Battling Windmills

Chipp Walters chipp at
Sat Jun 15 20:09:01 EDT 2002

Apples HIG rules?!
Let's drag icons to the trash can to unmount disks!

just kidding. But, As a former Mac guy and now a PC person, I can tell you,
there's not THAT much difference anymore regarding GUI's. In fact, both
Apple and MS are the worst offenders themselves. You properly pointed out
HC's previous GUI flaws. And last I looked, Apple's HIG doesn't acknowledge
simple interface helpers such as a button rollover. And then there's web
applications with  browser interfaces...don't get me started!

I agree with earlier posts, different situations call for different
interfaces. Multimedia interfaces are radically different from application
interfaces. Non-modal interfaces are great for experienced users, while
modal interfaces (wizards) help those with less experience. Internet
browsers broke all the HIGuidelines and now have 'set' the standard. Users
have become more adapt at 'figuring out' interfaces -- though this doesn't
excuse poor interface design.

Also, it helps to look at some cross-platform Apps which KEEP their own
interfaces.. Bryce, Poser, and KPT come to mind. Many feel they work well,
without adhering to any guidelines. Then there's workstation packages like
Photoshop, Lightwave and Maya which look essentially the same on all
platforms. To suggest a interface guideline set works for all apps is today
a bit naive. While it was important in the early days of GUI, IMHO it's not
such a rigid standard today.

-Chipp Walters
Altuit, inc.

> In a perfect world, you'd encounter the same passion on Windows.
> Not for UI
> fascism, but for something truly valuable: consistency across
> applications.

> There's an upside to having been raised by Apple's HIG Police: our
> heightened sensitivity to such details gives us a significant
> edge over many
> Win-only UI designers.  Even as late as 1998, I was reading
> best-selling Win
> API books that described the GUI as a marketing-driven annoyance
> programmers
> simply must learn to endure (as though CLUIs were somehow superior,
> explosive post-GUI growth in the industry apparently notwithstanding <g>).
> The foot-dragging with regard to adopting good UI and user-centered design
> practices set thousands of developers on MS systems back several years.
> This is reflected in the cold, gadgety feel of so many Win UIs.  To make a
> Win app that shines simply means using much the same process as
> we Mac folks
> have been using for years:  read the HIG, know the HIG, depart
> from the HIG
> where necessary but never depart from the core principles.

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