iPhone interface in an Inspector

by Giles Turnbull


Rory Prior, developer at Think Mac and latterly a participant in our Indie developers in the UK article, has created a new user interface for the Inspector in his Instant Gallery application.

With more and more functionality being embedded in the Inspector, it was getting overburdened with tabs. So Rory took inspiration from what he’d seen of the iPhone interface, and created a menu-based system with smooth side-scrolling to the right for more detail, and to the left to go up the menu list.

Rory has posted a short explanatory screencast that shows the animated interface in action.


2007-06-14 05:33:20
How is this any more revolutionary than the (current) Finder's column view? (Except swapping subfolders / files for Inspector categories / settings)? Or is there something more iPhone-y (no pun intended!) about it that I'm missing?
2007-06-14 06:02:06
TheBoyKen: Well, mainly it's just the first time I've seen something like this in an *Inspector*. Makes a change from having many tabs inside one Inspector panel, or many palettes littering the screen.
2007-06-14 13:42:52
It makes no sense to mimic a UI designed for the iPhone's small 'finger control' screen on a much bigger computer screen. Even the screencast showed the author take the wrong path. There is no sense of where you are or how you got there, not even a bread-crumb trail, no overview, no easy way to jump to another part. This really reminds me of the menu systems on ascii terminals (VT100 and such) in the 80's. in, in, in, select, up, up, up, up, ... It is not because it smoothly scrolls that is a better UI. There are many application that have inspectors, and some have quite a lot of them. There are a lot of them that slide in and out (Adobe apps come to mind), but I can't recall any of them being hierarchical (of course, my memory is not that good anymore, never was :-) If the hierarchy is really wanted, then the window is large enough to hold at least two levels, giving you a better sense of navigation. Maybe 3 levels when using a smaller font. Better would be to avoid hierarchies at all; flatten the list, keeping at most 1 level, or simply use a couple of inspector windows: why not a gallery inspector, a page inspector and an image inspector. Also, I can imagine that one needs to inspect or change the page and image attributes quite often, but I *guess* one doesn't need to change the gallery attributes so often (title? ftp? all pretty constant I think). Then why offer the same level of accessibility to it? So we might not need a gallery inspector at all. So two inspector windows, that would be acceptable, no? (note that I do agree about the littering-ness of many palettes)

It *is* nice to see people try out new things, but not just because it's new. It must be better. Oh well, just getting old and grumpy :-) Cheers!