Designing a Great UI the Aqua Way
Subject:   Yes, but...
Date:   2001-11-19 10:31:00
From:   adamrice
While I felt that all the points in the article were well made, it seems to be picking the low-hanging fruit. The tricky parts of interface design are the less tangible ones. Do you present a feature through a button, menu item, whatever? Are some options even worth presenting, or should they be hard-coded, out of reach from the user (tough call, Dock positioning is an example of leaving a feature in without presenting a ready way to manipulate it)? How do you organize different-but-related features? MS's Word 4 was notorious for its disorganized design, that placed table-related menu items under three different menus, with multiple layers of dialog boxes to drill through to access some features.

Less is more in interface design. You don't want to load every interface element with too much functionality, but often you can use one widget to do more than one thing. The play/pause toggle in iTunes is an obvious example. Graying-out a "next" button when there is no "next" is another good example that isn't always followed. Grayed-out icons in BBEdit to represent an unsaved file are nice (if you notice them and know how to interpret them).

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  1. Alan Graham photo Yes, but...I agree
    2001-11-19 17:26:24  Alan Graham | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

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