Under The Microscope

There’s A New Popup Button In Town

For those who haven’t seen yet, Brent Simmons is running a great series of pieces on Apple’s latest user interface “innovations” in Tiger, which is sparking a lot of discussion.Personally I feel that Apple doesn’t know any more about how to design a good push button control than anyone else. Apple’s real usability expertise comes in designing end-to-end solutions like iTunes/iPod integration, or technology like Bonjour. They get the big picture, but allow the little picture to get sacrificed to the stylistic fashion of the year.The problem of new control appearances (and sometimes behaviors) really became big with Mac OS X 10.3. At the time I was upset about it, because it meant I could no longer have our appliations look as good as Apple’s with using only standard Cocoa controls. To make them look as nice, I’d have to develop my own custom controls with custom artwork. It’s not fun to be playing catch up on popup button art when you could be developing actual features (see also: fire and motion).With OS X 10.4, the flood of new non-standard controls has become so overwhelming, I’ve resigned myself to it. I just no longer feel the need to compete with Apple’s art department, they outnumber me. So our appliations are a sea of standard Cocoa controls, and you know, that’s OK.

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