How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by grahamperrin, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. grahamperrin, Nov 18, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  2. satchmo macrumors 68000

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    #2
    I agree to a point. There is something to be said about delight through discovery. But then there are just bad UX and frustration.

    A very basic one is right here in Safari. The multiple open tabs are confusing. Should a darker tab be the selected open window? Instead it's the lighter one. A simple notch or even a dot could say so much more.
     
  3. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #3
    I agree with this article. My father, a very hardware and software engineer, has used a flip phone until this year. He has an iPhone now, and it is really insightful to see how he has had trouble learning it. I think some iPhone users take for granted that we learned this system during the early days where visual metaphors were abundant and clear. Today, it is very confusing for a new user, even one who is very technically literate.
     
  4. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

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    #4
    I agree too. The removal of skeuomorphism has made learning the systems much harder. For people who have used iOS or Mac OS for years it's not a massive problem to figure out which icon does what. For those new to the ecosystem it's confusion central. And don't get me started about options that appear when you hold the Control key (and people here who say it's a good thing).
     
  5. highlystrange macrumors member

    highlystrange

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    #5
    I think some of the skeuomorphic design went too far, but in general I liked it. 3D icons, shadows and the like. Gave me a better idea of what control did what function. "Flat" design looks cleaner, I guess, but that's about it.
     
  6. orioncrystalice macrumors 6502

    orioncrystalice

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    #6
    Safari, Photos and other icons had no indication from the photo alone what their function was. The Safari compass looked like maybe you would click it and get some kind of oceanic topography, the Photos flower could be anyone's guess. The camera was a lens which has been replaced with an icon of an entire camera, far more obvious IMO.

    Gripes about a "back" command are funny because up until the iOS 9, you had the Home button and that was it. There's now the link in the upper left corner which takes you back when linking out of one app to another. Where have the authors been?

    Point taken on discoverability, but I find this to be overreacted to, and beyond that, there is no escaping memorization when working with personal computers, or indeed electronics, of any type. There is only making memorization much easier. I will give them that watchOS stumbles here, but iOS I can't see the issue.

    I think there is a challenge in something like El Capitan to make dual window mode a discoverable thing for example. But I find that there is something of a tug-of-war in things like this. How much can you pack into an OS and still have it all be completely obvious? The entire function of OS X has NEVER been fully discoverable.... this is always a challenge IMO.....what's the answer, if we retain and add features which are useful?
     
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #7
    Apple's software design has sucked for quite a while now. At least in my eyes.
     
  8. villicodelirant macrumors 6502

    villicodelirant

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    #8
    I agree with this article.

    I was an Apple zealot for most of the '90s and 2000s.

    Apple's superiority was crushing then.

    Think of the world circa 1998.

    The iMac?

    Nice, right?

    Now think of the sunflower iMac?
    OS X 10.1 to 10.5?

    Can anybody remember what a joke was the first release of XP when compared to, say, Puma or Jaguar?

    Does anybody remember of how buying a Powerbook was the only way to actually do work on a *nix system on a laptop without going insane with /etc/X11/XF86Config and the like?

    Apple, a maker of usable if slightly overpriced computers with good design and an amazing OS which was only matched by IRIX at its peak (read: in 1996).

    Then something changed and Apple became... well, I was going to say "a luxury brand", but I believe "Ive's outlet to compensate for his small genitalia" is more like it.

    We've gone from "it is rugged, looks very pretty and friendly and it has a handle" to "it's extra thin for the sake of being thin and it comes in rose gold".

    Meanwhile, Microsoft actually started putting out semi-decent software and the various Linux flavors have become completely usable on a standard laptop. BSODs are - honestly - a thing of the past. Non-Apple computers actually work.

    Ironically, Apple decided it was done with skeumorphism around the time it became bloat of purely "aesthetic" value, like the - ugh - tape recorder in iOS, culminating a buildup that had been going on since circa 2006.
     
  9. grahamperrin thread starter macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #9
    The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 136, With Special Guest Jason Snell

    Maybe listen from 1:29:15 on the timeline … beginning with mentions of Apple and The Mythical Man-Month. After around five minutes there's some talk of Norman, of Tognazzini, of their works, of the Fast Company article, and of Apple. I pull this quote:

    There's much talk of iOS but I come at this from the other perspective. To me the first seeded builds of OS X 10.10 screamed "lack of rigour" – shockingly below the quality that I, a Mac user, had learnt to expect. So screamingly bad, in places, that eventually I broke ranks from AppleSeed and began ranting in public. The long discussions in MacRumors led to my firm belief that Apple had either failed to perform suitable user testing (to include e.g. saccades), or that some test results were wilfully ignored for the sake of pure novelty and/or fashion. November 2014:

    Liberal arts might be fine (I'm not an artist). However: as Apple gleefully abandoned the degrees of rigour that led to the OS X that I love – Mavericks – so it should be no surprise that some end users abandon their loyalties to Apple.

    End users aside, for a moment: I wonder whether tech vendors pay greater attention to evidence of rigour of developers – Apple sharing 31st place with Adobe, and so on.

    There's a point beyond which flatness can be enjoyably clean. In my recent experience the software that goes furthest beyond that point is Microsoft Office; on Windows 7 I find it ghastly.
     
  10. warden macrumors member

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    #10
    Looking cleaner is pretty important if Apple is going to push a unified aesthetic across its product line, though. As devices become more personal and portable, fashion needs to play some part - nobody's going to wear a watch with heavy skeumorphic metaphors and faux shadowing.
     
  11. grahamperrin thread starter macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #11
    Did someone recommend that combination of things?
     
  12. warden macrumors member

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    #12
    No, I'm just suggesting a basis for the move away from heavy textures to the flatter iOS7+ look.
     
  13. orioncrystalice macrumors 6502

    orioncrystalice

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    #13
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    skeoumorphism had its time in the sun, and like many design fads, it started falling out of favor with designers. Apple was probably late to the game in abandoning the design. They also went to far in using it imo.
     
  15. villicodelirant macrumors 6502

    villicodelirant

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    #15
    Skeumorphism is not a fad and not a design fad at it. No more than alphabet letters are a design fad.

    Not an issue of "too far", in my not so humble opinion, but an issue of "too wrong": "hey, let's randomly add leather and wooden textures here and there instead of things that may give an actual clue to the user as to what this button does".

    A shame.
     
  16. villicodelirant macrumors 6502

    villicodelirant

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    #16
  17. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #17
    You folks brought up a lot of good points here. I'll just toss my peanuts into the gallery.

    I started with Apple when Microsoft Vista came out. In fact, I was benching Vista for a potential enterprise upgrade and realized it was time to finally step over into the Apple universe. I had figured out most of the GUI within a couple of days and was quite happy until the novelty wore off.

    My father was somewhat a pioneer of computers in the USA and he absolutely hated Windows though he did manage to make it to Windows 95 and later 2000/XP. At the time of Win 95, I showed him OS/2 which also annoyed him but he thought it was a far more robust OS and a bit more "logical" in approach. He mentioned that Apple's GUI is not new and it really came from another big name company and was designed to ease end users into getting their work done and not much more. He also laughed at how humans evolved into being able to convey thoughts through language (verbal and written) with far greater nuance than many hundreds of years ago and here we are today, back to near hieroglyphics - a step backwards...

    For me, there are lots of good things about the OS, applications and hardware and sadly, equally as much to be said on how things have gone down hill and makes them all either lackluster or just plain frustrating. Whether it is an iPhone that continues to use fonts at 4 point and a forced GUI frame 4x5 icons on the main screen with no chance to say go to 3x4 so that the fonts can be larger "universally" though the system for us with less than perfect eyesight to Safari being a pain in the neck at times and missing some "Apple coolness" in GUI designed for real users and the list goes on. As for hardware, take your pick - the nMP (Mac Mini Pro) that expects everything on the outside rather than on the inside to a castrated Mac Mini on to Thunderbolt vs USB3.1/c etc. being shoved in our faces because Apple decides for us what we need/want.

    I consider hardware to be lacking these days, items like iTunes just outright SUCKS in all the changes made, Airport software interface also neutered (as compared to a few years ago) and the list goes on and on along with pro apps no longer being a concern for Apple as it is more interested in its ATV and iPad sales. For a company with so much disposable cash, you would hope they would consider ALL of their Apple "family members" but they don't (anymore). Apple has become the new Microsoft and with a rigid bully mentality of Computer Associates. Such a shame.
     
  18. grahamperrin thread starter macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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  19. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

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    #19
    I agree... I remember when I first started using the Mac, or even better, once I first saw a running iOS device. Everything was so simple. I learned nearly instantly how to use the thing. And now, what we have is a system that is overly complex, looks incredibly weird with its excessive flatness (I get it that it's the new cool thing to do, but come on, you don't need to make everything so one-coloured and boring), buggy as all hell, and overall, poorly produced. I don't like modern Apple at all. But you know what? I'm stuck with it, because Windows is buggy, and Linux is too complex for me. Kinda like Youtube, the whole thing is absolute ****, but there's no service nearly as good as this.

    I think that we can blame Tim Cook for this. Right after Steve Jobs resigned his position, things got a bit worse, and soon after he died, everything went for the worst. The Retina MacBook Pro, while was a good computer, was extremely poorly built and with planned obsolescence in mind. The iMac suffered from the "WE NEED TO MAKE IT THINNER" issue. And pretty much everything both hardware and software has become worse and worse. Nothing made up for what they did yet. I think we can safely say that it's not going to get any better, because of how Tim Cook's mindset is (money over quality).
     
  20. maxsix Suspended

    maxsix

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    #20
    I don't necessarily find Apples design bad. It's merely something they've lost control over.

    Procrastination has replaced a burning desire to create fresh new designs.

    Without self motivation, J.Ive. rests easy while continuing to be worshipped like a God.
     
  21. villicodelirant macrumors 6502

    villicodelirant

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    #21
    You may be stuck in 1999 and not realize it.
    While you are absolutely entitled to prefer the Mac (I mean... that's what this forum is about :) ), it is unfair to keep saying that.

    Windows 7 is rock solid (it is also annoying by design in many respects, but those are not bugs),

    Ubuntu is just as easy to install and operate as the Mac, if less polished.
    No configuration files, no hacking around, apps are mature and are installed from the Ubuntu App Store or whatever it's called.
    In fact, critics of Ubuntu among old school Linux folks tend to bring up the accusation of it being too similar to the Mac.

    I wouldn't necessarily blame Cook.

    If I really really had to blame someone, I'd blame Ive and whoever let him go beyond designing pretty plastic cases (which he is great at), since his takeover of the software side of things was immediately followed by massive suckage.

    But then maybe no-one is specifically to blame.

    Even if you reinstated the Apple board from 2001 these are different times and different circumstances.
    They seem to be pleasing today's customers well enough, you can't ignore that.

    And we change as well.
    Maybe you are <ominous music; thunderclap> a Dell person now :)
     
  22. villicodelirant macrumors 6502

    villicodelirant

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    #22
    Funnily, in my mind it's the opposite.

    It seems to me that Apple's design department feels the pressure to come up with something radically new every time, even if it's a terrible idea.

    Which is how we got stuck with chiclet keyboards on desktops and a workstation without drive bays, for Pete's sake.

    Sometimes I wish they had their funds cut in half so that they would focus on making pretty cases for standard size motherboards.
     
  23. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #23
    Agree with article.

    Why the overuse of white with small, thin, grey fonts? Unreadable in almost every situation... :eek:

    Then, to make matters worse, the new version of Google Android copied Apple on the design and now it's a problem with Android as well...

    Going back to a small sub-note with a real keyboard. The one I'm on now costs actually less than an iPad Mini ($150 Asus from last holidays)... :eek:
     
  24. liquid stereo macrumors regular

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    #24
    I cannot agree with you more! (I moved from an Irix-based machine to a PowerMac G4 precisely for the reasons mentioned.)

    Ive and the like have ruined the MacOS environment. And the UI updates on the phone has caused me to use it simply as a phone.

    The problem I have is leaving. How does one incorporate the .Mac/iCloud ecosystem on an Android phone?

     
  25. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

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    #25
    Mind, stock Android doesn't look any better (but on the plus side you can replace the launcher and icons, which I did and I'm very happy with the effect). iCloud etc. is going to be a major PITA, I have a special app to sync music with my iTunes, and I have to run it twice every time because it somehow can't get playlists in order the first time around. Some manufacturers however provide software that helps communicate between Mac OS and Android. It's hit and miss. Samsung Kies was the second worst piece of doodoo I ever used, after that terrible thing Sony provided with their minidisk players.

    I have a feeling Apple design philosophy these days is: simplify, make thinner, make whiter. No thought about usability at all. Hence the tiny grey text on white background. I still use iPhoto for two reasons: 1. it doesn't make me go blind with the WHITENESS, 2. I can drag a photograph straight to Photoshop. I'm waiting for the day when Mail and System Prefs icons become some random color spots on white background, they are WAY too understandable (and skeuomorphic), Mr Ive should do something about that.
     

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