Martin Probst's weblog

Lion's Address Book and Calendar

Saturday, December 10, 2011, 10:45 — 0 comments Edit

After using them for a couple of months, I’m more and more annoyed by Mac OS Lion’s productivity apps, the address book and calendar. At first, I was a bit surprised by the gratuitous real world analogies (ripping of sheets in calendar, the pseudo notebook style in address book), but thought hey, whatever.

The more I use it, the more annoyed I am. For example, navigating between dates in calendar is a disaster. The controls are hidden on the top right, far away from the pill buttons that control the timespan shown, which are much more prominent but most of the time not what you actually want to use. The “rip off” animation when navigating back and forth between months not only doesn’t make sense, it just takes a long time and disorients users. The main user interactions for me, “what’s happening this week” and “plan next month” are unnecessarily cumbersome. Google’s calendar really does a way better job there, with navigation elements in the top left, the whole month overview, and a much better attention flow from top left to bottom right.

The page flipping in Address Book has the same issue. It doesn’t make sense (the same content appears on the front and back of the same physical page, the book only has three pages), it’s full UI change is disorienting, and it makes it impossible to interact with groups and contacts efficiently.

I wonder what this is all about. Apple clearly should know better. And surprisingly, as Google (and IMHO much of the web) moves to cleaner, more minimalist UI design, Apple goes into the direct opposite direction, with real world analogies that don’t work, and just plain bad UI design. Are they loosing their mojo in desktop UI apps?

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