Design Review…. of iTunes 11

I was having some difficulties with iTunes 10.7 so I opted to update to iTunes 11, now I want to roll back. My opinion is that the UI (and to an extent the UX) sucks, sorry Jonathan Ive. – Yet at the same time I realize that as artists when we have come to a new “enlightened” state about one of our designes solving more relevant problems we have to wipe away the old version and reach out for the new potentials. But in this case I think bringing over the design elements from iOS is a bit overkill. It does not respect the device and the mood created by the device (bring touchscreen to the Mac and I might reconsider).

I have several beefs (as a disclaimer I am running on a non-retina display and OS X 10.6.8):

  1. The shadows and lighting seem to fight with the idea of clean and crisp, the background texture fights with the gray and with out the side bar it is more annoying to deal with large libraries of music.
    Several beefs with iTunes look

    Several beefs with iTunes look.

  2. Some of the buttons look like plastic and have a sort of playful nature to them rather than the rugged enduring factual impressions that sharp lines and metallic feels give.
    Plastic Looking Buttons

    Plastic Looking Buttons

And I have a praise:

The mini-controller is full of useful controlling data – Well done. Well designed.

iTunes 11 Mini-player

iTunes 11 Mini-player. Full of useful controls.

So as with most software which ships, there is more than just looks involved with the UX. Arguably one of the tenants of good design is satisfaction – in the sense that when the user possesses or uses the designed object they have a sense of satisfaction. I don’t have that with the new iTunes (v11). There is also the thought that if we expose users to new music then they will buy more, affecting Apple’s bottom line. So, from a comercial point of view every design must present some imperfections to the user. It is then the exploiting of these imperfections and the actions they cause which push business forward. Primarily because I want my sidebar back. In the 10.7 version of iTunes there was the option to view the interface differently, this would be a nice option to have back. [Update: As Kevin points out below, this feature is indeed included – Thanks for not removing it.]

iTunes 11 with the sidebar

iTunes 11 with the sidebar. As Kevin points out.

5 thoughts on “Design Review…. of iTunes 11

  1. Thanks Kevin for pointing this out… Why these settings don’t carry over from the previous settings established by the user is beyond me…. I re-installed iTunes 11…. though I did try and go to my time machine version…. Which I couldn’t because when a user selects to restore an app which has already modified its associated preference files, those preference files will not work with the older version and are not also automatically restored in the restore process.

  2. I think if you started from scratch, it would be more intuitive, so I would argue yes. I think it will especially work for my students who are used to doing everything on their phones. You and I will take a little longer to learn it because we were so used to doing things in the old interface. :)

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