Saturday, April 15, 2006

Former Microsoft, Apple User Interface Designers Talk Shop

Operating systems moving away from windowing ...

"Looking to the future, both Cordell Ratzlaff, formerly of Apple, and Mark Ligameri, formerly of Microsoft, agree that operating system user interface design is moving away from a windowing system because content consumption is replacing content creation as the primary use for a computer.

... Ratzlaff recalled for the audience the moment he was called into Steve Jobs' office at Apple, following Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1997 but prior to Jobs assuming any official role at Apple whatsoever. With a pair of his best designers by his side, Ratzlaff stood in Jobs' office as the Apple co-founder called them "a bunch of amateurs" and launched into a long criticism of the Mac OS 8 interface.

Sensing that his job was not, in fact, on the line -- Jobs would, after all, have cut to the chase and fired him immediately -- Ratzlaff was relieved to learn that what Jobs wanted from him was a new design for the Mac OS.

As it so happened, Ratzlaff and his team had already been working on a ground-up redesign of the operating system after they discovered that their original goal of porting the look-and-feel of Mac OS 8 completely to Mac OS X would be impossible.

"We were only going to be able to get about 95 percent of the way there, which is possibly the worst thing you could do," Ratzlaff said. The redesign had been scrubbed by higher-ups at Apple but was put back on track by Jobs."   continued ...   (Via Mac News)

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