Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Can Leopard Take On Vista?

Comparing Vista and Leopard UI ...

"... Just as Vista was a substantial upgrade to previous Windows operating systems, Leopard is a major alteration to the Mac OS. Like Vista, it includes updates to the integrated applications and attempted to improve its security features. Initial reports of Leopard have been fairly positive, but for this comparison Channel Test Center focused on usability features. Engineers were enthusiastic about Leopard's sheer number of features and ability to do things in fewer dialog boxes than Vista. Where there were gaps between Windows and OS X, such as in networking, Leopard has closed them, and where previous versions of OS X did something well, Leopard has jumped ahead and established itself as the king of operating systems.

First of all, a few caveats to this comparison. The Test Center did not look at installation: New York-based Tekserve provided a Macbook with Leopard preinstalled and Lenovo provided a Thinkpad X61 with Vista Business preinstalled. Since the hardware was entirely different, Test Center also did not run any performance benchmarks.

... Look and Feel: Mac faithful have waited over two and a half years for the upgrade to Tiger, but anyone hoping for a new look and feel will be disappointed. While there are some visual changes, Apple has focused on making existing tools work better and easier to use. In that sense, Vista is a very significant change visually, with features moving around and things being renamed.

In Leopard, the dashboard is now more transparent and the icons all have a reflection on the dashboard. While it adds to the "ooh, shiny!" element in Leopard, it's quite distracting. In previous OS X versions, an arrow indicated active applications on the dashboard. That arrow has now been replaced with a blue dot at the bottom of the application icon. Test Center engineers found the dots hard to get used to. What was wrong with the arrows? Finder has been overhauled to look more like iTunes. The new interface lets you scroll through thumbnails of images, videos, and documents. All folders use the same icon, however, so there's no way to tell what kind of files are inside the folders. Test Center engineers noted another change in folders they didn't like. In Tiger and previous versions, special folders, such as Library, Applications, Music, and Public, were easy to identify by the brightly-colored images on the folder icons. In Leopard, all the folders are darker blue icons with the images embossed. The low-contrast images make it harder to differentiate when looking at them in small sizes, such as on the Dock. Apple went a step backward in usability with the folder and icons."    (Continued via CMP ChannelWeb)    [Usability Resources]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In Leopard, the dashboard is now more transparent and the icons all have a reflection on the dashboard. "

Um, no. The menu bar is now more transparent and the Dock shows a reflection. This report sure would have a lot more creditability if it didn't make such simple, basic mistakes.

6:49 PM  

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