January 17, 2003
Jason Kersey of Mozillazine fame has recently converted all blogs into Movable Type from Blogger.com. The change is amazing; so much more flexibility was gained in the transfer.
Posted by stephend at January 17, 2003 05:45 PM
Help! Did you include help tags in your applications? (I'd be lost without them.) Also, be sure to take extra time to develop your other help files. The Apple Help Viewer supports HTML, QuickTime, and also AppleScript. Take advantage of it! There isn't anything I hate more than going to the Help menu and finding there isn't any help.
Adhere to Window Models. Document windows, Utility windows, Click-through, Layering, Drawers, Controls. How do users open windows, how do you properly title windows?
By building an application that takes advantage of Aqua's many facets, you help ensure that your application will not only look good, but have a chance of becoming a raging success. After a new user clicks on the icon of your program, the first thing he or she sees is the application interface. I know that when I review a product, I am very critical of its visual design. I usually have a short time to learn the new software, so design and ease of use are very important. Aside from those who marvel at the beauty of the command line, most users tend to react the same way.
But limit your animations to whatever is required to communicate the necessary information. Avoid annoying animations that discourage ease of use. Ask yourself, "What do I need to show the user, and what is the cleanest way possible to achieve that?" A good example is the Mail application for Mac OS X. Whenever a new message arrives, the Dock icon changes appearance to indicate a changed state.
This is the first thing your users see, and probably the single most important visible part of your application. It is the first chance you have at making an impression and the best chance to help establish your brand.
Dock Animation. Sometimes animating icons in the dock can be useful in communicating the status of the system or application.
If an application is designed well, the reward for users is that they will learn it faster, accomplish their daily tasks more easily, and have fewer questions for the help desk. As a developer of a well-designed application, your returns on that investment are more upgrade revenue, reduced tech support, better reviews, less documentation, and higher customer satisfaction. The rewards of building a good-looking Aqua application are worth taking the extra time.