Interfaces and the app store

In case you weren’t aware, the Mac App store launched today. I was very much looking forward to it for some reason,  though I’m genuinely not sure why. As I expected, about 5 or 6 posts appeared in my RSS reader within an hour or so of it going live, and I wasn’t at all surprised to see most of these posts gushing about how fantastic it is.

It isn’t. It isn’t bad, it’s just a bit “meh” at the minute. It was nice to see Tweetie 2 (or “Twitter” as it’s now called) make an appearance though. It was the launch of ‘Twitter’ and a brief conversation on Twitter (No, you spend too much time on it) that got me thinking about something that I have a strange obsession with – Interface design.

I switched from Windows to using OS X almost exclusively around March last year, mainly due to applications like Coda and TextMate (my web-design weapons of choice) being on Mac and not Windows, but the interface alone would have probably done it. I’m guessing this interest is in part due to the fact that I love web-design and the two are quite connected, at least in a visual sense.

I mean, look at Reeder:

Mmmm

I used to use a different application for my RSS-ing prior to having Reeder pointed out to me; Gruml. I hated it, it crashed far too often and it was ugly. Very, very ugly:

Not Warren Spector though. Look at that face.

Functionality-wise, Gruml actually does a little more. Not much, as there’s only so much you can do with an RSS reader, but it lets me manage which sites I’m subscribing to. Reeder is an absolute joy to use, though, which as far as features go is a huge winner for me. There’s a lot to be said for simplicity, which I think Things proves nicely:

Ahem

Basically, there is absolutely no good reason to include functionality in an application unless the interface works well enough to allow for it. It’s essentially the opposite of the current contents of the iOS app store at the moment, and, I suspect, what the Mac app store will look like in a few months time.

You might say that I don’t really like the idea of the App store. It’s great for small developers to get a bit of exposure, sure, but not all of those small developers actually make a product worth having, and until the navigation in the app store improves – an interface problem in itself – it’s not really that useful for consumers unless you’ve been made aware of the application in question.

Apologies for this entry being all over the place. I’ve been a bit distracted by work, and definitely not by Twitter.

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