User Interface Conservatism versus Liberalism


While I was reading about user interface design stuff, I needed to remeber how a little widget in Kai’s Power Tools was named, so I found this great article

The Interface of Kai Krause’s Software

what I was searching for was “Memory Dots” (so I can name correctly a class) which was and still can be a great UI feature, anyway one article leading to another I found that other also great one

User Interface Conservatism versus Liberalism

where I found that great quote from John Gruber (Daring Fireball)

There’s a conservative/liberal sort of fork in UI design, in the sense of traditional/non-traditional. The conservatives see non-standard custom UI elements as wrong. Liberals see an app built using nothing other than standard system UI elements as boring, old-fashioned, stodgy.

here why it is great, it finally resume in few lines what I try to express for a long time (too long?) about the custom UI you can build with Adobe AIR (and before that Flash).

I guess it makes me a liberal guy :smile: (easy pun).

So yeah I’m building a desktop app based on Adobe AIR (humm … maybe a web browser who knows), and after the basics like writing a functional spec, building some mockups for a quick design spec and doing some prototypes (or spikes) to see what can work or not, defined a short set of features associated to an ACC grid, guess what was my next almost first step?

The design!!

OK, I have to blurt it out, yeah I’m building a web browser as somewhat explained here Build an Open Source Browser Based on AIR.

And among my list of main features for the v1, one is use Flash/AIR for what they can do best: custom UI.

It is not at all the goal to make a browser that compete with the big ones like Chrome / Firefox / Safari / Internet Explorer / etc.

but … it does not mean the browser can just be a piece of junk that nobody would want to use,
and so the design, how you do things, what you add and don’t add, the branding even, is important

I’m not gonna go into too much details (still in my spike/research phase), but I must say it is so refreshing to build UI with the basic (not so basic) of the Flash/AIR Display List

core display object classes - View full size graphic

vs building UI in HTML/CSS/JS … and about that
see this page Core display classes and the little graphic thumbnail with a link saying “View full size graphic” ?

It does not work anymore, wether you use Chrome / Firefox / Safari / etc.
because in the mean time browsers have changed the rules making the little bit of JS interactivity that was switching a small size graphic with a full size graphic not working anymore.

My point: browser updates change the rules all the time, you can not trust an HTML UI to stay the same or work the same forever.

But a UI based on SWF? hell yeah, I could play a SWF v1 right here right now and the UI and interaction would be exactly the same as when it was published.

Custom UI is good :slight_smile: