Modern Interfaces

Brandur Leach:

Think of all the animations that an average user sits through in a day: switching between spaces in Mac OS, 1Password’s unlock, waiting for iOS to show the SpringBoard after hitting the home button, entering full screen from a Mac OS app, or switching between tabs in mobile Safari.


I liked every one of them the first time. The next five thousand times were less impressive. And the same goes for all the flourishes in this class – they look great in screenshots and demos, but don’t advance our ability to be productive; in fact, they do the opposite.


Animations are a particularly egregious visual gimmick, but there are others: whitespace so extravagant that only a minute amount of content can fit on the screen, overly large font sizes, submenus where a row of links would do just as well, unlabeled icons that look neat but leave their users guessing as to what they do, fixed headers that obscure content. The list goes on.