December 4, 2003

3. "Brilliant New Writer Debuts in NYC"

It was with no little pride that I noted a fascinating article inTHE NEW YORK OBSERVER called 'Men in Aprons." Not only because it was fascinating (which it was), nor because it was beautifully seen and written (which it is), but also because it was by my daughter who has been a fine writer since the time she first picked up a crayon.

Men in Aprons

Five cute, smart, straight guys who like a good dinner party? All living in one place?

Welcome to "Iron Chef II," a cook-off held on a recent evening in a brick two-story Carroll Gardens house whose occupants are the aforementioned five- some. Modeled on the cult Japanese TV show, in which two world-class chefs no one has ever heard of compete by cooking meals centered on secret ingredients like swallow�s nest or electric eel, "Iron Chef II" had its Brooklyn beginnings with five men in their late 20�s and early 30�s who found themselves living in a house with two kitchens and had a generational fondness for almost painfully self-conscious irony....

Matt looked like he could be Conan O�Brien�s cuter cousin: 6-foot-4, with bright red curly hair and a handsome mug. The street was decorated with American flags and frog lawn ornaments. The F train rumbled overground in the distance. As the 40-odd corduroy-clad partygoers wandered in, Matt welcomed them with a wave of his huge arm.

This was the second time the men had done the "Iron Chef" thing�at the first one, the secret ingredient had been artichokes. According to Jerry, a blond financial journalist with a toothy grin, some of the judges�friends selected on the basis of whether they really liked food�were "over-served."

"Given that it was later in the night and some alcohol had been drunk, cheesy potatoes are just tasty," said Jerry. The night had ended in a tie.

This year, the secret ingredient was revealed early on. The guests recognized the intended humor, but didn�t seem too happy about it.

"It�s a d�b�cle," said Matt. "The ingredient is grapes."

I seldom actually tell people to "read the whole thing," but if anyone here fails to do so, I will hunt you down and haunt you.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 4, 2003 3:38 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

The simple fact is that, when all other factors are equal, where will consumers spend their money? I believe that in the long run, the best looking, easiest-to-use applications will also be the most successful. I think that's why Apple encourages developers to write programs that are 100 percent Aqua-compliant.

Posted by: Pompey at January 13, 2004 9:08 AM

You Must Promise. To call your mother, to help old ladies cross the road, and to turn your cell phone off at the movies.

Posted by: Lionel at January 13, 2004 9:09 AM

If an application is designed well, the reward for users is that they will learn it faster, accomplish their daily tasks more easily, and have fewer questions for the help desk. As a developer of a well-designed application, your returns on that investment are more upgrade revenue, reduced tech support, better reviews, less documentation, and higher customer satisfaction. The rewards of building a good-looking Aqua application are worth taking the extra time.

Posted by: Clement at January 13, 2004 9:09 AM

This is the first thing your users see, and probably the single most important visible part of your application. It is the first chance you have at making an impression and the best chance to help establish your brand.

Posted by: Rook at January 13, 2004 9:09 AM

Due to the positioning of the Dock, remember that when you build an application, you have to be sure that new document window sizes and positions do not violate the Dock's space. Dock is temperamental and Dock loves his space. If you default to a window size that expands behind the dock, users will have a difficult time reaching the navigation and resize areas at the bottom of the screen. I can personally say that more than once I have been rather peeved that I couldn't get to an area of the window to resize because the default window settings always pop up behind the Dock. In addition, the new Dock in 10.1 will allow users to position their Dock location on either side of the screen as well.

Posted by: Adlard at January 13, 2004 9:10 AM

Adhere to Window Models. Document windows, Utility windows, Click-through, Layering, Drawers, Controls. How do users open windows, how do you properly title windows?

Posted by: Roman at January 13, 2004 9:10 AM

Adhere to System Appearance. Does your application use all the sweetly colored buttons, delightfully shaded windows, and all the other "bells and whistles?"

Posted by: Mable at January 13, 2004 9:10 AM

User Assistance. This is helping the user with the proper "next step" when performing a task. Less guesswork for the user on what to do next makes for a better experience.

Posted by: Henry at January 13, 2004 9:11 AM

Whether native or not, this is obviously one of the first steps on your way to OS X. Keep in mind that often, the functionality of your code has a lot to do with how your interface is designed. How many developers have come up with great functional ideas from working with their interface or looking at their competitors'? Start working on your Aqua compliance from day one. Don't wait until the last minute.

Posted by: Abraham at January 13, 2004 9:11 AM

Not quite as entertaining as Shrek, but Dock animation can be an important and useful function in your application. For example, Dock animation is a helpful way to indicate the status of your application.

Posted by: Emma at January 13, 2004 9:11 AM