Thursday, April 24, 2003

OmniGraffle 3

Erik Barzeski has some good criticism of OmniGraffle 3 and its icons. The new palettes look cool, and I was never really a fan of the old Interface Builder–style ones. But I think I want something more context-sensitive.

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Well, I stand by my admiration for the palettes as a feat of Cocoa development, but I will admit that the core of Erik's criticism is valid: there are too many, and some of the functionality would have been better integrated into separate windows. I keep meaning to post something on this, but I would say that, at least in my mind, my thesis and Erik's antithesis have produced the following synthesis: in a multiple document application, functions that pertain to the document as a whole (such as canvas size) should be in separate windows. Tools that operate on specific parts of the document should be in palettes. That's not from the Apple UI guidelines or anything--it's just how my thinking about the subject has evolved. Admittedly, I'm not as much of a UI fundamentalist as some.

I agree with you about the IB style palettes, BTW--personally, I've never really thought of IB as a paragon of UI design.

Oh, yes. The palettes are an engineering marvel. It's not the palette-window distinction that bothers me so much as the fact that it throws everything at you at once. Yes, you have these nice modular palettes that you can hide and show and merge, but you still have to manage them.

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