Monday, January 01, 2007

The genius of the visually inconsistant mac user interface, part 2

Evaluating the Mac OS X user interface - Part 2 (Part 1 below) ...

"The recent blog article "The Genius of Apple's User Interface Themes" sparked debate which is great to see. Follow ups that disagree can be found at Doombot and on MacUser. Dustin MacDonald also writes Why Inconsistency is Consistent

The analogy I gave with the remote controls probably wasn't the best example in the world, so I've made another one that illustrates the point better. To reiterate, I'm not a usability expert at all and this debate could be settled with some user testing. It would be interesting to hear comments from Jacob Nielsen or other usability experts (guys who have actually done the testing).

A comment by dragonopolis on digg illustrated the point nicely. Imagine if all folders on your desktop used exactly the same visual style, in the same way people suggest all the windows should use the same visual style. Here's what 16 icons might look like:

This is the most consistent way to do things. They all look the same, they are all the same shape, and the behave the same way. Unfortunately it's not as usable as it could be. We use visual variations to differentiate quickly between items.

Sure each folder has a label that identifies one from another. Someone suggested reading the names on the remote controls too. Windows also have titles which can be read to identify the app your in. This becomes a lot more effort of course as there are more items to search through. Visual identification is a lot faster, and a lot less effort for the brain."    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]

Mac OS X Folders - Usability, User Interface Design

Mac OS X Folders


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