Of late, a lot of people have been pointing to Microsoft as the superior company when it comes to interface design, citing the mostly very smart Windows 7 and Windows 8. The problem is, not all interface design scales, and when you go very minimal, interfaces can lose any sense of tactility and make it hard to focus. Peter Bright of Ars Technica’s shot of Office 2013 highlights that the opposite of Apple’s current design aesthetic isn’t necessarily any better. Acres of white space lead the eye to flick all over the design, making it hard to focus on the content (which is the smallish box on the right, with “This is an inline reply” in it). It’s unclear which components are buttons and which are content areas. Worse, there’s no sense of warmth at all. This feels like an email client designed to appeal to people bereft of emotion. In short, it’s every bit as horrible as Apple’s worst UI design, just in a very different way.
As part of another follow-up discussion, Rian van der Merwe discusses the appropriateness of in-/visible design.