Nicholas Windsor Howard, a designer from the States, has written a two issue essay on the current betrayal of Apple of six of its ‘old times’ core design principles:

  1. Analogies to familiar real-world objects, such as folders, buttons, a desktop, or a trash can, so that you feel comfortable and can easily use these clues to infer any of the computer’s functions.
  2. Style and grace, so that you want to use the computer.
  3. Judicious use of hierarchy and color (though technological limitations prohibited color displays until later in computer history), to draw your eye to the proper places and differentiate design elements from each other.
  4. Sufficiently readable fonts and bold iconography, so that you can see what you are doing.
  5. Feedback (for instance, the way an icon goes dark while being clicked). Providing feedback reassure you that you are accomplishing what you think you are, and it communicates the state of the computer.
  6. You need only glance at the interface to know what you can do and how to do it. According to this principle, the design should not include “hidden” elements (buttons, menus, and other choices should always stay visible) and should clearly communicate, using visual clues, what will happen when you interact with an element of the interface. This principle is called “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG).

Have a read yourself, it’s worth it: The Apple Goes Mushy Part I: OS X’s Interface Decline part I: Introduction, part II: Conclusion

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