July 27, 2011

Mac OS X Lion and Use Cases

From Andy Ihnatko’s review of Lion:

Of course you should upgrade to Lion. It’s the ultimate no-brainer. Columnists like me enjoy the woolgathering parts of the review where we talk about infrastructure and UI endemics and then lie back on the sofa and speculate about what all of this could mean for the future. It’s fun and it nicely pads out our word count.

Apple OS X 10.7 Lion roars with futuristic, and maddening, upgrades

The quote above is basically what every review states about Mac OS X Lion: It is inexpensive, has its ups and downs, and is ready for your computer right now, so why not… Go get it!” Some even provide direct links to the Mac App Store download. What I find interesting is that every review has a different idea regarding what new features are good or bad.

The use cases for each new feature will be different for different people, which means Ihnatko will like fullscreen apps but hate the scrolling changes, while Shawn Blanc and Ben Brooks will love (or get used to) the new scrolling style and find no use case in their workflows fullscreen apps (at least for now).

Sidenote: I also love reading more comprehensive reviews, including under-the-hood changes, so I will link to John Siracusas review for good measure, which is, as always, a marathon review instead of a sprint. Personally, I prefer reading about technical underpinnings and what actual use feels like, something at which Siracusa has always been terrific, instead of a hodgepodge listing of all the new features, but I digress.

In the technology world we deal with these differences in user preference everyday, including instances where a user spends five minutes doing something with the mouse that would take two seconds with the keyboard (this is true of keyboard shortcuts, in general). This is especially true in the Windows world, where there is a lack of UI simplification that can cause technologists and support specialists to weep quietly in server room corners. With Lion, my hope would be that the simplifications can draw the normal user into better workflows and more efficient use overall no matter what the feature that gets them there.

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