Design Interfaces Like Apple

I've been blogging since 2003, but this is my first "brand new" blog I've started in a few years. So why did I do it?

To learn, to teach, and to explore the realm of software interface design.

I've been working on my first Mac OS X application, and off the bat I learned that there weren't a lot of resources to show you the best practices of designing a Mac-like interface. Obviously there are the Apple Human Interface Guidelines, but when comparing the layout and positioning of similar UI elements in Apple-made applications like the Finder, Address Book, and iPhoto, I found that they were all slightly different. Sometimes, more than slightly different. Apple doesn't follow their own standards, so how was I to know what the best place for a particular button is?

When designing a Mac OS X application, I've found the goal isn't to follow the Apple HIG to the exact letter, but to make your app look "Mac-like". Here's a quote from John Gruber:

"Anyone involved in Mac software development is familiar with arguments over whether a particular app is "Mac-like". In the early days of the Mac -- the first decade or so -- the entire Mac community was largely in agreement about just what this meant. To be un-Mac-like was to be ignorant of the fundamental concepts and norms of the Mac OS. It was something you could spot in an instant -- software designed by engineers who just did not get it."

"In the last decade, however, accusations of "un-Mac-likeness" have largely degenerated into meaningless hand-waving. You still occasionally see UI mistakes that are genuinely un-Mac-like -- like, say, outright Windows-isms such as ordering dialog box buttons OK/Cancel rather than Cancel/OK -- but in most cases, when someone complains "that's not Mac-like", what they really mean is "I don't like that."

This blog will attempt to discuss what makes interfaces and icons "Mac-like" and how you achieve that look through articles and tutorials.

Here we go!

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