Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th May 2010 23:11 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Ah, Jakob Nielsen. Anyone who has ever been involved with serious document design or web usability will know his name. If you've never heard of him, the best way to describe him would probably be this: he's the Richard Stallman of usability. He has a set of very clear ideas about user interface and document design, which more often than not get in the way of beauty. He has performed a usability study, with real users, on the iPad.
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It'll get better with time
by Nicholas Blachford on Tue 11th May 2010 23:55 UTC
Nicholas Blachford
Member since:
2005-07-06

The iPad is a new device and offers a new way of interacting with it. As such I think there'll be a lot of experimentation as developers figure out what works and what doesn't.

I remember on the Amiga many years ago the lack of guidelines lead to a lot of software with weird and wonderful UIs. A lot of this was bad, but there were also gems where the UI was amazingly good. I suspect the same will happen here.

I initially wasn't interested in getting an iPad (I seen it's benefit immediately but I also saw that it was not targeted at me). I've since thought of an idea for an app (with an interesting UI) so I've ordered one.

However it's only one aspect of the UI I want to make "interesting", for the rest, guidelines like these are very useful.

Reply Score: 2

RE: It'll get better with time
by Delgarde on Wed 12th May 2010 01:17 in reply to "It'll get better with time"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

The iPad is a new device and offers a new way of interacting with it. As such I think there'll be a lot of experimentation as developers figure out what works and what doesn't.

I remember on the Amiga many years ago the lack of guidelines lead to a lot of software with weird and wonderful UIs.


The key being "many years ago" - the UI model has been pretty settled for over 20 years now, the basics having not changed much since the early days of Windows and Mac.

And in those days, one of the strengths of the Mac was that Apple provided guidelines to encourage developers to build UI that would be consistent with all the others - those guidelines weren't always followed, but they were there. That doesn't seem to be the case with iPhone / iPad apps. You'd think that given the myriad reasons why an app can be rejected from the store, not following the platform's UI conventions would be one of them...

Reply Parent Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The key being "many years ago" - the UI model has been pretty settled for over 20 years now, the basics having not changed much since the early days of Windows and Mac.


Thats just silly. Sure, certain conventions have been settled upon on desktops regardless of OS, but that is because nearly all desktop GUIs share the same input device - the mouse. The mouse and how it works is the reason most of these conventions exist - take away the mouse and everything changes.

Multipoint touch interfaces require different approaches to be successful. iPhones/iPads are essentially still in the experimentation stage - there is no "right" way to do UIs for them, people (including Apple) are still trying to nail down what works best. The LAST thing we want at this point is standardizing the UI to the point of discouraging experimentation - its way too early to nail things down that tightly. Its going to take a few more years in my opinion before the UI for these kinds of devices reaches the maturity level required to start thinking we no longer need to explore how best to utilize them.

Reply Parent Score: 5

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

what happens when you click on an image in safari, vs iphoto, vs photoshop? I think a lot of nielsons criticisms could be applied to any computer platform, include the mac.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21


The key being "many years ago" - the UI model has been pretty settled for over 20 years now, the basics having not changed much since the early days of Windows and Mac.

And in those days, one of the strengths of the Mac was that Apple provided guidelines to encourage developers to build UI that would be consistent with all the others - those guidelines weren't always followed, but they were there. That doesn't seem to be the case with iPhone / iPad apps. You'd think that given the myriad reasons why an app can be rejected from the store, not following the platform's UI conventions would be one of them...


…except Apple have published Human Interface Guidelines for developing iPhone and iPad apps http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/UserExperie... *sigh*

Edited for clairity. The topmost level of quoting is broken.

Edited 2010-05-12 22:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: It'll get better with time
by Kroc on Wed 12th May 2010 09:03 in reply to "It'll get better with time"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

The iPad is a new device and offers a new way of interacting with it


Tablets have been with us since the ’80s.

The iPad is just the first such device to see success because Apple sweated the user-experience details where others were trying to force a mouse-based design to fit.

But yes, there will be an easing out period as developers get to grips with the platform. It isn’t easy designing a touch-based interface using a mouse-based development system.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: It'll get better with time
by JAlexoid on Wed 12th May 2010 09:59 in reply to "It'll get better with time"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

The iPad is a new device and offers a new way of interacting with it. As such I think there'll be a lot of experimentation as developers figure out what works and what doesn't.

I remember on the Amiga many years ago the lack of guidelines lead to a lot of software with weird and wonderful UIs. A lot of this was bad, but there were also gems where the UI was amazingly good. I suspect the same will happen here.

I initially wasn't interested in getting an iPad (I seen it's benefit immediately but I also saw that it was not targeted at me). I've since thought of an idea for an app (with an interesting UI) so I've ordered one.

However it's only one aspect of the UI I want to make "interesting", for the rest, guidelines like these are very useful.

Yet, most of the issues are carried over from iPhone. And iPhone is 3 years old.

PS: The inconsistent back button, is the thing I hate the most about iPhone OS(there is nothing more annoying) and love the consistency that Android phones give there.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21


PS: The inconsistent back button, is the thing I hate the most about iPhone OS(there is nothing more annoying) and love the consistency that Android phones give there.


Hmm, I used an Android Nexus one and a Backflip and there was nothing consistent about any of the apps. In particular, the photo Gallery app did not have clearly labelled exits (back buttons).

The thing is, it's really up to the developer to do the right thing. Many iPhone apps *are* consistent in this regards. The UIViewController navigation model even provides a firm foundation for putting breadcrumbs and back buttons into your app easily.

Edited 2010-05-12 22:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2