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If I were involved in some of the dysfunctional user interface design that Apple's been doing, I'd want to remain anonymous, too, … :D
Love it!

Probably don't need to read the rest. I'm living the diffs right now working with a 2000 Pismo. I'm getting so much done!

That's another story. Another day. But they did, and can still, 'just work'.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's design team, run by Jony Ive (who is personally responsible for Apple's current user interface designs...) is going through some changes:
Apple said:
Jonathan Ive
Jony is responsible for all design at Apple, including the look and feel of Apple hardware, user interface, packaging, major architectural projects such as Apple Park and Apple’s retail stores, as well as new ideas and future initiatives.
AppleInsider said:
Apple loses three core members of small industrial design team
... According to the report, the team is slowly disbanding after the success of products like iPhone afforded comfortable lives and relatively secure futures. In 2016, Danny Coster left for GoPro after 23 years of service, while prominent ID group figure Christopher Stringer departed in 2017 after 21 years on the job. Stringer is named on numerous breakthrough design patents, many of which involve aspects of iPhone.

As veterans depart, new hires from Nike, independent studios and design schools will be given more responsibility in the development of new product lines, the report said.
Related links:
 


When I started to burn a CD in Music, I heard the CD spinning, but I didn't see any obvious feedback from the app that anything actually was happening. Eventually, I noticed the text "Burning CD" in small type (smaller than any other type displayed in the Music screen) in the lower left corner of the Music sidebar. Very easily overlooked! Although there was no strong indication that "Burning CD" was a clickable object, I clicked on it, and a small window appeared with a small progress wheel and the name of the track currently being burned.
I’m anxiously counting the days until Jony’s influence gets out of software.
 






Apple's design team, run by Jony Ive...
Perhaps not any longer.
The Verge said:
Jony Ive leaving Apple after nearly 30 years to start new design firm
Apple’s chief design officer Jonathan Ive is departing the company, bringing an end to a tenure spent crafting some of technology’s most influential products, including the iPhone. Ive is leaving his official role at Apple “to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients.”

Developing...
 






Perhaps not any longer.
Wall Street Journal reports this, too.
Apple Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive to Form Independent Company
Apple Inc. said design chief Jony Ive will leave the company later this year to form his own independent design company, marking the end of an era at the iPhone maker as it shifts from an emphasis on product develop-ment to services.

... The announcement is sure to raise new questions about the company’s ability to develop and launch new products. It comes as sales have largely plateaued for the iPhone—which Mr. Ive helped design and which fueled Apple’s surging sales and profit for most of a decade.
 






Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A bit more info on Jony's exit:
Financial Times said:
Jony Ive, iPhone designer, announces Apple departure

Sir Jonathan is setting up his own new venture, a creative business called LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client. The transition will begin later this year, with LoveFrom launching fully in 2020.

“While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come,” Sir Jonathan told the FT in an exclusive interview. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.”

... No immediate successor will take Sir Jonathan’s title of chief design officer, which he has held since 2015. Alan Dye, who oversees Apple’s user interface team, and Evans Hankey, who now leads industrial design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, who also played a key role in the development of Apple Watch.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's press release says Alan Dye is Vice President of Human Interface Design, reporting to the COO.
Oh, great...
All American Speakers said:
Alan Dye
... Alan joined Apple in 2006 as creative director with the Marketing Communications team, following previous design lead roles at Kate Spade and Ogilvy & Mather.

Before joining the User Interface team, Alan led global design efforts across all aspects of communications, from identity and packaging, through retail and interactive experiences.
Not exactly Doug Englebart or Bruce Tognazzini by the looks of things.

In fact, it's all starting to make sense now - things like the ad assault when you open the App Store to get system updates, and the constant harassment to update to Apple's latest software and services, where you can't say "no." I'm guessing this is only going to get worse.
 


Apple is officially no longer any different from any other large corporation. When the founder leaves, he is inevitably replaced by people from sales, marketing, accounting or anything else completely unrelated to the product. And then everybody wonders why the products suck.

Gotta cut more costs and run more ads. That's all it takes. Yep.

Orson Scott Card put it best in an article from 1995:
Windows Sources said:
 



... and don't let the door hit you on your way out. Finally! Maybe we'll get some decent keyboards.
…and thicker iPhones with bigger batteries
…and thicker iPhones with a 3.5mm jack
…and thicker iPhones/iPads that don't bend
…and iPhones/iPads where we can change the batteries
…and iPhones with proper antennae that may not look cute but you can hold them any way you want
…and thicker laptops with a magsafe power cord
…and thicker laptops with bigger batteries
…and thicker laptops with an ethernet port
…and laptops where we can change the batteries/access the internals for repairs/replacements
…and Mac Minis where we can access the RAM slots
…and thicker iMacs where we can access the RAM slots
…and thicker computers so the storage isn't welded to the motherboard
…and thicker computers with proper ventilation so that they don't overheat/reduce clock speed
…and input accessories with cords (because everything doesn't have to be wireless)
…and monitors that come with a stand
…and operating systems that have proper menus
…and operating systems that don't have hidden interface elements
…and operating systems that have proper sized/thickness of fonts
…and operating systems that don't put dark grey text on light grey backgrounds
…and operating systems/software that adheres to Apple's own HIG
…and hardware made with aluminium - not aluminum ;-)
…and on
…and on
…and on

…and, see you, Jony {waves goodbye vigorously while slamming the door behind him}

;-)
 



Jubilant as I am, I can't help but remember Hillaire Belloc's words:
...or "Better the devil you know..."?

All of us here on MacInTouch know the deficiencies in Apple's Macintosh designs (and Graham details many of them). Frankly, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how to fix them, but it will take someone to acknowledge the problems and with the courage to fix them. If it adds 3mm to the thickness of a MacBook Pro to let it have a good keyboard, well, then, do it.

Alan Dye will stamp his imprimatur with future designs; perhaps not the ones coming down the pike later this year but certainly by the following generation. Then we'll certainly know whether he has courage or is simply the corporate shill we fear.
 



Ive gone?! Oh, yeah! Really, folks, sometimes the devil you don't know has got to be better than the one you do! Even if I really worked on a list, I couldn't have said it better than Graham did. And speaking of opaque user interfaces…

I finally went with a refurb iMac Pro. We shall see. Pulled out the keyboard, as my good one is still attached to the older box. Long, dark gray, skinny slab? Plinth? Two passes. Not a word or marking on it. Wait. Had to get a magnifying glass: Designed by Apple in Califor… Is the location important? Long string of characters. Oh, now I see the model number. Took four passes. No lights, markers, etc. Found a lightning port, back middle. No cord. Charge? Stay plugged in? No, this is Apple where the Universe has no Wires™ There on the back right corner, a tiny black-on-black slide switch. Slide it. Green mark. No light. Plug it in to charge. No indicators. Finally move to the new box, switch on. Voila! Keyboard!

Steve Jobs's great vision has finally won: The computer as toaster. Just push the button.
 


Of all the things I most want back on hardware, it’s indicator lights.
- Is my device on/asleep/off? (Snoozing light was genius.)​
- Is my laptop charging?​
- Is my mouse or keyboard actually on?​
- What’s the battery level (I so miss this one)​

The other annoyance to me is that some of these could have been integrated into the Touch Bar, since they are OLED, and firing up two pixels would be quite slight as far as power draw.

There is so much angst about “genius designer” Ive leaving, but it’s clearly written by people who don’t remember before everything was removed. Those features made the devices feel premium, and the loss of those beautiful touches makes them feel less worthy of the premium we are asked to pay, especially given all of the other limitations imposed.
 


As so much of what Apple not-so-laughingly passed off as "user interface" for the last oh-so-many years involved discovery (having to poke and tap and get ticked off about nonsensical design decisions), it's worth remembering this: Two Boeing 737 Max aircraft crashed because their pilots were consumed with the process of discovery during the critical minutes when...
  1. ...something failed to work in a system not present in previous generations of the 737.
  2. ...proper documentation did not exist.
  3. ...adequate training was deemed to be economically inefficient and, therefore, unnecessary.
We should count ourselves among the lucky ones.
 


As so much of what Apple not-so-laughingly passed off as "user interface" for the last oh-so-many years involved discovery (having to poke and tap and get ticked off about nonsensical design decisions), it's worth remembering this: Two Boeing 737 Max aircraft crashed because their pilots were consumed with the process of discovery during the critical minutes when...
  1. ...something failed to work in a system not present in previous generations of the 737.
  2. ...proper documentation did not exist.
  3. ...adequate training was deemed to be economically inefficient and, therefore, unnecessary.
We should count ourselves among the lucky ones.
Wow! What an important comment that hopefully everyone in the Apple OS groups will read and take to heart!

Seek and Find is not a viable design standard for system software! I help several folks who are true computer users, not computer enthusiasts. Trying to help them to remember where such-and-such command is hidden is both difficult and challenging, for them and for me. And I too become frustrated when I know there is a command to do "X" but I either can't remember where it is or can't find it.

I long for the days when System X.y was clear, easy to use and fun to use.
 


As so much of what Apple not-so-laughingly passed off as "user interface" for the last oh-so-many years involved discovery
To some degree, one reason for the slow disintegration of the Mac UI standards is the demise of the press influence. Back in the days when I was writing for Macworld and then MacUser, we tended to call out any app that violated both the actual official Apple guidelines and the intent of those guidelines. When the hundreds of thousands of magazine readers were the only way to judge social acceptance, and the magazines were the gatekeepers of that, it had a lot of influence. I know of quite a few companies and products that changed their ways because they couldn't risk the negative influence, including Apple themselves.

These days, anything goes.

While in general I like the Ive-era products, if I have any complaint, it's that he way too often has picked the aesthetic over the pragmatic. No charging light on laptops anymore. Have to start it up to see battery level. Loss of the wings on the wall warts to wind cables on. And yes, the hidden UI you have to poke around to discover.
 


Long, long ago, back when I was working on MacPaint 2.0, every release—even internal test releases—had to be approved by the Human Interface Group. The UI standards were well-documented in thick manuals, and programs were expected to adhere to them rigorously. Programmers could violate, or even "extend" them (Bill Atkinson's tear-off menus, wherein a menu could be "pulled off" the menu bar and positioned as a floating palette, for example), but you had to justify your position, and the H.I. group had the last say.

Rigid adherence to a well-defined set of Mac OS user interface standards vanished at Apple decades ago, when the concept of "design" was elevated over "usability." Classic example: should closing an application's only window terminate the application, as it does with Contacts, Notes, and Photos, News, and others; or leave the application open with no windows, as it does in Safari, Numbers, Mail, and Messages?

I don't know that this abandonment of a consistent user interface sprang from Ive, but I suspect it did. But as Chief Design Officer, it's certainly his responsibility.
 



“One more" anecdote about software design...

The really old greybeards (I include myself among them) will remember an "outline processor / presentation app" named "More" (by Dave Winer), which, in v3.1 form, was arguably the sweetest organizational app ever developed.

To give those not familiar with it some perspective, there was a function built into the app which would take your on-screen presentation (think PowerPoint but 1000% faster) and output it to high-quality images, which it would then send (via dial-up at that point) to a service that would create 35mm slides and FedEx them back to you so you might put them into your slide projector for that important presentation.

The salient point about this story, however, is that v1.0 of More did not have an Undo command! We snailmailed, emailed, and phoned the company (Living Videotext); it was like that scene in Frankenstein where the peasants storm the castle to rid themselves of the monster. In very short order, v1.1 was released with Undo, and the peasants returned happily to their fields.

(BTW: Should you have a Classic Mac, you may download More 3.1 here, as Symantec (the eventual owners of More) were kind enough to release it for free. Do not snail mail them for support. :D
 


As much as Ive's designs looked terrific, I think there was a bit too much form over function going on. The Magic Mouse charging port and butterfly keyboard come to mind right off the top as current issues, and there are more going back in time.
Only "a bit?" They definitely should never let that guy near a mouse again. Hockey puck?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
In fact, I think a 2017 iMac 5K Retina like the following is a slam dunk at $2,549 with 1TB SSD, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, Radeon Pro 580/8GB, P3 wide-gamut color, 8GB user-upgradable RAM (up to 64GB at 2400MHz), SDXC Card slot, four USB 3 ports, 4.2GHz quad-core i7, and macOS 10.12 compatibility....
Apple's user-unfriendly design ethos bites again, though. While earlier iMacs were VESA-mount compatible, Apple eliminated that compatibility for recent iMac 4K and 5K models, except... oh, you could have ordered a special, separate VESA version... if you ever had any clue such a thing might be available and necessary... And, of course, you might want that, because Apple's stand has no vertical adjustments (nor any horizontal swing, nor pivot)...

The $5000+ iMac Pro has an optional VESA adapter, except, oh, right, it was grossly defective. (Let's hope that Apple's $1000 Pro Display XDR stand and $200 Pro Display XDR VESA adapter are a lot better for all that money.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Only "a bit?" They definitely should never let that guy near a mouse again. Hockey puck?
For me, the original iMac round mouse was the most idiotic "design" Apple ever issued. It instantly removed fundamental feedback for the single most important control for the computer and was only usable with the help of third-party add-ons.

But, having conquered the hockey puck idiocy with third-party help, it was the evil Apple wedge mouse that actually caused me enough injury that it forced a switch to the opposite hand to control the computer, and it was a few years before I could again mouse with my regular hand.

There’s a special place in hell where the designers of these devices could spend an eternity being forced to use them 8+ hours a day, like the millions of customers who had to suffer with their perverse designs.*

(*As much as I miss Steve, despite his abuses, I guess he gets st least partial "credit" for the round iMac mouse.)
 


(*As much as I miss Steve, despite his abuses, I guess he gets at least partial "credit" for the round iMac mouse.)
I never had a problem with the hockey puck mouse, nor with the much larger, three-button, circular Digital Equipment Corp. VSXXX-AA mice. My kids, 10 and 5 when we got a Rev. B Bondi Blue iMac, took to the hockey puck like ducks to water. They liked it a lot better than the old Apple Mouse on the II GS.

50* years of using first teletype, then terminal, and finally workstation and personal computer keyboards, and over thirty years of using a wide variety of mice, trackballs, joysticks, and mousepads have given me the impression that we all like what we're used to. Some people have physical limitations because of RSI, hand size, limb length, and the like, but most people get used to a new keyboard or mouse in a couple of weeks. Maybe it was my forbidding demeanor (not), but the only used who ever asked for a different input device was a sys admin with bad RSI in one wrist.

*52 if you count IBM 026 and 029 card punches.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I never had a problem with the hockey puck mouse... we all like what we're used to.
It's a very simple, essential and universal design issue with the round mouse: you can't tell by feel which way it's pointing (in contrast to any other computer mouse). That's why companies don't manufacture and sell round mice! And that's why Apple's round mouse was universally reviled by anyone with a clue about basic human factors (and why Apple never produced one again).

But it's nice that you and your kids liked it.
 


It's a very simple, essential and universal design issue with the round mouse: you can't tell by feel which way it's pointing (in contrast to any other computer mouse). That's why companies don't manufacture and sell round mice! And that's why Apple's round mouse was universally reviled by anyone with a clue about basic human factors (and why Apple never produced one again).

But it's nice that you and your kids liked it.
I could tell which way it was pointing (1) because my normal hold on it put some fingers over the edges of the button, and (2) because I'd pay attention to what was going on on the screen. I don't ever recall an issue with using the hockey puck in terms of losing direction, location or anything else.

Maybe because it was a genuine Apple product, you were just Holding It Wrong™. ;-)

your milage may vary, of course.
 


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