Apples Poor UI Choices in iOS and OS X Lion

iCal's Year View on OS X Lion

[Thoughts on Skeuomorphism in UI Design – Kaishinlab](

> Skeuomorphs in UI design refer to interface elements that retain obsoleted visual or behavioral aspects of the physical objects they are based on. […] Apple has been riding the skeuomorphism wave for more than a decade, alienating pundits and users alike in every episode, the most recent of which involves the redesigned iCal and Address Book in Lion, sporting a new skeuomorphic look heavily borrowed from their iPad sister apps, Calendar and Contacts.

> The iOS-inspired interface came under harsh criticism, dismissed as an unnecessary gimmick and mocked for being hideous, even infantile. While the reaction seems quite disproportional to me, I admit that there are major arguments standing against skeuomorphism in UI design.

This is something that is really starting to bug me. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Calendar and Contacts on IOS since I first got one, and now the futility of the interface has been transferred to OS X Lion. It’s wrong on so many levels I actually don’t know where to start. Not only is the interface abhorrently noisy, most of the metaphors don’t hold true. The usability of both applications (critical applications from a productivity point of view) is so badly compromised that these apps are singularly the worst thing about the Mac ecosystem.

What I find most appalling though is that there is a real scarcity of alternatives. iCal alternatives are all plagued by week and month views that are trying to mimic paper wall calendar. Do I have to spell it out – we are using computers, typically handheld, and this is the 21st century! There just has to be a better interface.

On app that I’ve tried and at least is trying to break the mould is [Calvetica](, but despite the improved typography, it is still hanging onto the past.

UI design on the Apple needs a serious rethink. Stop trying just to make it look pretty, and make it functional. I fear this is one consequence of Steve Jobs leave of absence – the system is starting to be designed by committee, and the devil is in the detail.

3 thoughts on “Apples Poor UI Choices in iOS and OS X Lion

  1. another reason not to buy Lion then

    (the other being loss of Rosetta which, while I understand the reasons, would leave me without many apps upon which I depend yet can’t / don’t want to invest in upgrading)

    1. Yep, I lost access to one of my apps as a result of the loss of Rosetta, and Apple could have made it more obvious. Overall I’m liking Lion, and i can see where its going, but not everything Apple does is a great idea, at least not in the first incarnation.

  2. You’re absolutely right about iCal. In fact, I found your blog while searching for iCal alternatives. I can adjust to some of the new iCal, but the process of entering new events is beyond horrible.

    I view the calendar in Month View because, hello!, it’s a CALENDAR. But if I try to enter a new event while in Month View, iCal automatically assigns the event to the entire day. CRAZY. But having to pay $50 for an iCal alternative like BusyCal seems crazy too.

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