Mac OS X default button = 100% CPU usage

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Sat Nov 8 15:35:29 CST 2003

Ken Norris wrote:

> Throbbing buttons are kinda cool, too bad they can't figure a way to
> multitask the things so they don't hog the CPU.

They have a cool appearance, but are arguably counterproductive in actual
use (beyond being a CPU hog).

A default button must be visually distinct enough to make it clear that it
is the default action for a dialog.  But what Steve & Co. forgot was that
the most important element in a dialog is the dialog's content, not the
default button.   

The content the dialog is presenting should be the most visually dominant
thing in its window, but in OS X content competes with a merely functional
element that is both candy-colored and animated, visually demanding to the
point of distraction.

It suffers from the same usability detriments as animated banner ads on Web
pages, without the banner ad's upside:  a banner add generates revenue, and
is therefore at least sufferable as an economic necessity.  The only upside
to the animated default button is how good it makes the OS designer that
we're all talking about it.

This contributes to an OS that is, in Tog's words, optimized for Steve's
demos but not for our daily use (see

A logical progression of this design philosophy would be:

OS X 10.4:  the default button becomes an animated loop of a dancing

OS X 10.5:  The animation is expanded to become a really nifty five-minute
gorgeously produced movie of a large predatory cat hunting and feeding its
young, with voiceover by Steve Jobs.  In order to make room for this
expanded animation the dialog's content will be removed altogether.


In the first release of the Rev engine for OS X there was a bug that was
arguably better than the OS design:  default buttons were colored but not
animated.  Maybe Apple can be pursuaded to consider that, handing our clock
cycles back and improving usability at the same time:


To help maintain Steve's reputation for a compelling demo, rather than
hampering the OS with such things maybe we could just hook him up with
Carson Kressley to get him out of that frumpy jeans-and-sweatshirt look. :)

 Richard Gaskin 
 Fourth World Media Corporation
 Ambassador at
 Tel: 323-225-3717                       AIM: FourthWorldInc

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