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GUI IOS Operating Systems Programming Windows Apple

Designers Criticize Apple's User Interface For OS X and iOS 484

Hugh Pickens writes "Austin Carr notes that a number of user interface designers have become increasingly critical of Apple's approach to software user interface design. Much of their censure is directed against a trend called skeuomorphism, a term for when objects retain ornamental elements of the past that are no longer necessary to the current objects' functions, such as calendars with faux leather-stitching, bookshelves with wood veneers, fake glass and paper and brushed chrome. A former senior UI designer at Apple who worked closely with Steve Jobs said, 'It's like the designers are flexing their muscles to show you how good of a visual rendering they can do of a physical object. Who cares?' The issue is two-fold: first, that traditional visual metaphors no longer translate to modern users; and second, that excessive digital imitation of real-world objects creates confusion among users. 'I'm old enough, sure, but some of the guys in my office have never seen a Rolodex in real life,' says Designer Gadi Amit. 'Our culture has changed. We don't need translation of the digital medium in mechanical real-life terms. It's an old-fashioned paradigm.' One beneficiary could be Microsoft, where the design of Windows 8 distances itself from skeuomorphism by emphasizing a flat user interface that's minimalist to the core: no bevel, no 3-D flourishes, no glossiness and no drop shadow."
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Designers Criticize Apple's User Interface For OS X and iOS

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  • Skeu (Score:5, Informative)

    by CheShACat ( 999169 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @08:19AM (#41385405) Homepage Journal [] has some cracking examples and a good bit of snark to boot.
  • Too minimalist (Score:5, Informative)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @08:22AM (#41385443)
    The Windows 8 UI is too minimalist. The flat squares look dull and amateurish. The Aero interface has just the right amount of little extra spice here and there.
  • iOS Maps (Score:5, Informative)

    by cormandy ( 513901 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @08:30AM (#41385513)

    The icon that fucks me off the most is the one for the iOS Maps application. The US interstate route sign in the icon (ie route 280) makes absolutely no sense to anyone young or old outside of the United States. A globe or something similar would make more sense....

  • Re:iOS Maps (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @08:42AM (#41385613)

    it is a bit silly, but it's almost an easter egg because it's their headquarters... took me a while until I realised

    but again... to me until then, it was just a map of some roads

  • Re:Jargon (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:18AM (#41385953)

    First off, there are many types of metaphors, so from a purely taxonomical point-of-view, there's nothing wrong with the introduction of a word that describes a particular type of metaphor. Secondly, it's not necessarily about metaphor. Skeuomorphism refers to the practice of carrying over unnecessary elements from one version of a product to another (in most cases, talking about going from an analog or physical object to a digital replacement). For example, the click that you hear when your phone's camera takes a picture is a skeuomorphism. It's added because people are used to the sound that old cameras physically made.

    While the main purpose of skeuomorphism is to create digital metaphors, the term refers to the action of carrying over the elements; the purpose may or may not be to create a metaphor, although that's what happens in most cases. It may seem pedantic to some, but the term does have a valid meaning.

  • by SquarePixel ( 1851068 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:25AM (#41386023)

    As you said, not knowing the OS is the problem. However, some things are clearly intended to distance OS X from Windows, while providing no usability improvement.
    Just the other day, I spent some 45 seconds trying to delete a file the Windows way. First I realized there was no Delete key, which is annoying even if it's not strictly the OS' fault. So I tried backspace, seems like a logical alternative when you want to delete stuff. Nope, so I tried right-clicking and all sorts of weird click+button combinations I could remember.

    Only then did I remember that you must absolutely drag files to the trash.

    No you don't. Cmd+Backspace deletes them just fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:41PM (#41388805)

    it is a SEARCH BOX, not a COMMAND LINE

    You idiot. You type shit into it, press Enter and shit happens. The very defining characteristic of a cli interface. You are literally the dumbest motherfucker on Slashdot today. Dice should hand you an award.

  • by ericloewe ( 2129490 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:15PM (#41390341)

    Macs don't have delete keys.

    Yeah, it's freaking stupid.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:16PM (#41392697) Journal

    Not only to gamers, to geeks in general. There are something like two dozen different mechanical keyboards on the market today, and less than half of them are gamer-oriented.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"