Jony Ive’s OS X Yosemite: The good, the bad and the ugly

“OS X, the world’s most advanced operating system took some large leaps forward in it’s latest release called Yosemite,” Mark Reschke reports for T-GAAP. “Technology such as Continuity, Mail Drop, and users being able to send and receive phone calls via the Mac, all in a speedy new OS are great advances. But for all of Yosemite’s achievements on the tech side of the house, did it go too far with it’s look and feel?”

“Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, is not only in charge of hardware design, but also leads the team responsible for iOS and OS X’s look and feel, known as the User Experience (or UX),” Reschke reports. “Ive’s first UX reveal came in the form of iOS 7. By any measure it was a jarring experience. The OS became simple in form, flat as a pancake with an intuitive feel, but some colors were drastically faded, while others were jarringly bright. The mobile OS took many technological steps forward, but it was not easy on the eyes in the least. ”

“Over time Ive refined iOS, and for the most part, completed the task in iOS 8. Looking back, iOS 7’s design language almost looked rushed, with iOS 8 having very few UX complaints to its name. iOS 8 is simply what iOS 7 always wanted to be,” Reschke reports. “But what of OS X Yosemite? Is it another iOS 7, or did Ive and the team learn from user feedback?”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. I agree. Yosemite looks really smooth and is very user-friendly on the Mac. I still don’t like the look of iOS 7/8. It’s too bright, and quite honestly too simple and spartan. The color scheme seems uninspired. Maybe if the UI had a “dark” option, it would be easier to stomach on the iPad and iPhone. As it is now, I miss the more sophisticated look of iOS previous to iOS 7.

        1. What still bugs me is when i can jailbreak i can at least change the look of my OS without changing the functionally. But no apple doesn’t want me to jailbreak. Which is fine but at least allow me to change the look of the OS without jailbreak.

          1. Exactly. I’m not a jailbreak partisan, so PLEASE Apple, as i yet generally like the smooth and sleek side of Yosemite, i regret the “a la Forstall” look of the icons.
            Couldn’t it be possible to have a chance to have nice bumps and reflexions back on icons, and though take profit of the power of retina displays? Couldn’t we have a chance to CHOOSE something else then Ive’s dictat?

    1. Mark Reschke reports for T-GAAP:

      “OS X, the world’s most advanced operating system took some large leaps forward in it’s latest release called Yosemite . . .”

      Nice. A professional writer/analyst who cannot distinguish between “its” and “it’s.” Why should I lend any credence whatsoever to this guy who cannot distinguish between two very simple verbal constructs? Is he also confused about “up” and “down,” “left” and “right,” “good,” and “bad”? Damn.

  1. iOS 7 has had a weird effect on me. I like the look of iOS 6 still, yet it looks old to me now. I can’t explain the love/hate I have for the look of each of those now.

    On the Mac, the new look is just nice. I don’t like seeing the older appearance now. Go figure.

    1. So, you won’t upgrade to a whole new os because of its looks. That isn’t saying much. Screw the advancements, I guess it’s all about its looks. That’s pretty shallow

      1. Kiddo, I’ve been a beta-tester for Yosemite. I’ve used it plenty.

        Now you go figure out how a mere human is supposed to move around a Safari 8 window if they’re a power user like me. Go on! Figure it out. Then STFU until you know what you’re talking about.

          1. You didn’t read my article. My workaround makes it dirt easy to know exactly where to grab when one has filled up that gray area with Safari extensions. There is no sane reason for being penalized for using several Safari extensions. Bad idea. Put back the Title Bar everywhere now now now.

      2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking Mavericks over Yosemite for how it looks. You have to use a computer all day – how it looks is important. Also, the original poster made a comment about the title bar. This is not just a cosmetic change, but a usability one too.

      1. No, it still works pretty well for a v1.0 but the 1 bit tool bar icons that look like higher res versions of the original Mac are tough on the eyes. And the bigger mess they made out of iTunes, I won’t get into that. but as a software interface designer, Jony Ive is an abject failure. He should stick to hardware design. Having him do software design is like having a proctologist do brain surgery.

        1. Those toolbar icons are awfully minimalist; however, they are crisp and clear too. I would prefer a little more to them, and the red/yellow/green window buttons look wrong too.

          1. Maybe as a Graphic designer the look affects me more I don’t know, but have to say it shocked me a bit about how lifeless it looked I was expecting a graphically more dynamic development of iOS 8 retaining more of the depth of the Mac OS but wow it was anything but and those traffic light buttons I have always loved as a simple thing of beauty are now just flat bright boring discs. So havnt up graded my latest Mac as yet and don’t know when I will but will no doubt bite the bullet probably after a few beers softens my resistance.

            1. Ives designs wonderful hardware and researches amazing materials – however as a graphic designer or user interface designer – he has not contributed anything.

              Line weights, details, colours and style are all inconsistent in his work. Failure. Flat and lifeless… good descriptions.

        2. I’ve had a number of issues with Yosemite. Apps freezing. Slownesses. Speech doesn’t work right and capabilities were removed out of speech that I would like to see put back. (Doesn’t talk back anymore, among a number of other things.) There are various…”issues.” Ignoring those, I really do like it. Nice new features. So I’m not really complaining about its current shortcomings. Rough edges are normal with any major new release (though it was certainly tested by developers for a while!). I’m just hoping there isn’t much more waiting for the release of 10.10.1.

          1. I’m not without issues but a system reinstall helped a lot. I also bug Apple support on a daily basis ($349 for Applecare and I make sure to get every penny’s worth!) There’s also Be a pest.

          2. But the big question is: will we get the smooth edges back? I am afraid not.

            Yosemite is nice, but some things, like the traffic light buttons, and the “send” icon, are butt ugly, or are no longer intuitive.

            Also, even though scrolling behavior is now much smoother, certain details like click-through and window activation, sometimes fail.

            What is alarming, though, that new interface elements, borrowed from iOS, don’t necessarily exhibit normal Mac-like behavior: e.g., – multiple selection in Launchpad is missing, – Safari favorites in the sidebar are harder to manipulate, – Safari favorite tabs aren’t spring loaded, some items in contextual menus are missing. Sometimes it is hard to just “send” stuff (e.g., in iPhoto: why is it so difficult to just mail a picture? I have to jump thru all kinds of hoops to do this).

      2. Now Now! It’s not Vista-awful by ANY stretch of the imagination. Obviously it’s a great step forward in Mac security, among a pile of other improvements.

        But this is NOT an Apple GUI. This is an Ives GUI. I like Apple’s better.

        1. That would be Steve’s Apple.

          Hence the problem with a new ego team blind to their abject failure of Graphic Design 101.

          Do a poll on the look Apple. Wait, Jony should not suffer the same disastrous poll results as in the U.S. election. We do need him for hardware design and nothing more.

          1. Agreed. Ives is a major failure at GUI.
            The only achievement was bridging the same ugly inconsistant icons to both systems. Why do we have two different system fonts now?

            Ives. says, “we now have a different, more consistent yet familiar interface.” – he is a great speaker, but he is full of himself.

            The iMac with a half ball base. The theory behind that design — to be inspired by a sunflower and to be able to gracefully move the screen about on a fluid motion arm was nice and inspiring to hear, but honestly its an ugly computer. Sure Apple won numerous awards after another for the hardware design… yet being in advertising for many years, my agency places several entries and has our own people on the judge panel to insure winning ads. I would say Ives bought his wins too.

            1. Some system text is crisper and highly readable at the smaller size setting, but in some apps, button and field text is no longer properly centered. Very Linux-like, where nothing really fits.

          2. Ives is following a design aesthetic. A lot of people like it! It’s nice to see something new in OS X GUI elements. But for me this is the opposite of what I’d like to see. Flat minimalism isn’t my thing. Mondrian’s 2D flat color paintings bore me as well.

      3. Huge difference: Yosemite works fine as Vista failed instead… To me the only ugliness remains in Ive’s concept of flat icons. This is just soooo poorly “tendance”. It’s a pity (almost an insult) to Apple’s “Think different”.

      1. I wrote up a full article on the subject here, with illustrations:

        When you’re in Safari 8 and right-click (CTRL-click) where the Title Bar is supposed to be, you’ll see ‘Customize Toolbar…’ pop-up. Click on it. You’ll see “Flexible Space” on the far right of the second row down. Drag a few or more into a chosen space where the Title Bar is supposed to be. Each Flexible Space forces a few pixels into that location, whether the top of the window likes it or not. That way you can create a reliable space to grab-and-drag a Safari window. No more having to be careful not to click in the wrong place while you are wondering what the hell Apple hath wrought when you want to move around a Safari window.

    2. Hurray, for you Derek. I totally agree with you. iOS7, iOS8 and OSX Yosemite flat appearance, looks like crap.

      On the other hand, I am happy to say the actual systems are fabulous.

      In comparison to things seen in nature, if we take a quick glance at say a flower, it seems quite simple. Yet, take a second look at the same flower and the details of textures and variations in colours, contour, patterns and structure become apparent. Then, if interested, study that flower deeper, to a level where we can see the flower underneath a microscope and all its complex inner workings. Its a marvel, the flower, and all its cells – it is extremely complicated.

      IOS and OSX did NOT need to become “visually dumbed down” to attract or become less intimidating for users. The basic functionality and interface of both systems are fairly simple as they always have been. These graphics do not speak any simpler of a language then did the previous icons. In terms of IOS, the simplification of its buttons, the interface to the degree they are now at, actually make things more confusing. Too many red and blue and green icons. And the standards of simplification are definitely not complete. Compare the App Store icon and iTunes icon to Preview and Mail. Ives screwed up. Some icons are not simplified at all, infuse they became more complicated and detailed – they do not speak the same language or fallow the same design ashetics. Notes, Text Edit, Maps, Calculator, Settings, far too complicated in comparison to iTunes. On my god, what did you do to FaceTime, Ives. He sure can talk his design theroies out of his butt, but when it comes down to interface design – he is a junior. Ives, you are working for Apple, have you lost your mind, do you have any taste anymore? Or did you let your son design these? Sorry, they are a major failure. Line weights and colours all messed up as if done by ten different people each with a plan or communication to each other to a sustain common plan.

      Failure. Makes the entire interface look comical and cheap. Apples two systems no longer look high end, classy or expensive. It looks like LeapFrog or Crayola, definitely not as professional. Also, with IOS – a simple interface of just buttons, it seems logical to dress it up with jazzy icons; what else was there to look at? Now flat it boring. And with such a powerful rendering chip on my iPhone this M8 graphics chip is doing what? Oh and this superior Retina screen, wouldn’t it seem better to challenge the details of design and the graphics, rather than over simplifying? Might as well skin it all black and white or just grey – It just isn’t cutting edge design, Ives. IOS 7 and 8 have lost the sophistication that Apple had ownership on. Bad move.

      1. You took the words right out of my mouth. I have hated the look of ios7 since the day I saw it. And I knew they would ugly up OSX to match in due time.

        Being old enough to remember when computers could barely put a flat image on the screen, this UX is a real slap in the face of progress and a complete waste of visual processing horsepower.

  2. I hate the buttons in the upper-left of windows – they don’t look like anything that invites clicking. I’m glad the 2D Dock came back, though – it was frustrating that the 2D Dock ‘hack’ was removed from 10.9. Also, there’s no reason Safari’s address/search box needs to be the way it is – it’s on a computer, with MUCH more horizontal space than an iPhone or iPad.

    1. Exact opposite..
      As soon as I was 100% that there was no 3D dock in Yosemite.. I went looking for options.
      cDock to the rescue!
      Now if I could get the 3D dock black.. i’d be happy.

  3. I think iOS7/8 are beautiful. When I look at screenshots of iOS 6 now, it looks hideously clunky and outdated. Same with Yosemite. Makes Mavericks look like something from a different (and uglier) time.

    My only complaint about Yosemite is the Mail icon. Why is it a skeuomorphic postage stamp? I thought we weren’t supposed to want icons that look like photorealistic objects anymore. Why not make it a rounded version of the nice iOS 8 mail icon? I think that would invite more people to use the app because they would mentally relate it to the Mail app they use on their iPhones.

    Who even uses postage stamps anymore?

    1. When I look at iOS6 I see classic illustration that never is subjected to the whims of fashion. Naturally follows it does not go out of style.

      When I look at iOS7/8 I see confusing constructions, flat and pale or loud colors and jarring. All different styles that need to end up in a blender to work together.


  4. Still a lot of bug in Yosemite
    For example:
    Look at an email in Apple Mail. If you right click on a link the option to open comes up, but when selected does nothing. Double clicking in the hotline title will open the link. The contextual menu options do not function.

    Lots of stuff like that since Apple sweats the appearance details more than the function these days. Skinny fonts and flat icons apparently are more important than, you know, computing.

    It is what happens when you put a stylist (Ive) in charge of an OS.

  5. The greyness is terrible and pointless. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they did that and I have never come across any motivation anywhere. Probably because it’s just bollocks.

    To me the grey icons in the Finder are meaningless blobs, so I have to use the text. This is an aspect that should be optional in the Prefs: Grey or Colour theme.

    Ive is brilliant as a hardware design guru but he has a long way to go in UI. Colour simply seems not to be his thing.

  6. Mail has major usability problems!

    1. Text input on my MacBook Pro can’t keep up with my miserable typing speed. It’s slower than the Commodore 64!

    2. Removing the “contacts” shortcut on the Mail app is just lazy. Additionally, when trying to pick a selection of contacts from Address Book is impossible – or at least doesn’t use standard key commands.

    Safari also has issues mostly associated with the way the total bar slips out of view. It doesn’t provide much additional space but causes additional interaction to reach the reader view. This is even more of a problem on iOS 8!

    1. when typing in the recipients field you will see a + symbol to the right. Click that and you will get your contacts back inside of Mail. That pissed me off when I thought it was totally gone.

  7. Jony Ive is not a graphic artist and he can’t lead them to advance or innovate the OS appearance. Apple is becoming more function than form to a point is not balanced.

    So what can we expect for the next version?

    1. I think what you meant to write is that Ive’s hideous GUIs are clear example of Apple stupidly putting an ugly form over OS function. Gray flatness, skinny fonts, borderless windows, and hyper-simplified icons are not only ugly, they are harder to use. Don’t even get me started about Apple hiding functionality in its software so that it takes more clicks to do anything. There is a reason that the iTunes interface poll shows that even rabid pro-Apple users dislike Ive’s GUIs.

      1. Excellent point.

        As I noted here since day one I laid my eyes on hideous iOS7 my jaw dropped how unappealing and old it got in a record amount of time. Hard to see, hard to read and figure out icons, etc.

        Why doesn’t Apple see it??? Ego? Elitist ego is my guess.

        Offer skins the user picks in several themes like gaudy, illustrative, linear, abstract, camo, whatever. All we have is now is, well, you know.

        It is clear the overwhelming majority of diehard Apple users like myself don’t care for it. Suspect the rest tolerate it, because they have no choice and nowhere to go.

        The vocal fanboys are still in the minority and will always remain there until I see hard numbers to the contrary.

        — Apple user/owner since Kevin Costner’s first office computer … 😉

  8. Apple is made up of lots of employees. One person alone isn’t responsible for the entire UI of an operating system. And of course the people dislike things are going to be the most vocal. I’m sure lots of people are using Yosemite just fine with very few issues or dislikes. Oh and by the way, people have always complained about OSX UI. John Gruber spent plenty of time complaining about brushed metal and pinstripes. And Aqua wasn’t universally loved either.

    1. Correct no GUI design will please everyone. Not the point by a long shot.

      Just in case you were not paying attention, this GUI redesign is the most controversial in Apple history even among diehard supporters.

      Just look it up.

  9. I’ve adapted just fine to everything except the bright teal color of Finder folders. I find it both hideous and distracting. Right now, we’ve got a choice of garish color or NO color. I wish Apple would give us imaging pros something in between.

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