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Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: a Preview of how Apple plans to revamp the toolbar

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Preview, Apple's simple, utilitarian image and PDF viewer, offers insight into how the company plans to change the standard toolbar in this summer's release of OS X Mountain Lion, organizing actions more efficiently and adding a context sensitive, iWork-style Format Bar.

Apple began experimenting with the appearance of the once standard Aqua OS X toolbar around 2003's release of OS X 10.3 Jaguar, which introduced the "Brushed Metal" look first pioneered by QuickTime and iTunes into bundled apps including iCal and iChat.

The then-new Safari subsequently introduced a new toolbar style featuring simple grey square icons, a look that began finding its way into the Finder and a variety of other bundled apps.

In 2005's OS 10.4 Tiger, Mail introduced its own, distinctive style of rounded, glossy buttons which were later, in 2007's OS X 10.5 Leopard, also adopted by several other bundled apps, including Preview (as shown below). However, both have since adopted the same toolbar appearance as Safari.


Tiger's Preview on the left compares to Leopard's revised toolbar layouts on the right, for graphics (above) and PDFs (below).


Preview follows printing user interface

In Mountain Lion, Apple is making two big changes to Preview's toolbar: first, its buttons are no longer customizable, as they are in today's Preview, and in Safari, Mail and most other apps that use the "Safari-style" toolbar.

Preview isn't alone in dropping its toolbar customizability; the new Print and Scan user interface of Mountain Lion (shown below), which has just shifted to a Safari-style toolbar, is also given a fixed icon arrangement. It's not only fixed as in 'non-customizable,' but also in utility, with a more logically organized set of simple controls that doesn't need customization.




Preview's other toolbar change parallels that revamped icon layout of the new print and scan user interface. Rather than presenting a variety of buttons that aren't usually even relevant, and forcing the user to pick items from button drop down menus (obscuring common actions), the new Preview 6.0 reorganizes its toolbar to simplify and highlight the functionality users are most likely to want to access depending on the type of file they are working with.




The image above contrasts the new Preview 6.0 tool bar with the customizable toolbar mess of today's Preview, pictured within the window. Today's default Preview toolbar has ten icons and a search field (which is useless when viewing graphics).

On of 2: Preview's new document relevant toolbar

Preview's new document relevant toolbar

Rather than presenting a single, configurable toolbar for all documents, the new Preview uses one icon layout for graphics files (with a View pulldown, Zoom, Share Sheets, Crop, Rotate and Edit buttons, as show above) and one for PDF documents (which replaces Crop and Rotate buttons with a Markup tool for underlining, highlighting or striking through text and a search field, shown below).




The new Edit button displays a Format Bar of editing tools (shown below), making it easy to access draw buttons (to add a rectangle, oval, line, arrow, text, thought or speech bubbles); style buttons (for a color picker, line weight, and font panel); selection buttons (for making rectangle, oval, lasso, Smart Lasso or Instant Alpha selections) and controls to display an iPhoto-like Adjust Color panel (second window below) and display the standard Adjust Size sheet (third window below).








The new design indicates a new direction in making the default toolbar relevant and functional so that users don't need to rearrange it just to make it sensible. The View menu, reminiscent of iWork apps, shifts the window appearance to show Content Only, optionally add Thumbnails in a gutter to the left (first window below), alternatively present a textual Table of Contents (for a PDF), list Highlights and Notes (also unique to PDF), or display a Contact Sheet (second image below). The View can also pick between Continuous Scroll, Single Page or facing Two Pages views, and a final option shows or hides the image's or document's background.








Preview's new toolbar is a reflection of Apple's increasing efforts to simplify the user interface without reducing its feature set. In fact, Preview 6.0 is now far more useful simply because it's easier to navigate the user interface. Features that are present but hidden behind clumsy pulldown menu buttons in today's Lion are now obvious and accessible because they're easy to find.




This iWork-style toolbar direction is a marked contrast from Microsoft's Ribbon user interface, which seeks to display all the buttons and control options a user may ever want to access into the document window.

However, the new Mountain Lion toolbar isn't the only thing that's changed in Preview 6.0. The next segment will highlight what other innovations Mountain Lion makes available to modern apps, using Preview to highlight examples of these changes.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 63
Know what we need? Colored button backgrounds.

Have them styled exactly the way they are now, but instead of the icons being colored, we have beautiful muted colors as the background of the button.

I'd mock it up, but my Photoshop install refuses to listen to me when I tell it that yes, it can, in fact, run without Adobe Application Whatever Crap installed alongside it.

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post #3 of 63
Just pointing out that the Title of this piece indicates it is about the Menubar, when it is clearly about the Toolbar.

The article is quite good, as-is, but I was really fascinated by the idea of Apple making significant changes to the venerable Mac OS menubar.
post #4 of 63
thanks for publishing this... it was a nice read. i look forward to more coverage of mountain lion in this fashion.
post #5 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Know what we need? Colored button backgrounds.

Have them styled exactly the way they are now, but instead of the icons being colored, we have beautiful muted colors as the background of the button.

I'd mock it up, but my Photoshop install refuses to listen to me when I tell it that yes, it can, in fact, run without Adobe Application Whatever Crap installed alongside it.

What version of PS?

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post #6 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Know what we need? Colored button backgrounds.

Have them styled exactly the way they are now, but instead of the icons being colored, we have beautiful muted colors as the background of the button.

I'd mock it up, but my Photoshop install refuses to listen to me when I tell it that yes, it can, in fact, run without Adobe Application Whatever Crap installed alongside it.

Good ideaand I REALLY want that kind of coloring in the Finder/save-dialog sidebars. Desktop and other common destinations used to be nicely distinct!

In fact, the way Id do those: leave the blue folders, and the flat, clean silhouette icons just as they arebut color just the inset ICON part distinctly for each folder. That inset-color effect could look nice in toolbar buttons too. (It could even revert to monochrome for Graphite theme users, I suppose... but please make the Graphite stoplight widgets go to color when moused over!)

I would weep tears of joy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikvdo View Post

Just pointing out that the Title of this piece indicates it is about the Menubar, when it is clearly about the Toolbar.

The article is quite good, as-is, but I was really fascinated by the idea of Apple making significant changes to the venerable Mac OS menubar.

Yes, toolbar or window title bar.
post #7 of 63
Preview is starting to turn into a very nice application. I still dislike that it is the default for many file types which I would rather open in CS applications but at least it is quite functional for people who don't have CS.

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post #8 of 63
I don't understand this article... is it about the menu bar or the toolbar?
post #9 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikvdo View Post

Just pointing out that the Title of this piece indicates it is about the Menubar, when it is clearly about the Toolbar.

Exactly. And menu bar is two words.

Article is a mess.
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post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

---
In 2007's OS X 10.5 Leopard, Mail introduced its own, distinctive style of rounded, glossy buttons…
---

Not true. The rounded, glossy buttons were introduced in 2005 with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and its redesigned Mail.

Take a look: http://media.arstechnica.com/images/tiger/mail-big.jpg
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post #11 of 63
Nice; Preview is looking to become quite useful!
post #12 of 63
It looks clearer, a good change.

However visually I still preferred the days when the title bar was separated from the toolbar by a line. Having them combined makes the tool/title bar too dominant over the content, which is supposed to be central these days. Maybe they are making the controls greyscale to make them overwhelm the content less, but the "weight" of a combined title/toolbar undermines that.
post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Preview is starting to turn into a very nice application. I still dislike that it is the default for many file types which I would rather open in CS applications but at least it is quite functional for people who don't have CS.

Why not just change the default application associated with those file types?
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post #14 of 63
I'd love it if Preview allowed simple crop, resize, and image processing, along with suitable export for web development, so that Photoshop was only needed for the heavy lifting.

Looks like I'm going to get my wish!
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Why not just change the default application associated with those file types?

Yeah, I should. I would prefer that documents opened in the application that created it like the old days, but that had its issues as well. I've gotten into the habit of dragging the document to the dock icon of the app I want to use so it isn't that big of deal.

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post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: a Preview of how Apple plans to revamp the menubar ...

An entire article about the revamping of the menubar that doesn't even mention ... the menubar.
post #17 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

I'd love it if Preview allowed simple crop, resize, and image processing, along with suitable export for web development, so that Photoshop was only needed for the heavy lifting.

Looks like I'm going to get my wish!

you can already do all this in preview, it's just not so easy to access, crop is cmd k and you can export files and set compression and so on
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post #18 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Nice; Preview is looking to become quite useful!

Preview already is a great app. Use it daily.

On a different not and I know I'll draw some heat here - I find the 'Inspector' (bad name) in the iWork apps annoying. I am not really a fan of floating pallets. I like them being detachable and placeable by me when I need it but floating by default. The Ribbons in MS apps always get slated for being messy etc, but I find them efficient. The images above don't do them justice because you don't have to work with anything showing by default. To mouse up and click the right ribbon is easier for me than to move the mouse off the document to the right, find the right panel, then click the right ribbon type button to reveal the controls... So, I am just saying... the Apple way is not better imo.
post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

I'd love it if Preview allowed simple crop, resize, and image processing, along with suitable export for web development, so that Photoshop was only needed for the heavy lifting.

Looks like I'm going to get my wish!

You can already do all that stuff. How can you use preview, and not know that?
post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Preview already is a great app. Use it daily.

On a different not and I know I'll draw some heat here - I find the 'Inspector' (bad name) in the iWork apps annoying. I am not really a fan of floating pallets. I like them being detachable and placeable by me when I need it but floating by default. The Ribbons in MS apps always get slated for being messy etc, but I find them efficient. The images above don't do them justice because you don't have to work with anything showing by default. To mouse up and click the right ribbon is easier for me than to move the mouse off the document to the right, find the right panel, then click the right ribbon type button to reveal the controls... So, I am just saying... the Apple way is not better imo.

I agree, the inspector is fucking annoying, and awkward to use, forcing you to click a dozen times and jump to so many different sections to make changes. IMO a better implementation would be a vertical sidebar that appear when pressing a button, kind of like the iPhoto edit panel, with everything laid out vertically in sections and viewable at once.
post #21 of 63
I would like to see one of these pieces on how Saving has changed yet again in Mountain Lion.

Some things are better such as the "Beep! This document is locked" box being gone, but some things are more confusing than before.

I don't know why they had to introduce Versions to a consumer oriented filesystem. Version control is something that confuses even experienced programmers sometimes.
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

I agree, the inspector is fucking annoying, and awkward to use, forcing you to click a dozen times and jump to so many different sections to make changes. IMO a better implementation would be a vertical sidebar that appear when pressing a button, kind of like the iPhoto edit panel, with everything laid out vertically in sections and viewable at once.

Yes, the PS pallets work better. Partly because PS is a much more complex piece of software (and partly because I know my way around), but I am not sure about toolbars both at the top AND at the side. The ribbon thing may not be idea but it is pretty snappy. I haven't checked but I assume each ribbon is configurable so for people like me who care, I could just get rid of all the superfluous junk buttons. There is no perfect way and it is a moving target, but like you, I hate the Inspector.
post #23 of 63
These are fine changes. Nothing to rock my world or make that big a difference in my daily use, but appreciated all the same. What I really want is color brought back back to the toolbar, sidebar across the OS. Even after all this time with the gray scale, I find myself clicking the wrong thing and just not liking the bland look.

Does Mountain Lion at least give users an option to choose between colored or gray toolbar and sidebar icons?
post #24 of 63
Good article! I use Preview for most of my simpler image processing.

Other things I'd like to see:

1. Add OCR to convert text in images to searchable text; i.e., convert to PDF.

2. Add SVG as an Open and Export option.

3. Add graphics editing - let me move, add, and delete pdf objects.

4. Add Applescript to Preview.

5. Enable image/file conversion (pdf to png, jpg, svg and back) in an open file without the Save step; or at least make the conversion available in the clipboard so the conversion can be made Copy PNG and Paste to PDF, for instance.

Preview has really speeded-up my ability to juggle images. These additions would speed it up even more.
post #25 of 63
I have to say that these articles on the various changes in ML are getting me excited for this summer. Sure, none of them, so far at least, have been earth-shattering. But it looks like an OS that has good, solid changes so far, ones that will make the entire OS more ... precise? I don't know.

But I'm excited.
post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

What version of PS?

CS6. I was able to remove everything but JUST Photoshop with CS5, so I imagine it's possible. I've likely forgotten how to do it or something. Ah, well.

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post #27 of 63
I agree with others above.

The grey only is a bit much. The toolbar is visually quite large (in fact it seems it can get even bigger in ML with the drop down bit). Inspectors are terrible things that get in the way and are slow to use.

As for preview becoming more useful, someone mentioned versions.

Can this useful and f-ing worse than useless ability be turned off in ML or be optional? Versions has turned Preview from the fastest image processor into the slowest causing major havoc with your files at the same time.

I am like NO, they are my original files, ARGH, I do not need my storage wiped out with 1000 images stored for a rotate then a resize then a image codec change. WORSE, please no I haven't finished the edit, DON'T stop the whole app to save the 1000 images yet.

Versions, yeah I fully get it. Versions on the other hand has no idea how bad it is if you work with a) large files b) lots of files.

So please, anyone. Has ML done anything about versions?
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post #28 of 63
I'd always considered M$'s Ribbon Interface as more or less a gesture of surrender, or a sign they'd given a pay cut to their UI/UX designers.

Or fired them and let the engineers design things.
post #29 of 63
No matter how they rearrange it this monochromatic os x hell is a usability hell. You scroll through the page and you get to the iWork screenshots and you cry out finally toolbar icons discernible in in milliseconds not seconds, one from the other, easy to form associations with and click on them next time.

As TS said they can be muted backgrounds more akin to a new interface style for apple, but by god an an os that will go from monochromatic grey, to monochromatic anthracite, to monochromatic mustard colour for calendar etc. etc. will be sheer usability hell for most of us.

Anyone at apple have the guts to go for this, or are the accountants running the show and rationalising iOS style interface design choices which are very ill suited to os x with things such as it's all about content? Does os x still have an identity?

We shall see, but things don't look promising at all.

So many people switched to os x because besides a host of robust underlying technologies it also had a great, minimal, usable and functional design. It will be a shame to have to stick to os x because it will be the lesser of two evils, the slightly better looking of two shit looking os's.

I opted for os x because it was that much better than windows.

Sadly what comes out of the os x team in terms of interface nowadays is not only what one would call hardly inspired, it's also what can be considered downright derivative and rubbish, mission control, iOS launchpad (since when discerning tens of miniscule icons within a folder become a usable way to quickly go to said folder...), monochromatic hell, poor customizability of system font style and size... It all tastes rather bland... Some might like some elements of the new interface, I can't seem to think they d be a lot of people who could successfully argue anything of it was inspired or cutting edge...

No matter how much ai sugar coats mountain lion's interface features the sad truth remains that os x is heading in a direction of pandering to ios design, introducing tablet elements to it at hardly make sense in os x, and losing it's distinct identity for the sake of the marketing folk to attract more switchers. Had Jobs been in his prime by the time it was decided that ios would go into os x I am sure he would have opted for the gutsy way to make the two os's keep minimal similar elements when they are functional in both systems and each one to develop their distinct identities. Scott Forestalls apparent power play with an ailing Jobs at the helm did no good to os x it seems.

Ad I said before even Microsoft followed vista with the gphalf decent windows 7, yet apple is rushing into mountain lion on the strength of notepad and reminders apps, when lion in itself has had such poor adoption rate compared to snow leopard, despite it being aggressively (and unfairly for the users) pimped on iCloud.

All that should have raised flags and rang bells, but it seems all it's done so far is had them pre-empt the boos of the community by pre releasing it to arch wankateur Grubber to start off the pr machine to get the itoys kids, the minions, off to their soliloquies on how great everything is in forums while they also contemplate how it feels to not be a virgin...

Ps. For f's sake make versions optional on a per app and per document basis.
post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post

I'd always considered M$'s Ribbon Interface as more or less a gesture of surrender, or a sign they'd given a pay cut to their UI/UX designers.

Or fired them and let the engineers design things.

I don't think you ve used it enough, it has a learning curve, to me it was one of the few inspired interface touches in windows, had they also given it more powerful customization iptions it would have been really great. But the way they Did away with basic menus, stuck the basic ones all within the window top left icon, then used the extra top space for very customisable quick access buttons and the ribbon with very well thought categorisations of functions was a great, and gutsy way, as well as a usability enhancing one to do away with various menus and submenus and one toolbar after the other.

But it never translated well to the mac, for sure they should have ditched it altogether there, version one was such a failed mix and match, and v.2 a better effort but still a poor one.
post #31 of 63
Mac OS X 10.3 was Panther, 10.2 was Jaguar
post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post

I'd always considered M$'s Ribbon Interface as more or less a gesture of surrender, or a sign they'd given a pay cut to their UI/UX designers.

Or fired them and let the engineers design things.

I chuckled at this. Cheers
post #33 of 63
I like subtle color. There must be a way to add a very slight hue to the window elements. And have it apply across the UI.

I would love to see as much GUI consistency as practical across the system and apps.

One thing that has changed in a few apps that I think is wrong is the placement of various icons and buttons. iPhoto now requires huge jumps in mousing to activate the edit functions. Why are they in the lower-right where no one mouses? Why can't I Esc out of edit views back to event views?

Why must my cursor travel across millions of pixels when working with iTunes? I know you can often use a contextual menu for some functions, but I'd rather work with my content on the left and then have the Sync button nearby. Why is this common function in the lower-right, away from everything?

The window resizing and other functions in a title bar should be grouped together. And while I'm at it, let's retire the Stoplight metaphor and pick some cool representative icons that perform predictable actions on windows!

The most-used functions of an app should be nestled together, clearly visible and labeled. I shouldn't have to jayscroll across an apps window to access common functions.

Even on the iPad, when viewing videos, the slider changes from the bottom to the top of the window depending on the view you choose. It's often difficult to operate an app with one hand consistently.

I agree with some that it would be nice to see some thoughtful UI improvements that reflect a lot of thought on how people actually use their apps. And color.

Didn't the iMacs blast off when SJ added color??
post #34 of 63
Maybe I missed it, but how are you supposed to scale to 100% in this revision? Often I'll open something up in Preview (usually a graphic of some sort), and I have to type 100% into the scale field to get it to show up at it's native resolution. Any idea??
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post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Preview is starting to turn into a very nice application. I still dislike that it is the default for many file types which I would rather open in CS applications but at least it is quite functional for people who don't have CS.

You are kidding right? You do know you control what opens what on a Mac?
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post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Preview is starting to turn into a very nice application. I still dislike that it is the default for many file types which I would rather open in CS applications but at least it is quite functional for people who don't have CS.

You know you can change that, right?
post #37 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

I agree, the inspector is fucking annoying, and awkward to use, forcing you to click a dozen times and jump to so many different sections to make changes. IMO a better implementation would be a vertical sidebar that appear when pressing a button, kind of like the iPhoto edit panel, with everything laid out vertically in sections and viewable at once.

No need to 'click a dozen times' ... just open another inspector window and display the controls you want to use. You can open as many inspectors as you need 'laid out vertically' or anywhere you like 'and viewable all at once'.

Apple have done a good job considering Adobe's patenting of palettes. Nice if Apple made them snap together like Adobe does, but I wouldn't want the deranged interface nightmare that's taken over the CS series to spread to Apple's offerings.
post #38 of 63
The pulsating belly cartoon ad at top right of the second page was so distracting and made concentration so difficult I finally just quit reading.
post #39 of 63
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Originally Posted by scottyo View Post

The pulsating belly cartoon ad at top right of the second page was so distracting and made concentration so difficult I finally just quit reading.

Adblock?

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post #40 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

I agree, the inspector is fucking annoying, and awkward to use, forcing you to click a dozen times and jump to so many different sections to make changes. IMO a better implementation would be a vertical sidebar that appear when pressing a button, kind of like the iPhoto edit panel, with everything laid out vertically in sections and viewable at once.

Inspector has a special place in hell right next to MDI. Especially when you add multiple documents in the mix. In regards to iWork, I'd prefer both a sliding panel and tabs on documents although it's hard to see how Apple can implement this and keep the clean look of iWork intact.
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