I’m no Mac fanatic, but this Windows knowledgebase article is a perfect illustration of what’s wrong with Windows. Can you imagine Apple issuing a fix like: “In the Open box, type ‘Regsvr32 urlmon.dll’?”
Admittedly, Sun’s Project Looking Glass is more of a platform (er, a prototype of a platform) than a finished product, but they’re still going to have to do better than letting you rotate flat windows and write on the back to get people excited about a “3D Desktop.”
GUIdebook is “a website dedicated to preserving and showcasing as many Graphical User Interfaces as possible.”
Dan Hill has an excellent thought-piece on the merits and pitfalls inherent in Apple’s design ethos of perfection. He’s also collected thoughts and links on the idea of adaptive design (i.e. designing for adaptation). From the article:
In essence, adaptive design is about designing to enable the user to change things. You strive for ‘good enough’ as a starting point, such that the user feels they have a ‘way in’, almost an implicit goal of working through the finished design themselves. It sees design as a social process, developing over time, via a relationship with the user. It draws heavily from [Stewart] Brand’s idea of separating a building’s architecture into 6 different layers, from slowly developing layers through to relatively quickly moving layers.
Been using Panther for a few days now and I don’t have a lot to say, which may not be so bad: it’s a bundle of incremental improvements. One of which is Exposé. Now, Jason suggests an improvement to Exposé, but I have to disagree (at least in part; I definitely don’t think it’s perfect). I think there are actually several different types of application-switching. I love Cmd-Tab for the 900 times a day, I know where I’m going type of switching. What I’m finding Exposé extremely useful for is the now-what-was-I-just-doing type of switching. Like when you type a URL in Safari to call up the menu of your favorite lunch spot and then the phone rings and then you check email. That’s the time you really want to see everything you were doing all spread out on your “desk.” This of course brings to mind Apple’s old piles idea, which, I imagine, is where Exposé came from in the first place.
From MIT, Haystack “is a tool designed to let every individual manage all of their information in the way that makes the most sense to them.” On a cursory glance, some of what they’re doing looks interesting, although I generally mistrust the “one app for everything” approach. I think Apple is on a better track with individual UIs for specific data types, but obviously there needs to be some glue between them. So, I don’t see a single UI handling both photos and email messages, but I should be able to search both of them, to link them, and so on. Anyhow, seems well worth a look. (via alex)
Rumor has it that the next rev of Mac OSX may implement “piles.” For more on piles, see this Ask Tog column, this Slashdot thread, and the Apple paper on piles from CHI ‘92 (‘92!!) (PDF, link courtesy of peter).
Nadav’s rules of OS Etiquette: While booting up, an operating system should not allow user interaction before it can handle that interaction. Better to show a “please wait” screen for a few more seconds than to allow interaction that could cause system instability. It’s rather like answering the door in your underwear.
Steven Johnson identifies a fork in the operating system interface road: uniformity vs. modularity. See also, my earlier blurb about Apple’s application interfaces as alternatives to the traditional file system.
Note: this is of interest only to people who use OSX…. I’ve been annoyed with the screenshot behavior in OSX, but I just learned a couple tricks. I knew you could do Command-shift-3 to take a pic of the whole screen and Command-shift-4 to get a crosshair tool that lets you take a partial screenshot. But I didn’t know about: Command-shift-4-spacebar which gives you a camera tool that captures the specific window/menu/icon you hover over; or Command-shift-control-3 (or 4), which captures the image to the clipboard (a la Windows). Now if there were an easy way to change the default format from .pdf…