The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by August "Gus" Mueller
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October 27, 2014

Khoi Vinh: Thoughts on Yosemite’s Look and Feel

"In the meantime, though, I find Yosemite lacking in polish, full of awkward decisions and unresolved tensions.
… Yosemite’s icons are also surprisingly haphazard; Apple has established new paradigms for some icons, but aesthetically, there seem to be few stylistic threads connecting the rendering of these icons together. Take a look at those populating Yosemite’s Systems Preferences, where some of the renderings are reductive and others are highly detailed, and the only apparent commonality is randomness. If anything, a revised look and feel for the operating system was an opportunity to rethink the presentation of its preferences as a unified visual system, but this falls far short of that."

I'm glad Khoi called out the System Preferences icons, because they drive me insane in 10.10. Random indeed.

There are some great things about Yosemite, but there are so many little things that confuse me. Why is transparency / vibrancy only for the key window? Why are my toolbar icons in Safari centered, so I never know exactly where go for a click? And why in the world does the color of Safari's window change when I switch tabs?

I understand and can see the logic in these decisions- but I think they were the wrong choice. I think it's change for change's sake, and that's not a good path to go down.

I will say that I really like the UI when "Increase contrast" is enabled in Accessibility, as it gives the whole OS a nicer look and it makes apps feel like they belong together. And I've also been playing with Acorn's tool icons, giving them more contrast as well (private builds- I'm just toying with them for a bit of fun).

I think the whole OS should head down this road- more contrast, more changes where usability trumps style, less mish mash and confusion.