Lion Tamer .I
22h54 Wednesday, 10th August 2011

Faithless has a song by the same name, the opening line goes:

… If you place a thing in the center of your life, that lacks the power to nourish, it will eventually poison everything that you are and destroy you." — Lion Tamer

I have upgraded the laptop to Apple's Mac OSX Lion, I am not ready to upgrade the work-horse desktop yet.  I am merely testing how far I would have to go to be able to get the laptop to a working development enviroment.  The aim of these posts is to share the experience with OSX Lion.

In all its glory of a new operating system, Lion, will look good for the casual user, or maybe even the first time user of a mac, but, for everybody else, it will be pain.  There are some grand beautiful things about it, if you look past the fly in and out animations:

  1. the scroll bars are not shown automatically, which is good for visual aesthetics;
  2. the scroll bars and most form inputs fields have changed, they look way better than the old ones — I think that was one of the things I hated about mac's ui, the scroll bars were not as good looking as windows ones;
  3. accented letters (e.g: é,à, ö) are now easier to get to: press and hold the letter (just like on an iPhone)
  4. the login window is way better it incorporates your background; and it has extra information about the state of the system;
  5. uhmm, what else?
  6. thinking,
  7. oh, yes, Mail is different, more of a mail client, than a toy-looking mail client;
  8. safari seems to be improved, I don't quite know what, I don't trust that browser;

Those are little cosmetic, UI (user interface), changes that I can't complain about, the major UI and UX (user experience) changes are the ones I find to be the undoing of the great legacy of OSX.  The major change is how the track-pad works by default:

Instead of the normal push and pull that you know, the pull and push now works depending on the content, not the application you are using.

Let me explain that:

When you drag two fingers down the track-pad, you are NOT moving the scroll bar down, BUT, you are pushing the content down.

This makes sense on an iPhone and iPad, but that process has now being replicated onto a desktop. Which I think is flawed and bad UX, because:

… the scrollbar moves in an opposite direction to your hand movement — that breaks the eye-hand coordination; this process is also replicated onto how you would scroll with a mouse. At it's core, you know that feeling you get when you dance out of rhythm?

Yes, you can change this settings in the preference panel but it comes as the default setting. Just after you finish the installation of Lion, you get a screen notification informing you of this change:

the fact that Apple had to inform you that scrolling has changed, implies, they are aware it is new, it is drastic, is most likely, counter intuitive.

I have, decided to try it out, see how far, I can handle the frustration of not realising, I'm supposed to push or pull the content and not 'scroll up or down'.  This changes a great deal of the visual narrative we are used to.  You might argue, well, it's something new, we just have to learn to use it.  I would agree, but every UI or UX that is new needs explaining, needs to answer a question that the old, tried and tested, method couldn't.

The only reason, I can understand why Apple is going this route, is for a uniform iPhone and iPad UX, so that when you switch from one device to the other, you continue with the same visual narrative. This is a justifiable reason, but the next question is:

is Apple assuming it's consumers are not intelligent enough to know the difference between the devices? Switching between an iPhone and laptop has never been a problem, ever. Secondly, different devices do not require the same UI or UX, each devices requires what works best for the optimum utility of it.

Wow, this is becoming a very long post — I'll leave it at this, I'll write another part, maybe break down this LION into four cubs, :)

For now, in closing, the very 'reasoning' for enforcing the change of scrolling to pushing and pulling is the key reasoning behind most of the changes I've encountered on OSX Lion:

uniform UI+UX throughout all it's devices.

But, Apple had an advert mocking "PC" users for that same 'uniformity' using George Orwell's 1984 story.

Jury, out.

, , , , , , ,
  1. 10
    Gangs and Stars.
    17H37, 02ND
    NOV 2011
  2. 07
    Stifled Growth.
    18H11, 13TH
    JUL 2011 01
  • 04


  1. Hey, thanks for doing the brunt and frustrating work for the rest of us.

    I think Apple Inc. rushed irresponsibly into this OS. Snow Leopard, which I skipped, should've been given a chance to stamp itself in the great hall of Operating Systems.

    On that reverse-scrolling business: That is just insane and insensitive toward the user. They're trying to shove it down our throats (set as default) and or, get us locked into using their products i.e. iPad & iPhone. Could that be the angle they're trying to use to beat the Android market?

  2. I think it is a type of 'lock-in' strategy — once you got Apple, you can't go back.


  3. … and rants continue ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui9d7ZRlnBs )

    It is, their undoing.

  4. Eish, my laptop is dood — so I can't continue with this, for now — there is no way I am installing OSX Lion on the Development Box.

    Not yet, anyway.

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