iPhone Life magazine

[COMMENT] Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design

We now know more or less why Scott Forstall was recently shown the door at Apple. With John Browett, it is quite obvious why he was given the boot (i.e. "Browett-ized") - he was not exactly the brightest light on the Christmas tree. It has been reported that there was a power struggle between Scott Forstall and Jony Ive. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but the fact that Ive is now the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design can only be seen as a good thing. Ive is quite gifted when it comes to design, and I cannot wait to see what he is going to do for the look-and-feel of both iOS and OS X. Since designers and programmers use OS X to create iOS apps I am going to discuss this aspect of iOS and OS X. Also, I'd like to discuss a bit about Windows 8/Windows Phone 8.

 
The graphical user interfaces (GUI) of iOS and OS X need absolute consistency for designers, developers, and even end users alike. Skeuomorphic design is nice, when it is warranted, but not when it is carried out to an extreme like I see within iOS and OS X. Personally, I do not like the faux leather/torn paper look of Calendar, nor the faux torn paper pad look of Notes, etc. I cannot stand the faux address book appearance of Contacts in iOS and OS X. Try maximizing the window in OS X and you will see what I mean.
 
OS X windows should resize properly when you click the green button. You know... It should maximize properly to the height and width that you have set for your Desktop. I do not think I am the only one that feels this way. I want OS X windows to have the SAME look and feel throughout the entire OS. The one OS X GUI change I would like to see Apple implement is the use of Apple-designed themes where you could have the option to switch to a black or dark gray GUI. It would be nice to use my MacBook Pro at night without blinding me. You can obviously turn down the brightness, but there goes your ability to see text properly. A dark gray GUI would be fantastic for doing any kind of work on a Mac at night.
 
I really do not think that Apple will go down the road Microsoft has taken with Windows 8/Windows Phone 8. If I wanted to have the look and feel of Windows 8 on a computer I would just fire up Windows 3.1 in Parralels Desktop or VMware Fusion. Yes, the "Metro" (now called Windows 8) GUI is hideously ugly and totally non-intuitive. The Windows 8 GUI might be suitable for a smartphone or tablet, but it is most certainly not very suitable for use on the desktop.

 When I was testing the initial developer's release of Windows 8 I could not even figure out how to get back to the Start Screen once I managed to find my way to the regular desktop. Windows 8 takes simplicity in design to a ridiculous level. I can just imagine what regular users are saying about Windows 8 when they boot it up for the first time. Let's just say that I am not impressed with Windows 8, even with the final release that has been available since last Friday.
 
Hopefully we will see the fruits of Ive's design genius soon with updates to both iOS 6 and OS X 10.8. :)
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