You know how when you vomit, you can tell what you ate originally, but the vomit is always a subtly different color? iTunes 9 looks like someone ate a bunch of #2 pencil lead and then vomited all over the old iTunes interface. The text is in two different shades of gray. Every widget in the entire application has its own individual grayscale gradient, most of which don’t match – plus a second grayscale gradient for when it’s a background application. Every time I glance at that side of the screen, my eyes get drawn into an infinite loop of grayscale gradients. It’s literally nauseating.
Anyway, without further ado, a very special edition of… UI Theater:
Apple iTunes Team Meeting, Mid-2009
Manager: OK, team, it’s time to gear up. Let’s brainstorm some features for iTunes 9.
Programmer 1: Faster Genius playlist generation?
Manager: Very good! One of our biggest complaints.
Programmer 2: What about better iPhone integration? App management and upgrades on the desktop.
Manager: Yes, I like it.
Programmer 3: How about we finally bring a wishlist into the Store?
Manager: Of course, top priority.
Programmer 2: Special features in movie rentals?
Manager: Fine, fine, but come on, people, this isn’t a point release! We need something huge! We need… grayscale.
Programmer 3: Grayscale?
Manager: Yes! Solid colors in a GUI are going to go the way of the dinosaurs, and we can be on the cutting edge! Attention-grabbing visual patterns everywhere in the interface!
Programmer 1: Won’t that just make it really hard to, you know, use?
Manager: Come on, that isn’t the Apple spirit! What do we always say?
Programmers: [In unison] Function follows form.
Manager: That’s right! Now get out there and gradient it up!