Ok, I couldn’t help myself. I installed Safari for Windows. It was a beta! I couldn’t resist. Almost immediately, I noticed a few annoying things which bother my User Experience senses.
- There was no top bar. I use that top bar. I resize with it, I double click on it to maximize and minimize. Why did they remove the top bar? Is it THAT ugly? What does the top bar have to do with the browser? Personally, I don’t like the look of iTunes and Safari. They look “sharp” and old, like an 80’s VCR. That brushed gray and sharp edges just harken back to a day when curved corners were impossible. I just think it looks like MacOS 9, not X. Additionally, you can’t resize the window from the edges, only the bottom right corner. Not good from a Fitt’s standpoint.
- The fonts! Everything looked blurry. I soon learned why. Great article on font philosophies by Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky. Apparently, Windows believes that font libraries can be modified for the purpose of screen readability while Apple believes font integrity is critical. Both Jeff and Joel gave Microsoft/Apple a pass in terms of “no one way is better”. I am hesitant to accept this argument. I don’t understand why Apple would insist on a Mac font strategy on the PC. As a developer, I am dismayed. Sites I work on look differently on different environments, and I am sick of working so hard just to get conformity. When the browsers act the same, then I can spend my time on interactivity and UX and not on tweaking.
- Control-enter. Admittedly, this is a power feature. In IE or FF on Windows, go to the address bar. Type Google and then click control-enter. It automatically puts the “http://www” and the “.com” on either side of the word. Shift enter makes it “.net” and control-shift-enter makes it “.org”. I use this feature 100 times a day. Unless I use the search box, this is how I open pages. Safari doesn’t have this.
- Menus. The menus have this weird fading effect on the target, but not on the drop down bar. The color of the text changes from gray to black. It’s a disrupting effect. It makes me look track of the mouse and where I am focused. I think it is a poor design decision.
I understand the philosophy of “Give the Windows people something different and maybe they will switch to Mac.” In that sense, you HAVE to break common idioms. You have to stand out as different. And I imagine that some people will love it and some will hate it. However, I think that good UX is good UX and you shouldn’t make something worse just to make it different.