15 Jun 2005

Mac Moments 2

My second Mac moment came when using the text editor TextWrangler to work on ShelfCentered.com. Yesterday I had put my Mac on mute for some reason, and of course I forgot about it and was working away this evening. I was searching a document for occurrences of a word, and there were none. Now, usually this would produce the usual audible beep. But the developers of TextWrangler included a feature that automatically detected my Mac was on mute, and instead popped a message up on the screen that said “Not Found.” I didn’t even really notice how wonderful this was until a minute later, because I just received the information and proceeded accordingly. I managed to capture the message before it faded out:


This example is a perfect illustration of how the Mac philosophy of excellent user interface design has historically also been reflected by Mac developers. Bare Bones (who make this text editor) has a long history on the Mac, and are well loved as a result. There is care and foresight reflected in this interface element. And it is not eye candy or useless feature bloat, either. When the volume is muted, how can the user be notified that the command has successfully been received, but there are no text matches? To ask the question is to seek more depth in your interface.