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November 25, 2005

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Roger

Share and export are just what they say; Export has been part of many applications for many years, while share is a newer feature.

To export is to save in a different file format than what is native. Sharing is sharing with another computer or a network.

roger

Roger

I didn't get the nature of your question at first reading.

Save as, and Export should be different things but I don't use iPhoto and am not subected to Apples whims with it. Apple seems to have thrown out any attempt to consistancy in the interface.

ocracokewaves

I'm glad you finally saw the point of the article. Basic user interface consistency is what the article discusses. Some applications no longer have "export" and some do which is something of a problem. Preview is a good example. In order to export you now have to do a "save as."

Another favorite example of mine is the new "Print" command under the share menu. While "Print" is at the top of "Share" menu, it is at the bottom of the "File" menu. Also the other two commands in the first part of the "Share" menu, "Email" and "Desktop," only are executable if a particular picture is selected. "Print" does as it does under the "File" menu which is good in that it is the same, but bad in that it just prints the first picture in your library which is pretty useless. The other issue is since when is "Desktop" a command. It looks like someone just decided to dumb down the user interface.

I just don't think user interface consistency is a priority at Apple.

Now that doesn't mean that others are not having the same problem or aren't far worse at it than Apple.

We get advances in user interface by trying things, but sometimes they don't work as well. I like Apple's Keynote for its flexibility but I find it a very hard program to come back to after I haven't used it for a while. It is scary to me that I can usually come back to PowerPoint and have fewer problems finding things. I would like to see Keynote adopt PowerPoint's "slide sorter" since you are very limited in moving slides around in Keynote because you can only see ten or eleven at the time. You can see twenty at a time in Powerpoint.

If "Share" is such a good idea why is there not a "Share" menu in Keynote?

I'm not against user interface change, but ignoring consistency makes for less productive workers.

Cameron

The thing you need to pay attention to is the functionality of the application itself.

The iCal application import/export deals with filetypes (XML, etc) that are not related to the iCal application specifically. In addition, iCal does not take a 'document-centric' approach, thus the "open" and "save" functions don't fully relate.

With iPhoto ... you are not really "saving" the photo since that is done automatically, you are "sharing" the photos. This additional menu with now includes other "sharing" mechanisms ... email, homepage, etc. (I should note, this change is a result of iLife '05 ... not 10.4 specifically)

Preview in the end saw redundant functionality ... "save as" and "export" did the same thing ... and they decided to go with the more entry-level, user friendly name.

I imagine the import / export functionality in Pages and Keynote do the same thing as iCal ... work with files that are non-application specific, or files that cannot be worked with again (pdf, html, etc) - in the end, they may end up going the "Preview" route and bring all this under the "save as" ... that will come with application maturity.

In the end ... the menu options/labels need to be based on the application functionality ... naming consistency only makes sense when the functionality consistency exists ... otherwise it just leads to restricted interfaces and/or poor usability for the system.

ocracokewaves

Well I disagree and if we're eliminating "redundant functionality" why have "Print" in the "Share" and "File" menu in iPhoto, and if we're going to have it there could we at least decide if it should be first or last in the menu?

cre8ive

As a Mac user for over 15years, it’s been both disappointing and a concern that lately Apple have been falling short with consistency in the UI department for the end user. Share and Export are two ‘little’ things, but two good examples.

I understand Apple are probably trying to give each app it’s own ‘personality’, but there’s no reason why some of the most basic functions shouldn’t be consistent across the board, especially for new users. Judging from the lack of refinement between OSX itself and Apples home grown apps, I’d agree this type of UI design isn’t as important to Apple any more. It just has to look cool.

I’d like to call on Apple to once again raise the benchmark for UI design. Or at least appoint someone (not Jobs) to manage the design, planning and integration of all applications and OS features to ensure some consistency with the HIG. I look forward to the day Apple spend as much time on the attention to detail with their software, as they do on their hardware. The little things do add up.

ian

I too find it disconcerting to see that OS X STILL has inconsistencies in the things that I find important. i.e. The GUI. Forget about it being a 'robust, secure' system, (I had that with OS 9) I just want to be able to go from work (x.3.9) to home (X.4.3) and not be spending valuable seconds LOOKING for the 'Export' command or the 'Share' menu item in my Apps, especially in the ones that Apple produces. Can someone PLEASE tell me why we still have a 'Services' menu item that does ABSOUTELY NOTHING in most of my Apps?

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