Eye Candy != Packed With Effects

Since Leopard (a.k.a. Mc OS X 10.5) was previewed, a lot of people have decided to throw a lot of “cool” animation effects at their apps.

While some of them can be justified (such as a cube transition between windows in the Quicksilver wizard), some are plain ugly.

These days, a lot of people are ranting about the new dock. I agree with their statements, even though the dock is actually out of my way, as small as possible, in the corner of the screen. I obviously don’t see it as often as some other people do.

What I do see is the way menus behave. Starting with Mac OS X 10.0, a slight translucency was added to the menus. This was kind of cool to see what was going on underneath, even though you couldn’t make what really was there.

Now, though, the menus are blurring the background, in addition to being transparent. This leads to a “let’s see the background through dirty glass” kind of effect. Since we still can’t see what happens there, it’s not a big deal. The real problem is when the menu goes away…

  • The menu disappears immediately, leaving the area underneath blurry.
  • Over the next couple of seconds, the rectangle in which the menu was gets progressively back into focus.
  • Then the view snaps back to normal again. I strongly suspect it’s because the “blurry area” is some kind of context on top of the normal screen that has to go at some point.

The effect is weird at the extreme. At first I had to rub my eyes, since they were starting to ache. I though I was just tired. But nope, that’s really the way it is.

I have nothing against cool effects, unless they just put my computer into boeing-ventilation-mode. The blurry background in the menu is useless but doesn’t mess with my vision. However, un-blurring something is what my eyes do all day long. And here, my eyes can’t cope with the weird effect this slow effect does… And it gives me a headache.

Effects are cool, sometimes. But mimicking “natural” behavior should stick to the basics.


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