Who's in Charge of Mac Software Development??

Discussion in 'macOS' started by macnicol, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. macnicol macrumors newbie


    Mar 1, 2006
    Who's in Charge?

    Does anyone in the Mac Software Development organization know what Requirements Management or Configuration Management/Change Control is?

    Having been a Software Development engineer and manager for over 30 years and a Mac Evangelist since 1984, I have been very disturbed by the GUI changes that Apple has made to the OS X over the past 5 years.

    Any change to an established GUI should be a very critical concern of any Software Manager and only done to fix a major error or to add new features, which should not impact the GUI for current features unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.

    The most costly investment a user makes in any software is in the user training to become productive in its use.

    This is where the GUI makes or breaks the user experience and is a major factor in his decision to continue its use or toss it and replace it with another app with a more familiar and user friendly GUI.

    When Apple makes changes to the GUI with no apparent benefit except that some naive, inexperienced programmers decided they didn't like the old way and wanted to "make it their own", it costs the user community literally hundreds of thousands of hours in lost time adjusting to the new GUI without any added benefit. And it creates frustration and disappointment with the app. It also creates a sense of betrayal and fear that other unneeded changes to the GUI will follow with more lost time.

    There should be a strictly controlled change control process when any contemplated GUI change is being considered.

    A change request must be created and thoroughly reviewed especially with the impact on users being the foremost consideration. Current features/capabilities should NOT be eliminated without extensive evaluation and feedback from the user community. Is there a Mac OSX User Group that is involved in OS X change control?

    When new features are added, the GUI should be consistent with the current feature GUI as much as possible. Obviously, when a released feature's GUI proves to be cumbersome and unproductive, it should be revised. But revised only to minimum extent required. When a new GUI for current features can be justified based on consistency, improved productively and/or accuracy, then an option should be provided to current users to revert to the old GUI if they choose to for at least 1 or 2 releases/updates.

    GUI changes should be beta tested by a broad base of REAL experienced users before being released. REAL user testers should be heavily weighted to LONG time users and not just based on younger, inexperienced users with very little investment in time relative to the current GUI.

    In GUI software, change for change's sake should be quickly stopped and denied approval for implementation. Yosemite is a classic example of how not to upgrade software. It obviously was not very well tested before release. If there is one, the SW QA dept should be replaced.

    The SW Engineering Manager should be fired for approving a Software Specification and GUI Specification that was Yosemite.

    Did anyone on the SW Engineering Development team have ANY extensive experience using Mac OS X?

    Mavericks was a significant change from Mountain Lion but it was still recognizable as a Mac OS.

    Yosemite looks like a rejected Windoze OS release.

    Being a long time Apple shareholder and a Mac Evangelist since 1984 (even had a Lisa in 1982!) I am deeply concerned that Apple is loosing it's way.

    A user friendly, well tested GUI was Apple's discriminator and is what created a loyal user base. Let's hope Apple does not lose sight of their product’s best feature.
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    Dear Concerned Citizen,
    For users upgrading as new versions have become available, the GUI changes have been impressively carefully performed. I could point to other major OS manufacturers to make my point, but even in absolute values, the key parts of interaction with OS X are not very different from how it looked five years ago. Design elements aside (I won't even bother going into the skeuomorphic vs flat design, which is purely a matter of personal taste), the main differences have to do with streamlining the GUI based on the general public's changed interaction with computers. Scroll mice, workable track pads, and intelligent scrolling acceleration behavior have turned scroll bars pretty much obsolete, just to give a concrete example of a GUI change which has modernized the "feel" of OS X.
    5 years takes us back to Lion (10.7). My step daughter still uses her old white MacBook she bought with Leopard (10.5), and which is not possible to upgrade past Snow Leopard (10.6). I can almost effortlessly switch between my El Cap-equipped MBP and her laptop. Again: The main brain farts I experience when using her computer are based in the fact that what we expect from our interaction with a GUI has changed (read: simplified) a lot over the years. Having to use a different input field to search the web than I use to manually type addresses. Not having web search at my fingertips from Finder. That kind of thing.

    In addition, if you examine each version as separate units, OS X remains an impressively consistent GUI experience across both built-in and third-party programs, which really is its major selling point.

    I don't think you need to worry about the majority of Apple's customer base being acutely aware of the user-friendly GUI being the best one available. Microsoft and (some) major Linux vendors seem to be determined to make sure the gap to their alternatives is kept comfortably large. I'm more worried when first releases of a new OS X major version has serious bugs/problems - and where that happens, I blame the release cycle. I know it's probably impossible from a bean-counter perspective, but I personally would really prefer Apple to release their software "when it's done" than to release it at a pre-set date.
  3. sibcc macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2015
    La Jolla CA
    Whereas I do agree that OS X is a great GUI, I'm finding the constraints imposed by Apple's design decisions, particularly the influence of Jonathan Ive, to be hindering the overall useability of OS X. Clearly, Apple made headway by dumping Helvetica Neue, but have yet to address the inability of OS X to format properly on large high resolution screens. The user needs more control over the size of all aspects of the UI. The ability to do this is already available in both Windows and modern Linux UIs. Decreasing overall resolution in order to see the grey text on a light background is not the answer. An OS is not a piece of art, but rather a tool to be used.

    Recent Safari releases are also poorly designed with UI interface elements centered rather that left oriented. Juvenile design decisions IMHO. Further, even if international useability was perhaps the idea, there ought be a way for the user to choose.

    The one year release cycle makes no sense. The continual missteps by this management and design team will eventually take its toll on Apple's reputation.
  4. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    I don't agree that simplifying GUI is a smart idea. Turning Spotlight in web search was in my opinion one of worst ideas Apple had after starting including iOS inspired features in 10.7. Currently Spotlight is trying too many things at same time and it's not even possible to change preferences such as different search engine, how to organise search results, etc. which means Spotlight is jack of all trades and master of none. First thing I do after installing OS X is disabling most of the categories in Spotlight preferences because it's the only way to make search results relevant.

    Needless to say I am not impressed with so called "natural search" because a: it can't find relevant information and b: boolean logic is much more efficient. If Apple insist having web search integrated into OS X at least they could make it into separate application like Sherlock was.

    I have no idea why Apple thinks adding features from iOS to OS X is smart idea, they have completely different GUI and what works in one doesn't necessarily work in other. Yosemite and El Capitan reminds me too much of tablets. While GUI isn't yet dumped down I have a feeling Apple is going to continue removing usable features and locking down OS X even more...

    Release cycle is one thing, another matter is that Yosemite and El Capitan have very little clear improvements compared to Mavericks. For the record I don't count iOS compatibility, changing interface needlessly, removing features or changing previous features in a bad way (Spotlight, Disk Utility, etc. an improvement...

    Personally I wish Apple would stop for a moment and think seriously about the current situation of OS X. I am not convinced that OS X is in a right track and I would prefer Apple started improving limitations of OS X (File System, Metadata, Spotlight, Time Machine (It would be great to have reliable backup for a change, I no longer trust Time Machine) instead of constant new features.
  5. adnbek macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2011
    Montreal, Quebec
    That's one very long post with lots of fluff just to say "I hate the new look"

    *clap* *clap*
  6. sibcc macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2015
    La Jolla CA
    For a significant number of people, your, it's just the "new look," has hindered productivity. It is a problem that needs to be addressed. If Apple seeks to make OS X just a consumption platform, then they need to make that clear. Elegance and useability used to be paramount, but today, the former is taking precedence over the latter.
  7. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    I agree. I have absolutely no idea what they were even thinking when they changed Spotlight in Yosemite and El Capitan. It’s almost completely useless to me now. Yosemite brought the intrusive and clunky interface, El Capitan destroyed what little of customisation we had left (you can’t rearrange Spotlight categories anymore). When I start typing something I feel like I’m getting just noise, like irrelevant web content I really don’t care about and long lists of folders(!) and documents I don’t want to see. Useful categories like dictionary definitions are hidden from plain sight and listed at the bottom, even though I use them very often. I also found at that the categories in Spotlight are linked to the Sort by Kind function in Finder (which I use extensively), which means that I can’t uncheck categories that I don’t want to see in Spotlight, because the Arrange by Kind becomes utterly useless. I’ve stopped caring about Spotlight altogether and finally, after many years of avoiding, switched to Alfred. What Apple did to Spotlight is beyond sad.

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6 October 16, 2015