OS X Yosemite Design Fail – Eye Candy vs. Usability

I’m not a designer. I’m a coder. I spend all day on my laptop with headphones
on, reading and writing walls of code. So I notice any little thing that
improves or degrades my ability to do that with ease.

I’m so incredibly irritated at Apple’s design changes to Yosemite right now.

Actually, not really. Almost everything seems smooth and nice and incrementally
better. No big ground-shaking changes. Overall this release seems fairly
inconsequential to the way I use my machine.

Except for this one, terrible choice. Here’s what the volume on-screen display
(OSD) used to look like in Mavericks:

mavericks_osd

Okay, so it was already not that great. It would be better if the OSD wasn’t
right in the middle, but I can see most of the text there. Now here’s what it
looks like in Yosemite:

OS X Yosemite Design Fail

So you’re sitting there listening to music while you work. Songs change, and
suddenly it’s a bit too loud. You hit a key to bring the volume back down to
comfort. And your reward is not being able to see your work for 2 seconds.
Aggregated over many, many times per day. Frequently taking you out of your
mental flow.

Now obviously Apple’s designers are mostly very good at their jobs, though
arguably Apple has always perhaps leaned a bit toward form over function. A
great deal of their success can be attributed to their devotion to form. But I
still think this seemingly small detail is a terrible choice, and it should
serve as a warning to everyone building software interfaces.

A designer thought that the visual beauty of this frosted glass motif was so
important to maintain across the interface that users should spend more time
looking at frosted glass and less at their chosen screen content. In doing so,
they sacrificed some of my productivity. Please don’t sacrifice your users’
productivity to your artistic whims.

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