Originally Posted by vinea
They've been doing that reflection thingy on iChat haven't they? Certainly is in the new one.
Yeah, but I kind of chalk that up to "application space", like Time Machine. I don't really care for those implementations either, but at least there are some conceptual and functional arguments to be made, and they aren't strictly speaking part of the OS look and feel.
Worse are those applications use of 3D space, which seems to be completely arbitrary.
The UI has always faked 3D to lesser and greater degree. Buttons, scrollbars and other UI elements have always had a 3D look to them. The entire UI is vaguely 3D.
All of that strikes me as "texture", rather than 3D. There's no implication that any functionality is happening on a a different plane than the desktop, just that the front plane of the desktop has a bit of "thickness" to it.
As far as consistency of depth...eh...I don't see it as a big deal. Nor do I see it as a confusing metaphor that requires any new cognitive load on the user. The only bad thing is the reduced contrast on the menu.
Again, it's not the actual look or functionality of the thing (although I think it looks really awkward) but what it implies about Apple's intent for the UI. If they are going to start introducing 3D elements "here and there" without any concern for what that space really is, in terms of the OS GUI or HIG, we can pretty much forget about the whole idea of a presiding "metaphor", which is to say: Windows.
As to whether Apple still cares about usability...um...do they still have a world class usability team? I mean there are folks at Microsoft research I've heard of in the UI world (like Bill Buxton) and there are a boatload of ex-Apple UI experts but um...I dunno who's at Apple.
There are folks given they have some gesture patents but hmm...no one of the stature of Tog or Raskin come to mind...am I missing someone obvious?
In '89 Tog had said that apple had spent $50M on the Apple UI R&D. They certainly have the money to do so in 2007 but are they?
That is precisely my larger concern, something like a 3D dock shelf being symptomatic.
Isn't the seamless, elegant, intuitive interaction of parts the reason a lot of us are on the Mac platform, in the first place? Isn't the idea of an OS as a "place" that "makes sense" something that keeps us here?