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Aqua Interface to be updated?

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
It seems the aqua interface was invented back in the days of b/w G3 and fruit flavored imacs.

I have always found the interface nice for consumer machines but too round and colorfull for professional use.

Since then the hardware design line has changed quite a bit to a much more sleek and minimalistic design. Is the Aqua interface due to an update too? In my opinion the interface could use some optimizations here and there.

ap
post #2 of 69
Personally, I still like aqua, but could do without the stripes.

Check out the <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/server" target="_blank">Mac OS X Server</a> page. Look closely at the X on the box, it doesn't appear to be transparent, just very sleek and reflective.

I hope this is the direction for future interface designs...



[EDIT: Added image.]

[ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: Spart ]</p>
post #3 of 69
Why would you think it's not transparent? It's on a white packground; so, you wouldn't be able to tell anyhow.

By the way, several Aqua elements were recently changed with 10.2.
post #4 of 69
I liked Jaguar's aqua interface.

But I do agreee with Spart, the stripes must go.
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post #5 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by Brad:
<strong>Why would you think it's not transparent? It's on a white packground; so, you wouldn't be able to tell anyhow.

By the way, several Aqua elements were recently changed with 10.2.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I simply assume, it doesn't give the same obviously gel-tab appearance of the current aqua, more of a hardened quicksilver.

We all know they were changed...very slightly. The feel of aqua really hasn't changed at all.

And they only updated a few of the widgets....the scrollbars, menubar widgets and whatnot have been left untouched.
post #6 of 69
[quote]It seems the aqua interface was invented back in the days of b/w G3 and fruit flavored imacs. <hr></blockquote>

I completely agree. Regardless of how it's perceived as an OS interface, from a purely graphic design point of view it's really not up to date. I always thought Aqua would have gone just right with the orignal rounded Bondi blue iMacs/G3's and clamshell iBooks. That was how many years ago? A long time in graphic design years. By making Aqua have a "look" much stronger than the generic OS9, Apple has kind of put themselves in a position where they need to evolve Aqua to keep up with what is fresh in graphic design the same way they keep up with good industrial design.

At least there are some decent themes around to use in the meantime.

[ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: jw34 ]</p>
post #7 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by stunned:
<strong>I liked Jaguar's aqua interface.

But I do agreee with Spart, the stripes must go. </strong><hr></blockquote>

I actually ddon't mind the stripes.
post #8 of 69
aqua needs updated but not much. apple thought long and hard about their interface and i think they ended up with somethign worth the time they put into it. the stipes keep it from looking like blank space...without the stripes is ugly, i like the stripes. if you can find me a GUI that is better looking then show me, cuz i havn't found it. without stripes it looks so dull and plane...TOO plane, i think that the stripes could just be lightened


-stipes minimized-

-reg-

[ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: ast3r3x ]</p>
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post #9 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by stunned:
<strong>I liked Jaguar's aqua interface.

But I do agreee with Spart, the stripes must go. </strong><hr></blockquote>

liked...you dont use it anymore?
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post #10 of 69
I like the true "pinstripe" look of the menubar and toolbars more than the more prevalent stripe pattern that's more at a 1:1 proportion. I'd lie to see those areas be more light gray with white pinstripes and leave the menubar and other such items with the white with gray pinstripe look.

I'm sure that the look of Aqua will develop and transform quite a bit over the next several years. It will probably get more heavily modified in the long run than the behavior of the UI.
post #11 of 69
The stripes do work. The alternative looks blank, flat and, basically, crappy.

Outdated interface design? Look at XP for God's sake! Well, at least it's better looking than Win 9x, but those crappy looking icons, ugh! And the shading of XP is just too unprofessional looking. Just look at that Start menu button. How did they come up with that shading? It's like the difference between art in a 1950's comic book and art in today's comic books. It just looks so unprofessional, unpolished, and basically juvinile from a design point-of-view.

What I'd like to see based on hardware design trends is a mirrored interface element, like when you look at the scroll bars you can see your reflection! That would be a feat!

Sorry, but what I DON'T want to see is Apple's brushed metal look across the interface. That would look pretty darn ugly (though still better than XP).
post #12 of 69
I say slightly blue stripes instead of grey.
Aqua should be more optimized.. And just sooo slow right now!

Other than that, im happy..
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post #13 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by tonton:
<strong>
The stripes do work. The alternative looks blank, flat and, basically, crappy.
</strong>
<hr></blockquote>

I have noticed that the stripes look rubbish in thousands of colours which seems like a major oversight.
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post #14 of 69
I use SmoothStripes... it just removes all the pinstripes. I love it, the stripes are annoying. I agree that they make "blank" space look not so blank anymore - which is why I don't like them. If something's blank, it should not be visually distracting. IMO, the stripes are REALLY visually distracting.

I used a theme called Rhapsodized for a while, and I really liked that one. But it was a bit too much gray for my tastes, it didn't go too well with a lot of applications.

EDIT: Oh, both the above themes (neither of which have stripes) sped up the OS noticeably. If you have an older Mac running OS X, that's one thing you can do to speed it up... get a theme that removes the stripes (and preferably one that removes transparency as well).

PS I think I just realized that SmoothStripes is so fast because it removes menubar transparency. So I would definitely recommend it to anyone using an older Mac.

[ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: Luca Rescigno ]</p>
post #15 of 69
Remove the stripes and you have a bland white expanse. If Aqua has it's stripes removed then they need to come up with a back ground that's less white ( bland ). I would find just white annoying and bland. A sort of unfinished look. Too simple.
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post #16 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by jimmac:
<strong>Remove the stripes and you have a bland white expanse. If Aqua has it's stripes removed then they need to come up with a back ground that's less white ( bland ). I would find just white annoying and bland. A sort of unfinished look. Too simple.</strong><hr></blockquote>

That's your opinion, but I disagree. I want my windows to look "bland", so they don't get in my way. A well designed GUI is one that is as unintrusive as possible. The pinstripes are very intrusive to me. I've been using the SmoothStripes theme with Duality for months now and I'm very happy with it. here is a sample:



Call it boring and plain if you like, but I find it much easier to read and access information in windows than with useless stripes that try to make the GUI more pretty.
post #17 of 69
*wipes tear from eye*
eVo, that theme truly is a thing of beauty.
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post #18 of 69
well i know a lot of people have a great hate for the brushed steel look but Metallifizer from <a href="http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/metallifizer/" target="_blank">unsanity</a> works for me: no pinstripe nonsense and no lollypop colour window buttons just a good clean and consistent interface

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post #19 of 69
Remember that OS 9 had pinstripes too, they just weren't ubiquitous. I wouldn't protest blank areas being, well, blank (white only). But I think the Classic logic of using pinstripes for "grabby" surfaces like title bars is a good one. I'd like to see that one screenshot of the "blank" theme with selective areas of pinstripes.
post #20 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by stunned:
<strong>But I do agree with Spart, the stripes must go. </strong><hr></blockquote>
I'm positive they will disappear in the not so distant future. Personally I do like the brushed metal look but there must be some alternative themes based on the purpose of use.

I would suggest the following 4 themes.
  • Communication (Mail, Browser...)
  • Production (Photoshop, iMovie...)
  • Storage (iTunes, iPhoto, iDisk, FileMaker...)
  • System related (Finder, System Prefs...)
post #21 of 69
I agree with Quick that Apple may well develop more .nib "themes" but rather than being system-wise appearance changes, they will (just IMO of course) be tailored towards classes of applications, or classes of functions. Of course, to do that, they would probably have to improve on the metal UE guidelines first...
post #22 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by BuonRotto:
<strong>...Of course, to do that, they would probably have to improve on the metal UE guidelines first...</strong><hr></blockquote>

You're right. They are completely confusing. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
<a href="http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/macosx/Essentials/AquaHIGuidelines/AHIGWindows/Textured_Windows.html#CHDHHBGJ" target="_blank">Aqua HI Guidelines/Windows/Textured Windows</a>

[ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: Quick ]</p>
post #23 of 69
There is something to having an interface be unobtrusive, but on the other hand the screen shot above makes the widgets look like they're floating freely, with no relation to anything. The stripes gather the contents of a window together.

I must be missing whatever makes them distracting. I have hardly ever noticed the stripes, except as a subtle way to unify the contents of a window.

I have to say, it looks near perfect on my Cube. OS 9 looked wierd with that hardware.

As to the title of the thread, I expect continuous refinements. In particular, I expect that once Quartz rendering is hardware accelerated across the line, Apple will move from TIFFs to vectors to draw the crunchy bits of Aqua. Then they'll have options. In the mean time, the interface will continue to evolve - although I don't expect radical change - as Apple refines it, and the rules governing its use.

[ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
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post #24 of 69
*Cough* <a href="http://www.asktog.com/columns/034OSX-FirstLook.html" target="_blank">Tog </a>*cough*

Much still stands. I accidentally click the Minimze instead of Close box sometimes. The window widgets should be on seperate ends of the top of the window like in OS 9. Also bigger window widgets would be nice, like in XP. I like how the widgets are bigger, but it is stupid to have all those controls next to each other.

Aqua definitely keeps getting better though!
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post #25 of 69
The XP widgets have to be bigger 'cause XP (and every other version of Windows) uses linear mouse tracking, which means you can move across the screen fast, but it is difficult to make fine adjustments.

Mac OS X (and all other versions of the Mac OS) uses dynamic mouse tracking, i.e, move the mouse quickly and you can cover the screen in a few inches of mouse movement, move it slowly and you will quickly run off the side of your mousepad before covering the entire screen.

This is one of the biggest reasons I hate using Windows...it makes Photoshop a pain especially.
post #26 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by Aquatic:
<strong>I accidentally click the Minimze instead of Close box sometimes. The window widgets should be on seperate ends of the top of the window like in OS 9.</strong><hr></blockquote>
This way you can separate destructive from non-destructive window widgets. I really don't know why they changed it in OS X. Just for cosmetical reasons?
post #27 of 69
[quote] Originally posted by Amorph:
I have to say, it looks near perfect on my Cube. OS 9 looked wierd with that hardware.
<hr></blockquote>

I agree, OSX looks much better than OS9 on a Cube.
post #28 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by Quick:
<strong>
This way you can separate destructive from non-destructive window widgets. I really don't know why they changed it in OS X. Just for cosmetical reasons?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Probably. Having a few at one end and one lonely one at the other doesn't look so great. Also, don't forget that some windows must have the toolbar collapse/show button. Might get a bit odd looking.
post #29 of 69
Look at the bright side, at least you don't maximize the window if you miss the close widget! In find that supremely annoying. Actually, I've never hit the wrong widget in OS X, though I have clicked and hit nothing (hit the title bar anyway).
post #30 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by Spart:
<strong>The XP widgets have to be bigger 'cause XP (and every other version of Windows) uses linear mouse tracking, which means you can move across the screen fast, but it is difficult to make fine adjustments.

Mac OS X (and all other versions of the Mac OS) uses dynamic mouse tracking, i.e, move the mouse quickly and you can cover the screen in a few inches of mouse movement, move it slowly and you will quickly run off the side of your mousepad before covering the entire screen.

This is one of the biggest reasons I hate using Windows...it makes Photoshop a pain especially.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Really!? If that's the case, then what does the "Acceleration" section under the "Motion" tab of the "Mouse Properties" control panel do in Windows anyway?
post #31 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by ap:
<strong>
I have always found the interface nice for consumer machines but too round and colorfull for professional use.

Since then the hardware design line has changed quite a bit to a much more sleek and minimalistic design. Is the Aqua interface due to an update too? In my opinion the interface could use some optimizations here and there.

ap</strong><hr></blockquote>

I agree. I think the interface is too colorful and IMO, I think there is too much white in it. I don't care much for the pin stripes either.
I wish Apple would tone it down somewhat or add an option to set aqua to look like the old classic look.

I hope they also update the dock so that you can set it to behave like the top menubar in that it's fixed at the bottom and extends from side to side and such that windows of open apps act in the same way they act with the top menubar. I also hope they reserve a small section of it for 3rd party status indicators since they don't like 3rd party status indicators in the top menubar. Some 3rd party status indicators I'd like to have for this are new mail notification, network traffic, cpu usage, memory usage, external login or hacker notification, and Hard Disk activity.
post #32 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by gmon:
<strong>Really!? If that's the case, then what does the "Acceleration" section under the "Motion" tab of the "Mouse Properties" control panel do in Windows anyway?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Fine, it's called Acceleration. But does that mean dynamically accelerated? I guess it's just controlling the speed of mice.

[ 12-03-2002: Message edited by: Quick ]</p>
post #33 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by gmon:
<strong>

Really!? If that's the case, then what does the "Acceleration" section under the "Motion" tab of the "Mouse Properties" control panel do in Windows anyway?</strong><hr></blockquote>

You're making it up. It doesn't exist.

No really, I believe it's just an emulation. I've always found that mouse acceleration on Windows worked really bad. No matte rhow I set it up, it's either too slow or too fast - dependant on what I'm doing. On Mac OS, though, the mouse speed has always been exactly right.
post #34 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by Chucker:
<strong>
You're making it up. It doesn't exist.

No really, I believe it's just an emulation.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Emulation? What do you mean? Mouse acceleration in Windows does just what you'd expect it to do - move the mouse pointer farther the quicker you move the physical mouse.


[quote]<strong>I've always found that mouse acceleration on Windows worked really bad. No matte rhow I set it up, it's either too slow or too fast - dependant on what I'm doing. On Mac OS, though, the mouse speed has always been exactly right.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, I guess "exactly right" is really mainly a matter of what you're used to and what not. The Windows behaviour will feel just as "not right" to a Mac user as the Mac behaviour will to a Windows user.

Bye,
RazzFazz
post #35 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by RazzFazz:
<strong>
Well, I guess "exactly right" is really mainly a matter of what you're used to and what not. The Windows behaviour will feel just as "not right" to a Mac user as the Mac behaviour will to a Windows user.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I don't think this is a matter of taste or habit. If it's more accurate, it's better.
post #36 of 69
The thing about the current Dock is that even though it can get in the way of stuff sometimes it doesn't give the impression of taking away screen real estate like a fixed opaque menu bar does. You can still see the backround behind it, and you can move things behind it easily enough. I think the next step in the Docks evolution will be the addition of code into the window manager that would make it impossible for any new window to spawn partially behind the Dock. That way it's impossible for a new window to pop up partially behind the Dock and then you have to move it over yourself, while still keeping the free floating look and feel of the current Dock. Right now Apple has left it largely to developers to implement this, and even some of Apples apps don't follow this guideline, it would be better and more effective if this functionality was just hardcoded into the display layer. They'll definitely fix this sometime in the future I think, it's a no-brainer.

The menu bar widgets are probably the worst designed part of the interface. They need to be about 2 pixels larger in diameter. The activation of the symbols when you mouse near it needs to be gotten rid of too, it's like a negative feedback that makes you think the button is available to press even though the cursor may not actually be over it. Probably the best thing to do though would be to space the close widget a little further away from the other two, so the resize widgets are grouped together. Right now, the spacing between each widget is about 9 pixels, which is a good amount. The space between the close widget and the minimize one should be increased by about 4 pixels though, so they are somewhat seperate; the space between the minimize and resize widget can be kept the same though. It is nice to have all the widgets in the same general area on the bar, especially with the super high resolution displays available today. A window can be so wide across that an OS 9 style window bar would be harder to use because you have to mouse all over the place.

As for the stripes, I'm another believer in the Unlined Aqua theme the someone displayed above. I have it on my iBook right now and it matches the aesthetic perfectly. And it's bright white and almost looks like shiny plastic, so it does have some character. I wouldn't mind a lightened, smoother striped aqua look though, right now the contrast between the stripes is distracting and messy looking.
post #37 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by hotboxd:
<strong>The menu bar widgets are probably the worst designed part of the interface. They need to be about 2 pixels larger in diameter. The activation of the symbols when you mouse near it needs to be gotten rid of too, it's like a negative feedback that makes you think the button is available to press even though the cursor may not actually be over it.

....I wouldn't mind a lightened, smoother striped aqua look though, right now the contrast between the stripes is distracting and messy looking.</strong><hr></blockquote>

They had larger widgets in the early developer previews, but they shrank them for a couple of reasons. One is that the general public outcry was that they took up too much space and look too cartoonish. Developers pointed out that the generally larger widgets (though obviously not the title bar ones) would wreak havoc on ported Carbon apps' since it forced new layouts on their existing dialogs and such. Apple shrank them by the time the public beta rolled out. The rollovers should work like the Dock's rollover effect. In the Dock, as soon as a name appears and as long as it is up, you can click the icon no matter if you're slightly off the icon. The title bar widgets should follow that pattern. I've always thought that the symbols should be static and the colors should be the rollover effect -- one at a time so you will be less likely to confuse which one you're clicking.

What percent gray are the stripes now? 85% white? If so, I could see them going up to 93% white.
post #38 of 69
While I have certain issues with the Aqua interface, its colourful nature isn't one of them.
Perhaps blandness and grayness are equated by some with professionalism and seriousness, or perhaps some favour it for reflecting the colours (or lack thereof) of their suits or of their skies.

It's a matter of difference in taste, and the OS does come with the graphite option. As for those who insist on obliterating all traces of colour there probably is a downloadable hack (to use at one's own risk) to satisfy that whim.
The mass-market alternative is just as colourful, yet the compostion is somewhat lacking in coherence.

I have a taste for colours and lots of them, I'd have liked the possibilty to order my G4 with the Blue&White colour scheme, not that I'm complaining or anything.
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post #39 of 69
[quote]Originally posted by ast3r3x:
<strong> if you can find me a GUI that is better looking then show me, cuz i havn't found it.
[ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: ast3r3x ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

<a href="http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/4698/SS/workspace.jpg" target="_blank">http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/4698/SS/workspace.jpg</a>

Check out this one. It was ahead of it's time and I think to this day is still a very elegant interface. Three dimensional where needed but none of the fancy stripes and gimmicks of today's interfaces.
post #40 of 69
Ugh. NeXTStep. Pretty OS, oppressive interface.

It's overcast, drab, '80s "hi-tek" looking with its steel greys and sharp corners, and so cluttered and lacking in contrast and differentiation that it's hard to tell where one widget begins and the other ends. It looks like a depressive tried to spruce up Motif. It would also fit perfectly into <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Title?0088846" target="_blank">Brazil</a>.

The truly classic Mac look, with white backgrounds and (after System 7) pretty, tactfully placed colors, has always appealed to me. One of the Mac's goals was to look upbeat and familiar (most people are used to black text on white paper), not "neutral" or "serious." Platinum also suffered from '80s "hi-tek" syndrome, and it dated as quickly as the slogan "The Professional Macintosh." (I need hardly add that the strategy behind that slogan was a dismal failure.)

[ 12-04-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
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