Craig Mod Pontificates About macOS Behaviour

Each time I try to use iMovie my mental model for how an app should work is challenged: What *are* you, Sir? Be you a desktop app? Or be you an iOS app? Or be you some unholy hybrid, neither here nor there, using neither standard nor guessable UX patterns or keyboard shortcuts?

Where as using Keynote makes me feel like some perfect freestyle swimmer, able to glide effortlessly forward, running against few walls, expected functionality where I expect it, working as I anticipate it to work.

Let’s play: How do you save a movie in iMovie?

File … > Save? Nope. Doesn’t exist.

File … must be … > EXPORT? Nada.

OK … File … > Share?? … > File… ?


File > Share > File is how you get a movie out of iMovie onto your drive?

*places laptop in toilet*

I mean, I get the impulse to create parity between iOS and macOS … sort of. But, who is this helping? The iOS folks are going to open the app on iOS, and the folks on macOS are going to expect standard macOS patterns.

Craig makes excellent points about how some apps changed over time depending on how closely linked to iOS they became. Keynote continues to behave the way it did in the early 2000s when I was making fancy HCI presentations with three dimensional slide transitions.

The Menu Bar Podcast – Beauty in Accidents

Rob Sheridan is the guest on episode 24 of The Menu Bar. If you are not familiar with Zac Cichy, he focuses on technology with an occasional transition to culture: music, film, religion, etc. This episode stands out because Rob describes purposefully designing the wrong way while working for Nine Inch Nails. He tells stories of ignoring industry experts, purposefully degrading his work, and using carefully considered mistakes to establish a brand.

While designing a new interface I sometimes wonder if I’m obsessing over perfect alignment, grids, and symmetry resulting in a bland aesthetic. Perhaps we should include an iteration or two that leans in the wrong direction.

Horizontal Scrolling on the Web

Left to right scrolling has always been considered a designer’s valiant effort to be different with little recognition or acceptance from users. It became somewhat achievable when the Mighty Mouse was released with its 360 degree scrolling nubbin. Even then, horizontal scrolling was frustrating and unnecessary. Little changed with the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad which made it even easier to scroll in any direction. The bigger issue is not knowing there is content to scroll to.

Side note: I desperately wanted a Kensington Expert Mouse when I was a young lad using a Performa 6300.

Apple famously hijacked vertically scrolling in 2013 when the Mac Pro was announced. Even with the distractingly beautiful photos it’s a frustrating experience.

And now we’re here. Apple’s designers solved the issue of not knowing there’s content on the right by automatically scrolling from right to left when you vertically scroll.

Notice how the vertical scroll bar on the right side of the screen moves downward as you scroll horizontally. This feels unusual especially when you reach the end of the content and the interface switches to vertically scrolling. When you scroll back up the page the interface does the opposite: vertical scrolling switches to horizontal scrolling.

I applaud Apple for finding a new way to hijack scrolling, and continuing to push boundaries. The large type and animations are beautiful as usual, but I find the experience overall to still be frustrating. We are simply not trained to maintain spatial awareness in a horizontal space.