In the early 90s a young British computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee had been tasked by CERN (Centre Européeen pour la Recherche Nucléaire the now famous large hardon collider that found the Higgs Boson or a tiny thing pretending to be it) to go in and see if he could find a way of getting the Tower of Babel of different computing platforms used by the hundreds of physicists at the plant to talk to each other. He came up with something that made use of metatextual techniques that he called The Information Mine. Being a very very modest man he realised that those initials spelled out his name, TIM, so he changed it at the last minute to the World Wide Web. He wrote a language HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), a set of communication protocols (chiefly htttp — the hypertext transfer protocol) and an application, as we would now say, on which all these could run, which he called a browser.
He planned, devised, programmed and completed this most revolutionary code in Geneva on one of Steve Jobs’s black cube NeXT computers. Hugging his close to him he took the train to Paris where Jobs was going to be present at a NeXT developers’ conference. Clutching the optical disc that contained the most important computer code in history he sat at a desk while Steve marched up and down looking at hopeful programs and applications. As in all of Steve’s judgments they either sucked or were insanely great. Like a Duchess inspecting a flower show he continued along the rows sniffing and frowning until he got two away from the man who had created the code which would change everything, everything in our world. “Sorry Steve, we need to be out of here if we’re going to catch that plane,” whispered an aide into Jobs’s ear. So, with an an encouraging wave Steve left, two footsteps away from being the first man outside CERN to see the World Wide Web. The two men never met and now, since Steve’s death, never can.
Speaking in support of F.D.A. regulation was Marsha Cohen, a lawyer with the Consumers Union. Setting eight cantaloupes in front of her, she said, “You would need to eat eight cantaloupes — a good source of vitamin C — to take in barely 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C. But just these two little pills, easy to swallow, contain the same amount.” She warned that if the legislation passed, “one tablet would contain as much vitamin C as all of these cantaloupes, or even twice, thrice or 20 times that amount. And there would be no protective satiety level.” Ms. Cohen was pointing out the industry’s Achilles’ heel: ingesting large quantities of vitamins is unnatural, the opposite of what manufacturers were promoting.
Compared to the iPhone, most of the WP7S organizing screens have lower content resolution, which violates flatness and leads to hierarchical stacking and temporal sequencing of screens. In day-to-day use, maybe the panorama screens will solve the stacking/sequencing problem, or maybe they will just clutter up the flow of information. Of course Microsoft’s customers are already familiar with deep layerings and complex hierarchies.
One of the things that we were interested in doing is, despite people talked about this being “flat,” is that it’s very, very deep. It’s constructed and architected visually and from an informational point of view as a very deep UI, but we didn’t want to rely on shadows or how big your highlights could get. Where do you go? I mean, there is only so long you can make your shadows.
It wasn’t an aesthetic idea to try to create layers. It was a way of trying to sort of deal with different levels of information that existed and to try to give you a sense of where you were.
Something I consider myself fluent at is being able to look at an array of interfaces and pick up on subtle nuances amongst design decisions, trends, and practices. When you are always conscious of the interface, it quickly becomes apparent how the designers are influenced by a.) specific other designs b.) industry practices and c.) personal taste.
Recently I have been studying iOS7 from a purely speculative approach. And instead of just looking at screenshots and dismissing the brightly colored app-icons, or mocking some of the animations or effects, I like to enjoy the work that has been put into it. Which is something I would recommend to anyone involved in both design and development. That is to take it in first, really digest it before reacting. Use it a more-than-healthy amount.
A common thought i’ve read on iOS7 is that it brings together many great things from Android, Windows Phone, and even WebOS. I would argue that as a generalization it goes much deeper than that. The designers at Apple are studying day in and day out what works, and what doesn’t work. Looking at the work of many folks, both inside and outside the firm. Influence runs deep.
As a neat anecdote of this, take a look at the gradient in iA Writer’s cursor and then look at the app gradient-background on the App Store icon. I didn’t do any actual color comparison in photoshop but it’s fairly easy to see the similarities. This may be a bit of a stretch and likely just a coincidence but interesting nonetheless. iA Writer has been available since 2011 and hasn’t changed a bit other than adding new features, yet iA Writer looks like it was born on iOS7.
The Treaty of Paris in 1783 was interrupted by an argument between Benjamin Franklin and Louis XVI’s printer over whether to set the treaty in Baskerville or Caslon. Benjamin Franklin, mocking the Frenchman, contended Caslon was “passé” and began singing “Le Poisson” from The Little Mermaid. The fight was broken up by Franklin’s mistress. A patina statue off the coast of New Jersey marks the occasion.
I was scooting around on my Apple TV after the update that brought HBO Go and I noticed that you can select a picture screensaver that randomly cycles through new/upcoming movie posters. After trying it out I realized how nice it was. Movie posters reveal a lot and having a scrolling canvas of upcoming ones is a great idea. I could see this being ideal for home theaters that like to build on the cinema experience.
Simplicity is great, as iOS has shown. But there’s a difference between conceptual simplicity and visual simplicity. Just hiding controls does make things appear simpler, but it doesn’t actually make them any simpler. The complexity is now just hidden. Similarly, removing features that few people use is a good idea, but like any good idea, it can be taken too far. At a certain point, you’re just making your application worse for everyone, even new users.