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I am currently a software engineer at Google, where as a member of the Android platform team I build frameworks and user interfaces.

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Another iTunes release, another widget kit: the iTunes 7 UI dissected.

September 12th, 2006

You probably saw that iTunes 7 is out (now apparently dubbed the “iTunes Jukebox,” presumably to contrast it from the iTunes Music Store). If you’ve installed it, you know that the user interface has changed. Again. There are plenty of improvements (off the top of my head: inclusion of CoverFlow, gapless playback*), and reverse sync), but slopped atop all the new features is a thick coat of downright amateurish cosmetic adjustments.

By and large, iTunes seems to have been beaten with the same ugly stick that did such a number on Mail.app. (Oh, wait, I cribbed that line last year.) What’s different this time is that the stick must have been dipped in some of the Pro apps, and maybe iWork, before swinging around to hit the iTunes piñata again.

Therefore, let me present iTunes 7, Dissected: a catalog of all the inconsistencies, gripes, and irritations I experienced in the first ten minutes after upgrading.

high-res: PDF (mirror); low-res: JPEG (mirror)

Make no mistake: I still love iTunes. I think that’s why these quirks grate on me so much—the rough edges on anything you really care about are particularly abrasive—and why I felt compelled to disgruntle myself.

Feel free to disgruntle yourself in the comments.

Update: Welcome, Linked List readers. (And, uh, yeah, I guess I am being a bit…er, vitriolic. I gripe because I care!)

88 responses

  1. PR  

    While I agree the interface changes aren’t great, my biggest complaint is that after waiting 30+ minutes to download the album art (a feature I’ve wanted for a while) it only found covers for about 30% of my albums…

    comment posted at 3:05 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  2. Amar  

    i can’t believe it took this long to deliver gapless playback! does it work on ipods too? or did it already? it’s annoying that whenever i listen to seamless mixes, my ipod adds seams.

    comment posted at 3:10 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  3. Jesper  

    Gapless playback is in the new iPods (although not the shuffle) and presumably in existing nanos and 5Gs with firmware upgrades.

    The “Jukebox” is just a line to distinguish it from the Store. It’s not called Jukebox off the web site, and it’s been called that on the web site for the last few years.

    comment posted at 3:44 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  4. dsandler  

    Amar: I don’t know about gapless playback on the iPod, but I’m assuming it works there, too. (Of course this would probably require an iPod update, which I haven’t heard about yet.)

    And as for the weird scrollbars looking like a GTK port, here’s an example of what I mean. [Not to malign the GIMP-on-OSX project; with a Mac-native GTK port, GIMP can run on the Mac without relying on X11 (which looks even worse). A better long-term solution is a Cocoa port of GTK. But I digress.]

    comment posted at 3:48 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  5. dsandler  

    Oh, this is cool: iT7 will show you the number of times you’ve skipped a track. That’s subtle, and handy.

    (See, I’m not all piss and vinegar today.)

    comment posted at 4:01 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  6. dsandler  

    Just discovered a very subtle UI interaction (not a bug!):

    You’ll note that the little resize gripper for the left-hand pane disappeared. (You can see it at the top of iTunes 6 or at the bottom of Mail; it’s a little region with grip stripes ( ||| ) that allows you to resize the pane.) In iTunes 7, the gripper’s just gone; you bring the cursor near the pane divider and it changes to show the horizontal-resize cursor ( <–|–> ).

    You only need to get your mouse near this edge, which is a good thing, because it’s only a pixel wide. There’s a fudge region of 3-4 pixels on either side that count as part of the resize control (move your mouse carefully to see).

    However: if you have so many playlists and shared libraries that the left-hand pane acquires a scrollbar, thing change: the left-hand side of the fudge region disappears. This is a good thing, of course; otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to use the rightmost 4 pixels of the scrollbar (which, on a 16-px wide widget, is quite a lot).

    Some poor Apple engineer had to build this in to reconcile the changes to the UI (viz., the loss of the gripper).

    comment posted at 4:18 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  7. Oakes  

    Wow, I agree completely. I noticed the horribly ugly and non-standard list hilite and scrollbar, and it looks like you’ve pointed out even more that I didn’t notice.

    Apple has been criticized for it’s non-standard UI quirks, and it looks like it hasn’t learned its lesson. And here I was hoping Leopard would bring a more consistent UI; if this is any indication, it won’t. What are they thinking?

    comment posted at 4:33 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  8. nate  

    I love the “grouped with artwork” view (aka “the middle one”). And Dan, I agree with everything you said. The scrollbars even seem like they don’t fit in the track quite properly — accentuated when iTunes is in the background.

    p.s. Your CAPTCHA is my fave. Functional, and a dis: “Spammers can’t add!”

    comment posted at 5:39 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  9. jhn  

    You’re just so wrong. The new UI is a huge imporvement in nearly every way. Death to Aqua!

    comment posted at 6:06 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  10. Mickey  

    In response to your gripe about not being able to view everything on your 1024×768 screen..

    If you double click iTunes Store, it opens up in a new window 890px wide, which is should fit your screen quite nicely..

    So there is accommodation screens of all sizes.

    comment posted at 6:12 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  11. dsandler  

    Mickey: You’re right that 890 < 1024, but in order to see all 890px I need to pinch the left-hand pane way down: screenshot. (Yes, this is a screenshot of iTunes 6; I haven’t updated my PowerBook yet, so I can go back and forth and compare the two.)

    comment posted at 6:29 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  12. dsandler  

    Nate: I agree; the “grouped with artwork” view is great. I remembered seeing it somewhere else, though … where was that? Oh, yeah, right, Windows Media Player 11.

    comment posted at 6:34 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  13. bq  

    Button aspect ratios chaos!

    View toggles: 4:3
    Forward/Back/Home: 3:2
    New Playlist/Shuffle/Browse/Eject: 2:1 (!)

    Would it kill them to go with 1.61:1? Grrr…

    comment posted at 6:50 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  14. Michael Tsai - Blog - Showtime  

    [...] I don’t mind that iTunes 7 is inconsistent with other applications, because I assume that everything will look like this in Leopard. What I do mind is that it’s so internally inconsistent and ugly. I don’t like the reflections (especially on the capacity gauge). The iPod configurator is a bunch of controls on a scrolling white background (with awful tabs); it feels like a Web page. Elsewhere, the swaths of gradient in the background remind me of Windows. More on the new interface style from Daniel Sandler and Andy Matuschak. [...]

    comment posted at 6:57 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  15. telos  

    i can’t express how deeply hurtful the new UI changes are to my sense of aesthetics.

    comment posted at 7:06 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  16. Jamison  

    There are some things I’m reserving judgement on, but there are some thing I really don’t like right away. I’m continually bugged by the inconsistent buttons, what had been at the bottom seem to have moved to the top with the new darker design at the bottom.

    Why are the buttons at the bottom so squished though? Not only are they needlessly wide (look at the icon compared to the space given) but more importantly they don’t have enough padding above or bellow. This just exaggerates a cramped from it being down at the bottom anyway. This is along the same lines as the gripper, the lack of padding is probably going to make for a usability problem with a good portion of users. This isn’t just accessibility, everyone has accidently closed an important window they meant to minimize, and sooner or later I know I’m going to miss clicking on one of those icons and click something below by mistake.

    Secondly, I don’t know how much use I’m going to get from the grouped-albums-with-artwork (“the middle one”) view because the first time I used it I discovered it didn’t actually group my music by album, instead I found I had duplicate copies of every soundtrack for each artist. I completely missed it until a coworker told me I had to change the list to sort by album not artists. OK, there’s a discovery issue that probably has a lot to do with the fact my album column was cut off by the scrollbar, but I easy to get the hang of now that I know. That was until I switched back to list view and discovered it was still sorted by album.

    Is this seriously not going to remember my settings when I switch between views?

    comment posted at 7:45 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  17. jBlog  

    More iPod announcements, and the iTunes Movie Store…

    In a move that surprised no one, Apple today rolled out updates to the entire iPod line, as well as the addition of selling movies in the iTunes store. There’s a new Shuffle that is basically a clip with music……

    comment posted at 8:04 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  18. The new iTunes interface at Aaron Adams’s Lame-ass Blog  

    [...] There are, of course, different opinions. Another iTunes release, another widget kit: the iTunes 7 UI dissected. iTunes 7 sounds death knell for Aqua What. Showtime [...]

    comment posted at 8:16 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  19. dsandler  

    bq: clearly a design purist. :)

    comment posted at 8:37 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  20. Jamie  

    Get rid of the shouting. Go to /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/ and edit the Localizable.strings with TextEdit. Change “LIBRARY” to “Library” etc., and next time you run iTunes it looks a little better…

    comment posted at 9:07 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  21. Zach Heaton  

    OK, here’s one that I just noticed. Fire up iTunes 7 and switch to any library view, and scroll over to the album column. Clicking on the left side of the column header will rotate the method used to sort albums – “Album” (alphabetical), “Album by Artist”, and “Album by Year”. Clicking on the very right side of the control, over the sort order indicator triangle, will actually change the direction of the sort order. Every other column header widget, of course, follows the normal OS X conventions of “click anywhere to sort by this column, click anywhere second time to reverse the sort order.”

    Forget consistent appearance – could we at least get consistent widget behavior?

    comment posted at 9:32 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  22. showtime at carboxymoron.com  

    [...] iTunes 7, interface changes, CoverFlow bought and integrated. Apple, Dan Sandler’s whining. [...]

    comment posted at 9:35 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  23. pixelknave  

    Some good points, but I’ll argue a little because I’m cantankerous like that.

    1. The matte, less-lickable buttons are showing up across the platform, rolling out as various clusters of app and OS updates are finished (see Apple’s Leopard preview). I bid Aqua a cheerful farewell.

    3. I don’t mind the all-caps headlines (this is a reasonable graphic design convention) but they should be typographically small-capped. This might be a text kit limitation.

    4. Button styles: Each of these button styles is subserviant to its context. It’s common (in fact, encouraged) for industrial designers to treat buttons of different scope in different ways…it’s not necessarily fair to criticize iTunes for doing the same. Since Apple’s between OS revisions right now, I won’t speak to the actual graphic treatment…but:

    The playback controls and view switches are both Toolbar elements, similar to the view switches in Finder or the navigation buttons in Safari. They share a language, texture and treatment designed for the newfangled Unified Toolbar window style.

    The buttons in the Music Store navigation toolbar are analogous to those in the Finder search header. While they don’t share the Finder’s visual style (the Finder doesn’t match much right now), they share a function…these are Subhead buttons…their scope is limited to the content that the header bar encompasses. Toolbar buttons are too tall for this space, but you’ll notice that these buttons share the toolbar button texture.

    The segmented pushbuttons along the bottom are new bezel-mounted buttons. They’re shorter in height than the toolbar buttons, and also get a subordinate treatment because they’re secondary controls. While they might be a little dark, it would be more annoying if they were bright and blinky and attracted attention. The user’s focus should be on the content, not the controls.

    comment posted at 9:35 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  24. deepak  

    The new icon is driving me nuts. I think it looks very ugly. I am going to have to replace it with the older icon.

    comment posted at 9:48 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  25. Christopher  

    I have to agree with some of what you say. The fact that the iTunes store won’t display by default on a 1024*768 display properly, is hugely irritating and ridiculous, especially since it’s just marginally too big. You would figure they could shave off just enough to fit.

    comment posted at 10:07 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  26. adam  

    The Coverflow scrollbar and buttons use yet another style…

    comment posted at 10:20 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  27. Tim  

    If this is what Leopard will look like, Gosh I’m stay with Tiger for as long as I can. What were they thinking?! I say they probably rushed on this one…

    comment posted at 10:28 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  28. links for 2006-09-13 at [MacStansbury]  

    [...] Another iTunes release, another widget kit: the iTunes 7 UI dissected. Hmm. Widget look and feel. I’ll alert Gruber. (tags: apple design ui itunes) [...]

    comment posted at 10:36 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  29. Brian Kerr :: iTunes 7 is the end of “lickability”  

    [...] If you’d like more detail, angry blogger Dan Sandler breaks down most of the changes. [...]

    comment posted at 10:53 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  30. dsandler  


    1. I agree, this is The Way Things Are Going. I don’t think I ever bemoaned the disappearance of lickable widgets; I merely mentioned that their disappearance was incomplete, and so there are inconsistencies. Yes, this is partly because the transition to the Leopard look is rolling out in stages. (Aside: Apple has clearly decided that Aqua, and glassy/shining/reflective/glistening things in general, are passé. Does this have anything to do with the fact that Vista has these things in spades? It’s kind of like pop music in the States and in eastern Europe—once something becomes popular in the Czech republic, it’s time to retire it in Chicago.)

    3. All we’d need is a small-caps version of Lucida Grande, and any app could ask the NSFontManager to add the small-caps trait to UI widgets.

    4. Yes, fine, different button styles are sometimes warranted for different contexts. I think the number of styles could definitely be reduced; the ones at the bottom, which you refer to as “bezel-mounted buttons”, need to look more like controls and less like decals. The contrast just isn’t high enough. They’re sufficiently out-of-the-way that they won’t interfere with the primacy of the main content view, even if they’re colored as light as (e.g.) the iTunes Store navigation controls.

    comment posted at 10:56 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  31. Rob  

    And yet, high up on the list of fugliest elements from Day One — the faux-LCD display — trudges onward into the future!!

    comment posted at 10:57 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  32. Rory  

    What, no mention of the downright amateurish corners? Put a corner of the window over a solid colored background and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    comment posted at 11:02 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  33. ExitToShell  

    I absolutely despise the candy gum-drop 3D-drop-shadowed controls formerly pervasive in Mac OS X. I immensely enjoy the flat/recessed and gradient controls and window scheme (called polished metal colloquially).

    I only agree with the new scrollbars being hideous. However the button controls are consistent in the top and bottom of the window if you realize the top buttons are lit up more as is the top of the window, and the bottom buttons are darker as is the bottom of the window. This provides visual clues (lighter = more important/obvious, darker=seldom used/out of the way).

    Also realize that Apple must market to the entire world, and to Windows users (who are about to get the OS X-clone MS Windows Vista). Some color schemes additionally infringe on the color-blind. I think Apple has enough class-action lawsuits without angering color-blind Asians who dislike yellows/reds and use Windows XP with color gradients instead of gooey-globulal 3D-ish widgets.

    I like the new icons, the highlighting is different, but not outrageous, the pervasive blue is okay (except for the scrollbars) and the grouping and TITLES in the source list doesn’t bother me. Using all CAPS is a typographic convention of print-media and only became SHOUTING when placed in the context of large swaths of prose posted to the Inter-web.

    comment posted at 11:17 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  34. ExitToShell  

    And, really, anyone with a periwinkle/orange-red theme on their blog with tiny-text and horribly mixed serif/sans serif fonts has no real standing criticizing the UI of a _cross-platform_ “modern” Apple app.

    comment posted at 11:19 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  35. Stephen  

    One more: the silly Web 2.0 reflections beneath every album cover, obscuring album titles, in the Grouped View.

    comment posted at 11:48 pm on 12 Sep 2006

  36. Harvard Irving  

    Using all CAPS is a typographic convention of print-media and only became SHOUTING when placed in the context of large swaths of prose posted to the Inter-web.

    Using caps is a terrible typographic convention. Quality publications do not use all-caps for headlines. Or anywhere else for that matter.

    comment posted at 12:36 am on 13 Sep 2006

  37. iTunes UI ‘Improvements’ at Binary Bonsai  

    [...] iTunes UI ‘Improvements’ Published September 13th, 2006 Tags: Apple, interface design, iTunes. There are plenty of improvements (off the top of my head: inclusion of CoverFlow, gapless playback*), and reverse sync), but slopped atop all the new features is a thick coat of downright amateurish cosmetic adjustments. # [...]

    comment posted at 12:47 am on 13 Sep 2006

  38. Nick  

    I like Aqua. Compared to OS 9, it was bright and clean. Compared to Vista, it’s bright and clean. I think Apple got it right in Panther, myself; I found it to be a pleasant balance of usability and eye candy.

    I really really hate that blue used in the scrollbars. The column headers are atrocious and lack contrast. The UI in general just seems too gray and gray-blue now. And whoever designed the buttons at the bottom of the screen needs to be fired immediately. Also I wouldn’t mind being given the option to kill the HEADERS in the source list. I imagine I’ll get used to it someday; maybe I’ll even grow to like it. But today is not that day.

    comment posted at 1:01 am on 13 Sep 2006

  39. iTunes 7.0 | thmz.se  

    [...] Uppdatering: Efter lite surfande hittade jag en sida där det nya iTunes dissekerats lite mer ingående. Finns en smått intressant PDF-fil att glutta på via sidan. [...]

    comment posted at 3:00 am on 13 Sep 2006

  40. Shaun  

    There’s a few inconsistencies with keyboard behaviour too. In the first two views Option+Cursor Left/Right goes back and forward a random album/track in random shuffle mode. In Cover View mode it works too so long as you don’t select the album by clicking on the cover. This for me makes Cover View useless.

    The in-frame spotlight-esque category bar has disappeared completely too making it impossible to view just music videos without creating a smartlist. It also forgot all my neatly categorised movies/tv show/music video settings when it reimported my library on upgrading.

    The Visualizer can now only run full frame in the window or full screen.

    There still isn’t a way of selecting all tracks that do not have artwork. That’s even more handy now they’re making a big thing about cover artwork.

    Hopefully these quirks will get worked out and the UI starts to make more sense in Leopard.

    comment posted at 3:16 am on 13 Sep 2006

  41. Dan  

    I agree with everything you wrote. Your comments [and your tone] mirror my initial reaction after launching iTunes 7.0 last night. The blue note on the icon should go, too, IMHO, though that’s the least of my worries.

    comment posted at 3:52 am on 13 Sep 2006

  42. Conor  

    UI aside, iTunes has a number of new features that are very nice. I personally welcome the back up to disk under the file menu, it’s something I have been doing by hand all this time. Now I can let iTunes remember what needs to be backed up. Speaking of the menu the new organisation is far superior to the old one. Gone is the visualizer menu replaced with a view menu that makes sense and a new store menu. The ability to fine tune the iPod sync is also very handy.

    Now the question is what to do about the UI, as my app, like many, is modelled after Apple’s and particular iTunes because it’s an organiser. I think I will lean towards as we have created similar UI over the years, and his bottom toolbar is nicely done. Developers strive to have consistent UIs with Apple’s but Apple is always a step ahead and it’s always a step in an unexpected direction.

    comment posted at 4:16 am on 13 Sep 2006

  43. Conor  

    I must have forgotten to close the link, the penultimate line should read:

    I think I will lean towards Brent Simmons new design as we have created similar UI…

    comment posted at 4:22 am on 13 Sep 2006

  44. joostdh  

    I don’t know where to start: iTunes 7 looks horrible. My first thought was: ugh… inconsistency… looks like a windows app. It prob looks great on Windows but in the Aqua world it is a ugly paria.

    comment posted at 4:41 am on 13 Sep 2006

  45. Rob  

    I agree with you entirely – iTunes 7 looks dreadful – my first thought was “did they hire some crappy script kiddy to design it!?” It’s horrible – let’s hope iTunes 8 comes out next month, and they sort it out a bit like iTunes 6 did last year..

    comment posted at 4:45 am on 13 Sep 2006

  46. TimD  

    I wish they would pick one thing and just stick with it! Ultimately, failure to do so, only encourages developers to create non-standard UI controls for their own apps. Heck, “If Apple can do it, why can’t we?” I have seen worse though.
    The one thing I’m happy about, and I don’t think anyone has mentioned this yet, it looks like they removed that viral mini-store!!!

    comment posted at 6:20 am on 13 Sep 2006

  47. Chris Griego  

    I really have to question the usability fallout of moving/burying the one button that Moms and Grandparents everywhere would be using the most (“Burn CD”, not to mention we lost the cool shutter effect).

    comment posted at 6:35 am on 13 Sep 2006

  48. Louis  

    To prove you’re not a spammer, what’s 12 + 4?

    ^^ lol, what if you’re not good at maths?

    The seamless playback has been around since the introduction of crossfade playback in iTunes. Set the crossfade to 0 seconds and it became seamless.
    The new interface is woeful, some seriously ‘not thought through’ design here. The bad photoshopping and poor design smells like a Microsoft attempt at a nice interface, eg Vista.
    What happened to the aqua? Doesn’t anyone remember the days of the OS X Public Beta?!?!?
    iTunes 6 was starting to move in the right direction. A good balance of Aqua and gradients. What happened?
    I like the album art integration now, the little box on the bottom left was kinda dumb. I would like to see videos be played in the same place as where the album art can be flipped through, instead of in that stupid little box or a new window or full screen or full screen with visuals. Man, so many options yet one of the more obvious ones isn’t there?!?
    The other new view options are cool too, yet the way they are shown in the table needs work too.
    The icon? Why is that aqua? You butchered the rest of the app why not complete the job on the icon, it was already going downhill.
    This is worse than Mail 2.0

    comment posted at 6:43 am on 13 Sep 2006

  49. Louis  

    It also just occurred to me, does the performance of iTunes seem a little sluggish too?

    comment posted at 6:46 am on 13 Sep 2006

  50. JammyLammy  

    [...] For those lamenting the new iTunes 7.0 UI, just take a look at how brushed metal has grown up. [...]

    comment posted at 7:33 am on 13 Sep 2006

  51. JustMe  

    I am not 100% sure but it seems that the “Clear” option for deleting a song is now “Delete”..THANKS!

    comment posted at 9:09 am on 13 Sep 2006

  52. Dave (SpinThis!)  

    I tend to avoid all caps like the plague but in this case it might actually help. We all know all capitals makes things harder to read but Apple wants you to read your own playlists—which most likely won’t be in caps—not the interface itself. After awhile, I’d imagine it’ll be intuitive to just skip over those section groupings because you already know what they are. (Just like stop signs… you don’t stop at them because you read the words, you stop because it’s an 8-sided, red traffic sign.)

    comment posted at 10:38 am on 13 Sep 2006

  53. Marco F. Duarte  

    Your stick-based description is being cited in iLounge.

    comment posted at 2:14 pm on 13 Sep 2006

  54. dsandler  

    Marco: Thanks for pointing out that citation. It spurred me to doodle:

    comment posted at 2:19 pm on 13 Sep 2006

  55. MalContent » Blog Archive » My favorite features from iTunes 7  

    [...] iTunes 7 is here, and, while it’s not perfect, here are my favorite tidbits, based on first impressions. [...]

    comment posted at 3:07 pm on 13 Sep 2006

  56. scot hacker’s foobar blog » Notes on iTunes 7  

    [...] Update: Check out Dan Sandler’s dissection of the  new UI, in high-res PDF or low-res JPG. Filed under: Mac @ 11:29 am [...]

    comment posted at 4:37 pm on 13 Sep 2006

  57. Mike  

    I may be mistaken, but is this the first iTunes release where Shift-clicking on certain buttons (namely the “Show or hide item artwork…” and “Quickly browse your…” – they’re both on the bottom edge) makes those features appear in slow motion? (A-la Shift-clicking any window’s “minimize” button)

    comment posted at 6:21 pm on 13 Sep 2006

  58. Jones  

    iT7 is torturous. One the one hand it delivers some great improvements, but Apple packaged those improvements in the worst UI element scheme ever seen in an Apple app. (If this was an Adobe app, I might be more forgiving, but Apple should be the standard bearer).

    Insofar as the notion of iT7 being a sample of the forthcoming UI of Leopard – nonsense. No one knows what Leopard will look like, in fact, there seemed to be considerable effort to keep that “top secret” Hardly a worthwhile effort if Apple turns barely around a month later and delievers such an underwhelming UI scheme for iT7.

    I agree with every single point in your iT7 dissected piece and I could go further, such as in new album art-enabled list view, the column for the artwork is resizable and the artwork scales accordingly, but the settings aren’t remembered, and it’s back to whatever Apple decided was best when you return to that view. Well, that may be a bug, hopefully it is, but it’s another indication that not much effort went into the final QC.

    Coverflow is great, but using iT7 leaves me with the inescapable impression that Apple took a huge step backwards in the overall “look and feel” department. I’m all for innovation, but the widgets, buttons, and other UI elements in iT7 look like they crawled out of some UI design experiment from roughly the Copland era.

    comment posted at 8:50 pm on 13 Sep 2006

  59. JammyLammy  

    [...] For those lamenting the new iTunes 7.0 UI, just take a look at how brushed metal has grown up. Shown above is s screenshot of iTunes 3 from OS X 10.1 (Puma, for all you cat lovers). [...]

    comment posted at 1:28 am on 14 Sep 2006

  60. Chris  

    Yes, it’s ugly. But even worse, there is less functionality.

    What’s with taking movie files out of the library? You can still see them in playlists, but you still can’t delete them there. The only way you can do that is by opening the retarded Movie view (a holdover from iTunes 6), which shows idiotic screen shots that take ages to load, even on my Quad G5. Is it so hard to give us a simple list? Damn you Apple.

    comment posted at 1:58 am on 14 Sep 2006

  61. Showtime analysis | myMacBUZZ  

    [...] In other news, TUAW welcomes iTunes’ new look. Wonders if this is what Leopard will look like finally. On the other hand, David Sandler critiques iTunes 7 UI. I thought that it looks nice, but that’s the quality of opinion from a non-designer like me haha. [...]

    comment posted at 7:35 am on 14 Sep 2006

  62. Jan  

    What about the souting (sorry SHOUTING) in the navbar on the left? Violating years of understated dialogue, Dan Sandler makes a strange shift to capital letters for emphasis. Before… ah christ. :-)


    comment posted at 8:39 am on 14 Sep 2006

  63. dsandler  

    Jan: Hey, I never said it wasn’t a useful typographic technique for emphasis and visual contrast. (And maybe humor?)

    I just said it was very atypical of Apple. It seems out-of-place in iTunes, and therefore comes off (to me) more like SHOUTING than TYPOGRAPHY.

    comment posted at 8:44 am on 14 Sep 2006

  64. spiceee.com » pensaletes  

    [...] dois dias depois, developers, designers e entusiastas falam sobre a nova interface: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. [...]

    comment posted at 10:29 am on 14 Sep 2006

  65. dsandler.org ≡ Mike Popovic on iTunes 7  

    [...] Ex-Be dope Mike Popovic takes my critique of iTunes 7 to the next level: [...]

    comment posted at 1:48 pm on 14 Sep 2006

  66. qrayg  

    The seamless playback has been around since the introduction of crossfade playback in iTunes. Set the crossfade to 0 seconds and it became seamless.

    Obviously you don’t have any tracks that need to be played seamlessly. This technique does NOT work and never did. The new gapless playback does work great… I’m surprised it took them so long.

    comment posted at 2:32 pm on 14 Sep 2006

  67. Jan  

    Humor, definitely. I like the small caps here and in iTunes 7. I think it is really a matter of taste and what one associates with CAPS. LOOK AT ME, I’M IMPORTANT vs. LOOK AT ME, I’M JUST DIFFERENT. So, no offense Dan.


    comment posted at 3:49 pm on 14 Sep 2006

  68. Sebastian L.  

    I have noticed a few bugs but only in the iTunes Media (Music doesn’t make sense anymore :P ) Store. Just basically trying to browse I’ll get errors that something can’t be done. I just wrote it off as the Servers being overloaded for the time being because of the traffic. Dunno if it’s true or not though, But I haven’t checked.

    I don’t get what people don’t like about the new UI? Apple addressed my only problem with iTunes, it didn’t have an Album view like the one in Windows Media Player 11. Not only did they add that, but they topped it with my favorite new feature: Cover Flow. So what if that’s Eye Candy? It still rocks. :P

    comment posted at 5:07 pm on 14 Sep 2006

  69. colin  

    I like it… what is it that you ALWAYS have to complain about everythings new?

    comment posted at 5:55 pm on 14 Sep 2006

  70. carter  

    i hate it. Even the logo sucks!!! Go back to green APPLE!!!

    comment posted at 10:02 pm on 14 Sep 2006

  71. ian  

    “What’s with all the shouting?” you say?

    I think the capitals in the new ITunes interface are used in the same way as the title at the top of this page (“ANOTHER ITUNES RELEASE…”), as well as your subtitled sections (“TAGS”, “69 RESPONSES…”), your website title (“DSANDLER.ORG”), and all the menu subheadings on the left-hand-side (“HIGHLIGHTS”, “BETWEEN…”, “STRONGLY…”). These last ones are in pretty much the same position on screen as the capitalised sections which annoy you in the ITunes interface.

    I like sparing use of capitals for design purposes for the same reason as you do, and it seems a bit hypocritical for you to be peeved about this particular point.

    comment posted at 1:57 am on 15 Sep 2006

  72. Oskar Lissheim-Boethius  

    I agree with most of your points, especially the Vista-looking black select-color in the sidebar and the totally Apple-UI-Guidelines-non-compliant scroll-bars. I actually got a tiny bit angry when I fired up iTunes 7 for the first time. I haven’t got that feeling for an Apple product since… well, since I forgot to unmount a network drive and my PowerBook refused to wake from sleep… (new Finder anyone?)

    You can say we complain too much, but this attention to detail is what (usually) separates Apple (and its users) from other companies like Microsoft (and its users).

    comment posted at 8:24 am on 15 Sep 2006

  73. dsandler  

    I like sparing use of capitals for design purposes for the same reason as you do, and it seems a bit hypocritical for you to be peeved about this particular point.

    Ian: Fair enough, but it’s still the case (no pun intended) that this is highly atypical for Apple typography, which until now has studiously avoided all-caps. (I also think it looks a little weird as realized in iTunes; I think I would have reduced the point size slightly and noodled with the letterspacing.)

    comment posted at 12:01 pm on 15 Sep 2006

  74. Jamison  

    I’m not a fan of the blue iTunes icon. There is no shortage of blue icons in my dock and I would expect Apple would want this to stand out that much more against other ones, but there’s something else I’ve noticed after a couple days with it…

    The computer-rendered glassy effect on the musical note comes through at larger sizes, but as it scales down in the dock it looks more like a cartoon. I’ve never noticed that kind of thing in any other icons on the dock.

    comment posted at 4:46 pm on 15 Sep 2006

  75. iTux’ Weblog » iTunes 7 kritisch unter die Lupe genommen  

    [...] Alle neuen Features wurden von Daniel Sandler unter die Lupe genommen. [...]

    comment posted at 8:50 am on 16 Sep 2006

  76. Someone disliked iTunes’ (new) interface enough to… « sometimes  

    [...] …do up a dissection of it and then graphically laid out his objections in a pdf. [...]

    comment posted at 10:22 am on 16 Sep 2006

  77. gsolomon  

    One thing that’s always annoyed me about the left-hand source list is how it only reacts when you click AND release the mouse, unlike every other button and list. It makes it feel disconnected. I wish they would fix that behaviour.

    comment posted at 10:41 am on 16 Sep 2006

  78. dsandler  

    A little update:

    Poking around iTunes 6 with a resource editor I have found that the fuzzy borders on the top and bottom of the source-list selection rectangle (PICT #300 and #302) are caused by a gray pixel at the top and bottom of the mask (PICT #301 and #303).

    For example, here are the image and mask for the “large” selection rectangle. (Note that the second column of pixels is the background pattern for the selection bar when the source list does not have keyboard focus.)

    Pict #302:

    Pict #303:

    I have to assume that this was intentional and not a gaffe. So, the question, then, is: Why intentionally create a fuzzy alpha border around a selection rectangle which is (by its own visual treatment) supposed to look hard and glassy?

    comment posted at 3:13 pm on 17 Sep 2006

  79. The Dork Report » Blog Archive » The Dork Report for September 13, 2006  

    [...] Various interface changes, including non-glossy buttons and… heinous scrollbars! WTF? Icky grey-blue blobs that look like nothing else on a Mac anywhere! I’m not sure, but if these same scrollbars appear on the Windows version, then perhaps Apple wanted to make the user experience more uniform, and so they can advertise with images of iTunes that anybody will recognize as theirs. Dsandler.org has a great overview of the graphical user interface design nightmare and links to many others (spotted on Daring Fireball). [...]

    comment posted at 6:58 am on 19 Sep 2006

  80. Jonathan Parker  

    To install or not to install? That is the question….

    iTunes has been bugging me for a while now about upgrading to version 7.Finally I came to accept that……

    comment posted at 5:44 am on 03 Oct 2006

  81. Russ  

    DSandler – you’re absolutely right about every point including the use of CAPS to highlight – it’s a proven usability error (harder to read and distracting). Might as well make them flash. Also the one big context sensitive Browse / Burn / Import button was probably more useful up top than the view buttons.

    comment posted at 4:58 pm on 05 Oct 2006

  82. Steve Hurley  

    iTunes 7? It’s just ugly, ugly, ugly. I bought my first Mac a year ago today (taraaaaaa) and was, from the first minute impressed by how ‘relaxing’ the overall graphic look was in comparision to the grating, eye-numbing, drug-induced look of Windows and most of it’s applications. But iTunes 7 was obviously made for Windows users to tempt them to come over the fence to Mac…”Hey, look you Windows folks. Even in software interface looks the same”.
    Shame, shame, shame!
    I think there is a program to overlay the old design on the new upgrade (sic). Anyone know where to find it?

    comment posted at 5:00 am on 19 Oct 2006

  83. Huendli  

    You’re completely right in your criticism on iTunes 7. I first saw it on a friend’s PC and had to ask if this is really the new version, because it appeared like a really old one. Looks like Apple is nervous because of the Vista release and had to change its application design overnight. Bad!

    comment posted at 4:19 pm on 21 Oct 2006

  84. Jonathan Parker  

    To install or not to install? That is the question….

    iTunes has been bugging me for a while now about upgrading to version 7. Finally I came to accept that…

    comment posted at 4:04 am on 17 Feb 2007

  85. dsandler  

    NB: Some of these issues have now been fixed in iTunes 7.3.

    comment posted at 3:44 pm on 09 Jul 2007

  86. dsandler.org ≡ iTunes UI iterations.  

    [...] You might recall that, several months ago, I went a little nuts about the iTunes 7 UI. To this day I stand by my complaints, even as I agree with John Gruber that my tone could have benefited from some&helllip;moderation. [...]

    comment posted at 3:56 pm on 09 Jul 2007

  87. Update on the Twitter comments experiment  

    [...] on this site. For comparison, the closest competitor (using conventional blog comments) is my 2006 gripe about the iTunes 7 user interface, with 86 comments. Of those 86, 49 were actual comments (not trackbacks or pingbacks), of which 12 [...]

    comment posted at 1:04 pm on 15 Mar 2009

  88. My old blog « Antworks blog  

    [...] iTunes 7 dissected … [...]

    comment posted at 8:23 pm on 13 Aug 2009

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