Sunday, 8 March 2009

QuickTime X Player UI Problems

Screengrabs of the new QuickTime X player in Snow Leopard are doing the rounds. Check them out before Apple's legal team does a clean-up.

Sad to say, Apple is once again moving away from the consistent UI principles that they introduced in Leopard. The new QuickTime Player sports a translucence black menu bar that appears superimposed over the video. I can't think of anything more daft than a menu bar that appears on top of the content that it frames. The menu bar then disappears when you move your mouse off the window, leaving the video playing, apparently outside of a window.

Problems? Where to start:
  • it is inconsistent with every other app in Mac OS X (even though it's an core app)
  • you can't see the close/maximise/minimise buttons, unless you roll over
  • it breaks the spatial window metaphor
  • it looks confusing if you have multiple movies open
  • it obscures the content
  • it echoes the style of QuickLook windows, which were supposed to look different to regular application windows
...and that's before we get onto the problem that all the QuickTime Pro functionality appears to be removed.

Coming so soon Safari 4 UI transgressions, it seems something's up with Apple's HCI team.


  1. Hi,
    Well, I think we could give Apple a small break. Snow Leopard is still a work in progress. I agree with you and "voicing" those comments may help Apple to get the signal from the ground (us) that something should be fix before shipping the actual product.

    We don't have the whole picture yet of the new Snow Leopard UI guidelines... We must wait before making a final judgement. I think we have a clue of what is coming with iLife 09 and iWork 09 though.

  2. Fair point - it's not released software, and Apple didn't even intend for it to become public domain yet. But by the time it is released, as you say, they'll be less chance of influencing the product. (Not that I imagine Apple's UI designers are reading this blog.)

    iLife and iWork are much more encouraging, in terms of consistent, well thought out UI. I just hope that Apple finally makes up its mind and switches to the new style scroll bars system-wide. They were first introduced in iTunes 8, and that pre-dates Leopard.

  3. Did you consider that the window chrome is always visible but the menu fades in and out?

    I know it's a black chrome (for some reason), but could be possible...

  4. From the screengrabs that I've seen, the entire window bar fades out. The menu doesn't fade, presumably, since this is not attached to the window on Mac OS X. (Obviously, it would still disappear in full screen mode).

  5. 1.5 years later....Quicktime x officially does suck, and its no longer a wip......

  6. Thanks Clayton. I totally agree. The QuickTime X UI team are letting the whole Mac OS X side down. But we now know what all the UI gurus were up to - they had been whisked away to work on a certain tablet OS.