementations of zooming user interfaces (see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooming_user_interface ).

But it's very understandable that no one spent a lot of time exploring these directions for computer UIs if you ask me. Everyone is familiar with the WIMP paradigm, and it has been versatile enough to power the interface to every electronic device out there long before computers were even capable of displaying graphics. So why bother with an alien paradigm that is likely to cause trouble to untrained users ?

Edited 2013-01-21 07:06 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Digital design is plain ugly
by Alexey Technologov on Mon 21st Jan 2013 07:30 UTC
Alexey Technologov
Member since:
2007-03-16

Digital design is plain ugly and is a huge step back, a regression from the beautiful analog designs.

Visually, advanced analog designs, such as Mac OS X (Aqua) and Windows (Vista/7; Aero Glass) and iPhone/iOS beats the crap of Windows 8/Phone 8 and digital designs.

The reason I'm using Android, is because Apple lacks Freedom. And I demand Freedom-respecting devices.

-Alexey Eromenko "Technologov"

Reply Score: 5

RE: Digital design is plain ugly
by Morgan on Mon 21st Jan 2013 11:16 UTC in reply to "Digital design is plain ugly"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Digital design is plain ugly and is a huge step back, a regression from the beautiful analog designs.

Visually, advanced analog designs, such as Mac OS X (Aqua) and Windows (Vista/7; Aero Glass) and iPhone/iOS beats the crap of Windows 8/Phone 8 and digital designs.


That's purely subjective; everyone has their own feelings on this subject. There was a time in the past when I was all for the analog, drop-shadow and wobbly windows effects you could get with compositing WMs. These days, I want the GUI to take a step back and get out of my way so I can get work done. The less unnecessary distraction, the better! But again that's just my perspective.


The reason I'm using Android, is because Apple lacks Freedom. And I demand Freedom-respecting devices.


That has zero to do with this discussion, and I have no clue why you brought it up. But since you did, I have to say that you're fooling yourself; Android may be based on a Free software stack but it's no more Free than iOS. Just as OS X/iOS are based on FreeBSD, yet they are not Free OSes given all the proprietary crap included, so it is with Android (albeit to a lesser extent).

Just because you can sideload apps and get certain portions of last year's source code does not mean Android is Free software. For a much better analysis than I could ever provide, please go here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/sep/19/android-free-softw...

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Digital design is plain ugly
by tkeith on Mon 21st Jan 2013 17:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Digital design is plain ugly"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01


That has zero to do with this discussion, and I have no clue why you brought it up. But since you did, I have to say that you're fooling yourself; Android may be based on a Free software stack but it's no more Free than iOS. Just as OS X/iOS are based on FreeBSD, yet they are not Free OSes given all the proprietary crap included, so it is with Android (albeit to a lesser extent).


What if he just meant freedom to sideload apps and customize the phone to his liking. Not everyone wants or cares about a stallman-esce version of "freedom". I think he was just saying why he doesn't personally use iOS, despite liking the design.

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Look at his post again. There's a difference between freedom and Freedom, with the latter generally used to denote F/OSS.

Granted, it could just be his personal writing style, but I definitely got the sense it was about respect towards open source.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

What if he just meant freedom to sideload apps and customize the phone to his liking. Not everyone wants or cares about a stallman-esce version of "freedom".


That IS the Stallman-esque version of freedom.

Reply Score: 3

Skeuomorphism Must Die
by HappyGod on Mon 21st Jan 2013 08:11 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

I listen to loads of podcasts. In fact it's pretty much 90% of what I do with my iPhone.

For those who don't have an iPhone and/or missed the image in this article. Check out the width of the seek slider control on the iPhone:

http://static.squarespace.com/static/50271a61c4aab6c54f9af5ee/50281...

It is 1px wide. It does allow a bit of latitude either side of it, but not much. It's borderline unusable.

Apple seriously needs to put a bullet in this skeuomorphism crap.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Skeuomorphism Must Die
by Kitty on Mon 21st Jan 2013 10:17 UTC in reply to "Skeuomorphism Must Die"
Kitty Member since:
2005-10-01

The fact that a thin red line doesn't have enough (possibly hidden) grip space to be easily dragged has hardly anything to do with the skeuomorphism of the interface it lives in.
It's just a badly designed piece of UI.

Actually, in that - truly awful indeed - image you have posted the seeker bar is the _least_ skeuomorphic element. Afaik analog players, mixers and editing devices never had draggable cursors for the timeline, they always relied on counters + speed buttons or knobs/jog dials.

The timeline with a draggable seeker is _functionally_ the most digital era thing in there, even though it has been give a retro look to integrate with the rest... so I'm wondering if we aren't mixing up pure aesthetics with design.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Skeuomorphism Must Die
by HappyGod on Mon 21st Jan 2013 10:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Skeuomorphism Must Die"
HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

It's exactly that "retro look" that I'm complaining about. While it doesn't replicate an analogue element of the same function, it is modeled after an analogue function that looks similar to a digital element they wanted to include. Namely it's modeled after a radio tuning needle.

That's close enough for me.

No skeuomorphism. No need to find analogue doppelgänger. No angry podcast listeners.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Skeuomorphism Must Die
by MOS6510 on Mon 21st Jan 2013 11:06 UTC in reply to "Skeuomorphism Must Die"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I listen to podcasts, but not using the podcast app. Still, I have it and just tried it and I had no problem dragging the little red line.

But I do agree that in this case they overdid the skeuomorphism and it's a negative on the usability.

(I don't use the podcast app, because it doesn't keep in synch with my podcasts in iTunes. Instead I listen to them in the car using an iPod nano and an FM transmitter or at home using iTunes.)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Skeuomorphism Must Die
by Deviate_X on Mon 21st Jan 2013 15:50 UTC in reply to "Skeuomorphism Must Die"
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

I do appreciate clean lines and clarity of "digital". I do think Microsoft went a little too extreme with it in WP7. WP8 feels better on my 920 giving way to more “personality” and individuality. Microsoft needs to relax a little more and give the user/developer more control.

Yes, we need less fake wood panelling in digital UIs, but we also need to be able to distinguish one from the other without having to resort to reading the text. After all what is the point of the graphic if it renders one indistinguishable from its other?

http://www.drivehq.com/Help/doc/image/em33.JPG

Reply Score: 3

Digital really?
by Chrispynutt on Mon 21st Jan 2013 09:43 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

Looks like 20th Century Swiss Modernism to me. Which for the most part pre-dates the use of computers in design.

It's just the skeu of print design as apposed to the skeu of product design.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Beerfloat
by Beerfloat on Mon 21st Jan 2013 10:54 UTC
Beerfloat
Member since:
2011-06-05

Thom, forget about the pointer for a sec (or the mouse, for that matter). Where are the windows in these supposed WIMP interfaces?

There aren't any. Contemporary mobile interfaces are defined by a pretty solid split between task selection and the tasks themselves. IOS does this, and Android, and Windows Phone is no different. Whether it is done by rows of icons, or widgets, or.. tiles, it doesn't change the paradigm. Sure, widgets and tiles give a tiny peephole to some data from the underlying app, but it's mostly view-only, and IOS icons are becoming more dynamic as well (red numbers to indicate new mails or items, little blue corners to say NEW, and the like).

The other side of the split is the full-screen application mode, which in most cases looks like a walkable tree of options.

So, Windows Phone ditches windows just like everybody else (its very name is not exactly in exercise in truth in advertising, is it) and then tries so hard to look different, it ends up looking like TELETEXT knocked up a Bloomberg terminal after a night of binge drinking. Is it really a plus that a 2012-design could be rendered by a CGA card? Do you applaud this ugly mess out of a contrarian kind of punk rock ethic? Is Metro really some sort of in-joke, a new avantgarde that does everything to be anything but aesthetically pleasing? Something for conaisseurs, that the unwashed masses just can not appreciate?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 21st Jan 2013 10:57 UTC in reply to "Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Where are the windows in these supposed WIMP interfaces?


"A window runs a self-contained program, isolated from other programs that (if in a multi-program operating system) run at the same time in other windows."

If you full-screen a window on Windows 7, does it magically cease to be a window?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Beerfloat on Mon 21st Jan 2013 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Beerfloat"
Beerfloat Member since:
2011-06-05

Is Linux ALT-F1, F2 etc, or the 'screen' utility, now also a WIMP interface?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 21st Jan 2013 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Is Linux ALT-F1, F2 etc, or the 'screen' utility, now also a WIMP interface?


Considering those do not contain any of the WIMP elements - no.

You didn't answer my question, though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Beerfloat on Mon 21st Jan 2013 11:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Beerfloat Member since:
2011-06-05

Actually, if you run gpm, you get the mouse and the pointer bit.

I didn't answer your question because it was somewhat absurd - and my followup was in line with that. The fact that a window can be made fullscreen (and reverse) is a logical consequence of the windowing interface at work. I know you understand that the reverse isn't true - IOS and WP apps can not be scaled down to use only a section of the display - and therefore these OSs are not WIMP either.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Beerfloat
by phoenix on Mon 21st Jan 2013 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Except that they can. Samsung does it in Touchwiz on their latest devices running Android 4.x (2 apps running at once, each taking up half the display).

There are other apps for Android that allow you to do the same.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Beerfloat
by mkone on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 02:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Beerfloat"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

"Where are the windows in these supposed WIMP interfaces?


"A window runs a self-contained program, isolated from other programs that (if in a multi-program operating system) run at the same time in other windows."

If you full-screen a window on Windows 7, does it magically cease to be a window?
"

Non sequitur.

And yes, it does cease to be a window if you cannot click onto another window directly from it. The whole idea of Windows was that you had graphical user elements from your active programs coexisting on your computer monitor, and you use a pointing device (usually a mouse) to activate the application you want to interact with, and you get some context awareness to go with it.

Smartphones (including Android, iOS and WP7/8) are not WIMP because they have neither windows nor pointers. You could even argue they don't have menus in the traditional sense.

You can't retcon WIMP to mean what you want it to mean.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And yes, it does cease to be a window if you cannot click onto another window directly from it.


Really?

That's a completely new requirement for the definition of a window that you just came up with there.

Arbitrary bullshit, I'd sday, to make it seem as if the jump from desktop to smartphone/tablet is more significant a paradigm shift than it really is. Kind of like how people claim that using a finger instead of a mouse substantially alters the interface paradigm.

Nice marketing talk, but nonsense when you look at the science and definitions.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat
by maccouch on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Beerfloat"
maccouch Member since:
2012-03-14

"And yes, it does cease to be a window if you cannot click onto another window directly from it.


Really?

That's a completely new requirement for the definition of a window that you just came up with there.

Arbitrary bullshit, I'd sday, to make it seem as if the jump from desktop to smartphone/tablet is more significant a paradigm shift than it really is. Kind of like how people claim that using a finger instead of a mouse substantially alters the interface paradigm.

Nice marketing talk, but nonsense when you look at the science and definitions.
"

Seriously?! it's right there in the wikipedia article, you yourself linked to!:
"Though the term has fallen into disuse, some use it incorrectly as an approximate synonym for graphical user interface (GUI). Any interface that uses graphics can be called a GUI, and WIMP systems derive from such systems. However, while all WIMP systems use graphics as a key element (the icon and pointer elements), and therefore are GUIs, the reverse is not true. Some GUIs are not based in windows, icons, menus, and pointers. For example, most mobile phones represent actions as icons, and some may have menus, but very few include a pointer or run programs in a window."


yes, if a window is maximized and i don't have any control over it, then it stops to be a WIMP interface and it just becomes a GUI. You see it all the time on electronic kiosks that are set up by companies or the state, to provide access to some sort of information. At that moment, since i can't just go hit the minize button, it becomes a GUI and not a WIMP. WIMP envolves mutiple Windows observable and actionable at the the same time. Why is that so hard for you to understand!? if it's just a GUI fullscreen it's not WIMP. So, apart from the touchwiz hack and the windows8 80/20 split, no present phone OS can be considered WIMP.

[And since when are we using wikipedia articles as definitions?...]

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Beerfloat
by maccouch on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat"
maccouch Member since:
2012-03-14

also, as you already know i don't agree with gruber but this reply to him is full of holes and misunderstandings.

Gruber didn't mean that skeumorphism was going away with more pixels, he meant that it was going away with the "retina resolutions". Now, retina does mean more pixels physically but it doesn't mean an increase in the pixel display for the interface since, as you know, Apple has just mantained the Screen resolution where one virtual pixel now means 4 pixels anti-aliased. it does increase clearness and "crispiness" in the display and you cannot simply consider it a continuation of the previous increases in virtual&phyisical resolution.

Also, you can't simply pick the interfaces a decade ago and state they are somewhat the precursors of the present jump to today's "digital design". to be a precursor there had to be a continuous line to today and not just "please ignore everything that happened between".

"old" interfaces were simple and clean because you didn't had hardware to do more. When you had, the increase in silliness as the Aqua&Aero desktops themes appeared. Now you're having a jump in the opposite direction, simply because everyone went a little to far. I agree with you that Microsoft and windows 8 are the bleeding edge on that, i just don't agree that it was some sort of continuous (apart from the zune).

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

For example, most mobile phones represent actions as icons, and some may have menus, but very few include a pointer or run programs in a window."


Oh really?

http://postimage.org/image/aovewnt03/

Aren't those windows?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by Beerfloat
by maccouch on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:20 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Beerfloat"
maccouch Member since:
2012-03-14

can you act on them? or are they just "screenhots" of apps for selection?

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:27 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Ah, so a new requirement is that we are supposed to be able to act on them in specific, to-be-determined ways? In Android, which has a similar window picker, you can close them. Does that count?

Or is the next new requirement you're going to come up with that they should be maximisable? Or resizable?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:40 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

can you act on them? or are they just "screenhots" of apps for selection?


To expand on this: you do realise that the first windows couldn't be acted upon at all, right? They couldn't be moved or overlapped - heck, they didn't even have visible boundaries!

The gist of what I'm trying to make clear to you: just because you can't think beyond the type of window Windows or Mac OS X gives you doesn't mean that is, by definition, the only kind of window.

To beat this dead horse again: just because modern cars virtually all have airbags doesn't mean the airbag is what defines a car. For a long period of time, windows didn't have all the features you arbitrarily require of it today to be called a "window", and in fact, the Wikipedia definition recognizes this:

"In computing, a window is a visual area containing some kind of user interface. It usually has a rectangular shape that can overlap with the area of other windows. It displays the output of and may allow input to one or more processes."

Edited 2013-01-22 15:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Beerfloat on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:27 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Beerfloat Member since:
2011-06-05

" For example, most mobile phones represent actions as icons, and some may have menus, but very few include a pointer or run programs in a window."


Oh really?

http://postimage.org/image/aovewnt03/

Aren't those windows?
"

No, those aren't windows.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:31 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

No, those aren't windows.


Funny. When I press and hold the back button, the current window moves down in the Z-axis to reveal the list of currently opened windows.

Are webOS' cards - which could be closed, groupe, and moved around - windows? They can do everything windows can, except resize. Is resize the crucial criterion?

I'm just trying to set a baseline here.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Beerfloat
by phoenix on Mon 21st Jan 2013 17:57 UTC in reply to "Comment by Beerfloat"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Thom, forget about the pointer for a sec (or the mouse, for that matter). Where are the windows in these supposed WIMP interfaces?


Samsung allows you to run two programs side-by-side on Android 4.x (Note, Note II, and Galaxy S3; probably their tablets as well).

The notifications slide down in their own window over top of whatever is currently running.

Pull up the recent tasks list and it runs in its own window over top of whatever is currently running.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Beerfloat on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Beerfloat"
Beerfloat Member since:
2011-06-05

Well that's Android for you, isn't it? People can do what they want with it, which is cool in my book, though I've heard some others claim this kind of fragmentation is not a net positive.

But that's neither here nor there. There's a reference Android out there, and despite the availability of some cool hacks, I don't think anyone can seriously claim Google designed Android <= 4.x as a windowed operating system. Anyone aside from Thom, that is.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 11:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't think anyone can seriously claim Google designed Android <= 4.x as a windowed operating system. Anyone aside from Thom, that is.


And yet, nobody's been able to provide a counterargument to my statement - other than adding arbitrary restrictions to the established definition.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat
by Beerfloat on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 15:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Beerfloat"
Beerfloat Member since:
2011-06-05

And yet, nobody's been able to provide a counterargument to my statement - other than adding arbitrary restrictions to the established definition.


Probably because the statement is so non-specific and lacking in context as to become meaningless. Here's what you copy/pasted from Wikipedia:
"A window runs a self-contained program, isolated from other programs that (if in a multi-program operating system) run at the same time in other windows."


If your reading of that definition of a window were to be mistaken for conclusive, any visual output from programs in a multitasking OS would qualify as windows. In order to be able to lump full-screen task switching mobile operating systems in with the WIMP crowd, you ignore 40 years of computing history defining what those 'other windows' look and behave like.

In fact, the very Wiki page that you lifted your definition from notes the following, just 2 lines before the sentence you selected:
Some GUIs are not based in windows, icons, menus, and pointers. For example, most mobile phones represent actions as icons, and some may have menus, but very few include a pointer or run programs in a window.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Beerfloat
by dragossh on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Beerfloat"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

I'll just point you to some developer documentation:

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/windowsviews/...

http://developer.android.com/reference/android/view/Window.html

Just because they don't have a titlebar or can't be resized doesn't mean they aren't windows.

Edited 2013-01-22 17:02 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Pretty but not for me
by wocowboy on Mon 21st Jan 2013 12:37 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

I have to agree that the Windows Phone interface is pretty, the motion/updating effects are interesting though they can be a bit too busy at times, but it can take a bit of effort to realize just exactly what you are seeing being updated, as app labels and icons for those apps don't seem to be considered important for at-a-glance uses. Part of the beauty of both iOS and Android is having a unique, easily-identifyable icon for each app that makes it easy to find and see if it has something to tell you.

But the one "feature" that makes the OS unusable for me is the One-Long-List-of-Apps you have to scroll through. It's horrible if you have a lot of apps installed on your phone. iOS's capability of sorting your apps into individual, nameable "folders" or groups of similar-use apps is just SO much better than just having all your apps in one big long alphabetical list. Especially when they don't have an icon you can remember associated with them for viewing, but that would be too "old-school" I guess. Some apps (on all platforms, not just WP) have catchy, kicky names that have nothing to do with what the app does, which makes it even harder to remember and find what you are looking for. This is the killer feature for me. There are others but they are more minor. Others may find one long list of apps useful, and too each his own, but not me.

Edited 2013-01-21 12:51 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Pretty but not for me
by MOS6510 on Mon 21st Jan 2013 12:51 UTC in reply to "Pretty but not for me"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

If you go to the apps list you can tap a letter and from there jump to any other letter. It's not ideal I guess.

It's a shame you can't group apps. Games are automatically put under "games", but the rest join the big list.

What I also dislike is that some/a lot of tiles have their own color, ignoring the "theme" you select. This includes tiles on the home screen where all my tiles are blue, except for a green one.

Reply Score: 4

terminology
by siraf72 on Mon 21st Jan 2013 13:23 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

I agree that "Skewmorphic" and "flat" are not the best of words but surely using "digital" and "analog" with reference to design elements on an *electronics* product is just plain confusing!?

Reply Score: 5

Differentiation and Cyclical
by siraf72 on Mon 21st Jan 2013 13:35 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

I would agree with those two reasons. MS had a really hard time after iOS and Android exploded onto the smartphone scene. I think the fundamental driver for the flat (sorry, i'm sticking with that word) design approach was to create something that was instantly recognisable as being distinct from both iOS and Android. In that I think they have succeeded.

I think at Apple it has more to do with the personal view of who happens to be calling the shots, rather than an actual design philosophy.

Reply Score: 3

Differentiation and Cyclical
by siraf72 on Mon 21st Jan 2013 13:36 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

I would agree with those two reasons. MS had a really hard time after iOS and Android exploded onto the smartphone scene. I think the fundamental driver for the flat (sorry, i'm sticking with that word) design approach was to create something that was instantly recognisable as being distinct from both iOS and Android. In that I think they have succeeded.

I think at Apple it has more to do with the personal view of who happens to be calling the shots, rather than an actual design philosophy.

Reply Score: 2

False Dichotomy
by andrewclunn on Mon 21st Jan 2013 14:28 UTC
andrewclunn
Member since:
2012-11-05

Interfaces don't follow some line along a continuum form digital to analogue. They are a bunch of individual interface decisions. How do you make a user identify which window they have selected? Giving it a shadow to show that it's "in front" is just a particular design approach. Sliders, vs up and down arrows, vs a nob you turn, just different approaches to the same task. And guess what, I'm sure the 'best' approach from a marketing perspective might not be the best approach from a usability perspective. Also different hardware interfaces (such as a small touch screen or a mouse and pointer) might lend themselves to different software interfaces.

That this article assumes there's any form of "design philosophy" is sort of laughable. Consistent user interface elements are wonderful because then you don't have to learn how to do ever single task over again for each application. No such consistency exists for iOS or Android. And the relative consistency on WIndows phones is perhaps just the result of their being so few apps. This isn't like desktop environments where there's a uniform established approach to handling applications under the OS, where each one exists in a window (from a UI perspective) that are all controlled the same way. This is dirty, do it your own way, mobile app land. And there they haven't bothered to reserve any space for things like a uniform close button for applications, largely because they don't have the space, even though every single application needs to be able to close. So they hide shit in the menus, or they put it on the screen, or they just don't close apps when you leave them and for you to manually stop them to free up memory in a separate application manager.

There's no 'design philosophy.' The only one coming even close to this is Microsoft, who's at least trying to force some standardized UI elements, but we'll see if that lasts when they actually (if they actually) get some applications on their platform.

Reply Score: 2

Digital
by trezzer on Mon 21st Jan 2013 15:32 UTC
trezzer
Member since:
2006-01-05

I've been switching back and forth between iOS 5/6, Android 4.1.2 and WP 7.5. I find that while the inconsistency of Android is a problem (for instance you don't get badges everywhere you might want them), both Android and iOS are more efficient at getting your things done.

Mostly this is because the interfaces are more or less static. There is a good reason why skeuomorphism and iconography are great in computing devices: They make it easy to find your way around. They do not guarantee great design, but when you present a known and easy way of doing things, you are halfway there.

I find it highly problematic that live tiles change around so much. I have often scrolled up and down my home screen on Windows Phone trying to find a specific app I was looking for, but the application icon was obscured by some dynamic content.

When live tiles are used correctly they can be great. For instance "3 notifications" below an icon shows you useful information. You are not likely to sit and stare at the phone till you've read all three bits of news (and depending on the app you won't be able to - even if the screen stays on for long enough).

Show me where there is something new and I will check it out at leisure. I will do it quickly, for I will know where my applications are located thanks to static icon images and manual placement. This works well.

On desktops we've actually had "live tiles" for ages in the form of widgets. The funny thing is widgets are infinitely more useful. They aren't in the way of information/navigation and they merge nicely into a WIMP interface - which is still the best interface we have.

In my opinion Microsoft is getting a free PR ride on this "new interface". I certainly don't find it better and I doubt it'll stick around for very long. The alternatives are simply better.

Don't get me wrong; I like the look of the tiles. I just don't want them on my desktop. And I want them used with care on my phone/tablet.

Reply Score: 3

Bland
by Treza on Mon 21st Jan 2013 21:27 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

I have the impression that the skeuomorphism in Apple products is there to balance the blandness of the actual hardware.

Apple builds chunks of metal and glass without textures, these textures eventually appears on the screen.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bland
by Morgan on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 04:15 UTC in reply to "Bland"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

That's how I've seen it since their push towards grey metal and dark glass over the past decade. The computer itself is the picture frame: Industrial, understated and subtle. The interface is the actual "picture" to be admired, with its popping icons and fluid movements.

Reply Score: 3

Choice
by Treza on Mon 21st Jan 2013 21:57 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

Maybe the users should be given the right to tweak and customise how their computer or phone should look like.

I'm fed up with these egomaniac designers that decides what must be beautiful.

There is also a lack of imagination. It is easy to imitate physical objects or, to the contrary, remove all decorations. I would enjoy seeing things I have never seen before. A bit like what sci-fi movies try to imagine.

Reply Score: 1

good enough
by fran on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 10:46 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

We reached a point where just about all of the current smartphones's UI's are good enough.
It's fun to nitpick but none of them are bad.

Reply Score: 2

OSnews 5
by timalot on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 11:50 UTC
timalot
Member since:
2006-07-17

Please make the OSnews 5 site skeumorphic/analog.... i don't like flat/digital.

I preferred Android 2 UI to Android 4.

Thanks.

Reply Score: 1

RE: OSnews 5
by Treza on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 19:15 UTC in reply to "OSnews 5"
Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

Please let each reader choose the style s/he prefers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: OSnews 5
by tomcat on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 21:22 UTC in reply to "OSnews 5"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Please make the OSnews 5 site skeumorphic/analog.... i don't like flat/digital.

I preferred Android 2 UI to Android 4.

Thanks.


I totally support your right to have bad taste.

Edited 2013-01-22 21:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2