Steve Martin

Designer, Thinker, Student of Human Behavior

970 481 9682

The iTunes 10 Travesty

Come on, Apple. I was just lauding your "consistent UI" and "great grasp of UX" to some folks a couple of days ago, and you go and release iTunes 10. As my daughter would say, "That's icky!" Here are my few complaints, along with a few from folks around the interwebs:

  1. The "close / minimize / maximize" buttons are now VERTICAL!? WHAT? Every, and I mean EVERY app in OSX has them horizontal. Why would you do this? A central theme of good UI design is that you keep things consistent and strive to meet the user's expectations. This just confuses people. ESPECIALLY if they're COLOR-BLIND. Big fail here. Not to mention that putting the buttons here makes the top bar of the app super skinny, thus making it hard to grab and move around (same problem Google Chrome has). Luckily, there's a fix for this one - and it works great!

  2. The color has been completely sucked out of the UI. So many people navigate using those colored icons. People don't look at whether it's a little "gear" or "music notes" - people look for "green" or "blue". Plus, from an aesthetic standpoint, it's all boring and monochrome. I have a COLOR monitor for a reason. Looks like there's a fix for that as well.

  3. In the podcast section, the checkboxes have been moved into their own column, thus putting them outside the hierarchy of the dropdown. This is a BIG no-no in UI design. Things that relate to each other need to be NEXT TO each other (see Gestalt Law of Proximity). I see what they're trying to do (put the checks in their own column so they're moveable), but I can't figure out why that's needed. There's no reason to move the checks away from the actual item they refer to - it only confuses and makes me think. DON'T MAKE ME THINK!

  4. This isn't so much a UX complaint, but they sure missed an opportunity with the new iTunes app icon. They removed the CD, and I get that (I haven't bought a CD in YEARS), but it's still just music notes. There's so much MORE in iTunes than music. But, then again, maybe they would have needed to change the name of the app. Here's an iTunes icon that at least matches the iTunes icon on the iOS devices.

Here's a SMALL sampling of quotes from around the Twitterverse:

"whichever vampire drained the color from iTunes 10 should be taken out back behind 5IL and staked to the basket ball court." @rudyrichter

"the only thing worse than iTunes 10 is Ping. #justsayin" @timschraeder

"What do we hate! ITUNES 10! Why do we hate it! BECAUSE IT IS UGLY! <chant>" @sh

"my computer is asking me to dl iTunes 10.0 but I don't think I want to cuz I don't want the new ugly logo." @jb140

"Is it just me, or is the new iTunes 10 73% more ugly, cluttered and unnecessary? More ugly" @sirhcllenrad

"Every version of iTunes has had it's own 'unique' UX. And it's horribly inconsistent with their OS." @studuncan

Needless to say, people aren't happy. I have to wonder how much testing is actually done on some of Apple's internal stuff, or if they just let designers have their way with things. Either way, I sure hope they'll do something about it eventually. For now, I'm going to go see how much SPAM is on Ping...