The internet is a buzz about the new UI in iTunes 7. There are many changes, some good and some bad. Many will probably vanish with iTunes 8 or Leopard’s release.
Who knows, but I’m starting to get tired of the abrupt changes with every new version and trying to figure out how the heck to implement them in my software. It’s hard enough to follow the “standards”, much less all the UI “innovations” coming out of Apple these days.
What did grab my eye with iTunes 7 that turns me off and scares me a bit for the future is the new design for the iTunes Preferences window. I circled the two things that immediately caught my eye:
The window is modal, which is unlike other OS X application panels. It doesn’t have the standard candy coated window buttons at the top left and it has very Windows-like “OK” and “Cancel” buttons at the bottom right.
I don’t understand this at all. It’s modal with no window control buttons; so why isn’t it a sheet? Or better yet, why isn’t it like the old preferences window? Now, I have to worry about what “OK” and “Cancel” do to the settings I have made. The old preferences panel saved the changes immediately, I didn’t have to worry about it.
What happens now if I make a change on one pane, say the “Playback” pane, then change to the “Advanced” pane. Were my changes saved when I switched? If I click “Cancel” is everything reverted to the old settings before I opened the Preferences Window? Or does the “Cancel” button just cancel the current pane?
What really gets me is that this very morning I was watching the old 2005 WWDC sessions and happened to see some discussion on improving UI. One of the “bad” examples had an “OK” and “Cancel” button. To improve the UI, the buttons were removed. The same session argued that modal windows should be replaced with sheets.
Maybe this is all for the benefit of Windows users. After all, they are very used to this design. But, couldn’t Apple display the Preferences window appropriately for each platform? Now we have Windows UI patterns bleeding onto OS X from, of all sources, Apple!