Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apple, Please Consider Redesigning the iTunes Redesign

After growing up on PCs, I remember very clearly the first time I played with a Mac. It was during my senior year in college, while traveling out to Colorado. My friend Kory Russel showed me his white MacBook. I remember being floored by Speakable Items, and listened to one too many of of Apple's bad knock-knock jokes.

Over the years, you could typically rely on the fact that your Mac software would be beautiful to look at. It was meticulous and forward thinking. Apple inspired great design in technology, and more importantly, inspired a generation of designers to change what software looks like.

In many cases, the students have surpassed the master. Sparrow (RIP) was an order of magnitude better than both Apple's desktop and mail applications. Clear by Realmac over Reminders, Pocket over Safari's Reading list, and Calcbot over Calculator are all examples of third-party apps slowly replacing those of Apple on my devices.

It is in this vein that I feel that navigation bar in the iTunes redesign is a major step in the wrong direction. It violates many basic design principles (balance and symmetry).

New iTunes
  1. A sharp lack of symmetry between the window buttons, and the play controls.
  2. An out-of-place gradient (one of the only marked gradients in the app). The gray is a blue-base, as opposed to the yellow-base gray in the rest of the app. This is why there is a sharp visual disconnect here.
  3. A search box that seems awkwardly placed without much thought.
  4. An unusual mini-button that clutters the upper right.

What I'd Like to See
  1. Search has been switched to left-hand side. This was based on my impression that they want the new iTunes to be more search oriented and web-like.
  2. Elements have been shifted down to create better negative space and balance in the search bar.
  3. The gradient has been ditched. No need for it.
  4. The mini-button has moved to join AirPlay


  1. The iTunes redesign looks a bit better aesthetically than older version, but I think usability is impacted. I don't like all the drop down menus everywhere either.

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