Scrollbar or Scrubber?

Thursday, 2006-09-28; 20:24:00

More bullshit from Apple over iTunes 7 UI issues

So let's have a little quiz. It's called, "Scrollbar or Scrubber?"

Which of the following images is of a scrollbar, and which is of a scrubber?

Scrollbar or Scrubber Image 1
Scrollbar or Scrubber Image 2
Scrollbar or Scrubber Image 3
Scrollbar or Scrubber Image 4
Scrollbar or Scrubber Image 5

OK, I'll give you a few minutes. This is hard, so take your time. (Bonus points if you can identify from where all those images come.)


Done? OK cool. You probably said the 2nd and 3rd are scrollbars, and the 1st, 4th, and 5th are scrubbers. Am I right?

Well, you're wrong. Nope, the 3rd image is also of a scrubber! That's right, you LOSE, good DAY, sir! I mean, come on, the 3rd image is so obviously a scrubber! It is because Apple says so; it's so obvious!


Are you shitting me, Apple? Seriously. Scrubbers don't have scroll arrows. Scroll bars do. Scrubbers have a fixed-size object to indicate position. Scroll bars have proportional elevators (or, I guess proportional moving walkways for horizontal scrollbars, lol). Is there any way that you can possibly confuse the two?

"Please know that the bar in CoverFlow is a scrubber and not a scrollbar. Therefore, it does not follow the scrollbar requirement of dual arrows." That's a quote I got from Apple with regards to bug LVI -- the one where the CoverFlow views in iTunes 7 don't respect your system-wide scrollbar settings. From all the responses I got regarding window resizing behavior, selection color preferences, and scrollbar preferences, it just seems like Apple is actively ignoring it's Human Interface Guidelines, redefining terms at will to justify bad UI behavior.

The one thing I don't get is, why? Is having a scroll bar that doesn't obey system-wide preferences some kind of "innovation"? How about a non-customizable selection color? Are they worried that changing the selection color will somehow cause people to not realize that they're using iTunes anymore? These are small details that it seems Apple should want to get right! Why on Earth would they keep reiterating that these bugs are "behaving as designed based on business decisions and contract requirements"? OK, I can understand perhaps the bug where you can't transfer anything but purchased content to another computer through an iPod. (Read "business decisions and contract requirements" as "the RIAA would piss in our cheerios if we did that".) But the selection color bug? A business decision? A contract requirement? What?

To continue the iTunes 7 bug saga, all except one of the duplicate bug reports that I filed got closed. I also received an e-mail from someone whose signature includes "Apple Developer Connection" and "Worldwide Developer Relations". (No, I won't post the name.) In her original e-mail, she simply said that I needn't file duplicate bugs, and that I only need to update existing bug reports as new information becomes available.

Obviously that wasn't acceptable, so I e-mailed her back (whereby "her" I mean "", that nebulous e-mail address to which you don't know if anyone's going to respond). I sent an e-mail with a few ALL CAPS words and some exclamation points!, trying to explain to her my frustration. The same person responded, saying she "understands my frustration". She says she re-opened bug ID #4747296 (which is true), and that she has forwarded my enhancement requests to the right department. But as for the other ones (and she doesn't specify which ones), she reiterates that they behave as intended.

I've noticed lots of changes in the states of some of my bugs, though. As I mentioned, all the duplicate reports have been closed, save for bug ID #4740521, which deals with the bad resizing behavior of the main iTunes 7 window and corresponds to ABF L. Bug ID #4740526 has also been reopened, regarding iTunes 7 not replacing album art of lower resolution, which is the original report for ABF LI. Bug ID #4740535, corresponding to ABF LII (downloaded artwork not stored within the song file), has changed from "Behaves correctly" to "Closed". ABF LVI, as you know from above, has been changed from "Open" to "Behaves correctly" even though that's bullshit. Finally, Bug ID #4740551, ABF LX regarding only purchased content being transferred through an iPod, has been changed from "Behaves correctly" to "Closed".

So now, instead of saying that 8 of my bug reports were pure crap, Apple is telling me that only 5 of them are crap. (This includes the two that were marked as closed but were marked as "behaves correctly" in the notes or in an e-mail. Their state hasn't changed, so I can only assume that Apple still thinks they design as behaved.) I guess that's some improvement, but it still sucks.

Since I got through to my previous contact this way, I sent another reply to the address. I requested a "logical explanation" for why the selection color bug and the two scrollbar bugs behave correctly. Hopefully I can get some action to happen on these bugs. If not, I will refile just these three again. (I'm going to drop the Audible menu item issue, 'cause honestly I don't particularly care much about that bug. I'm still deciding whether to make more noise about the modal dialogs bug.)

Again, I highly encourage everybody else to file bugs regarding this issue, referencing my bug numbers if necessary. These are ridiculous designs that need to be changed.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no, iTunes 7.0.1 doesn't fix any of these bugs, as far as I can tell.

Technological Supernova   Apple Bug Friday   Older   Newer   Post a Comment