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New Icons in iWork 09

01.09.09 | Permalink | Comment?

Curious ChapSebastiaan de With provides a nice roundup of the UI design changes in iWork 09, newly released by Apple.

Size Does Matter

The icon changes in particular caught my attention. But where young Sebastiaan sees “all sorts of nice UI changes and icons”, this middle aged man sees (no pun intended) a welcome relief to my eyes: the icon dimensions are bigger, and the icons themselves are larger within the frame. Here are four examples:

iWork 09 Icons

The new ones are on the bottom row. Notice how the Skip icon fills more of the available area. In the new Comment icon, I can now actually see the X close icon. And in the new Bigger and Smaller icons, the up and down triangles are much easier on the eye.

I am happy that Apple is paying attention to its older customers. They are everywhere. While at Macworld Expo this week, I noticed how many participants were middle age and older folks, and not just attendees — even programmers.

Another reason to applaud this revamping of icons is the higher density of displays. While the previous icons looked good on the 1200 x 1920 pixels of a 24″ monitor, they looked tiny on the same 1200 x 1920 pixels of a 17″ MacBook Pro with a high density display.

Not Just iWork

These changes are not limited to iWork. The following two screen snapshots are from Apple’s Texas Hold’em game for iPhone, versions 1.0 and 1.1 respectively. In 1.1, the cards are vastly more readable.

Texas Hold'em v1.0 Texas Hold'em v1.1 Prepare For The Future

Apple has made it clear that it is seeking resolution independence on its displays. I will not be surprised the least bit to find out that, once resolution independence is fully implemented in software, the company will start manufacturing displays of higher and higher density. Inappropriately designed icons will start looing smaller and smaller.

Filed under Design, User Experience

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