in iTunes, OS X

It’s funny how sometimes the features and design that we first loved can fall out of fashion and become so unpopular. Take skeuomorphism, first lauded for it’s simplicity and usability by creating physical reference points for users was later criticised for looking outdated and adding unnecessary complexity to the interface by in siting on trying to look natural, when it clearly wasn’t.

With the impending WWDC and expectations of an update for OSX featuring a new design language some very talented designers have been showing off their ideas for how to improve OSx including this creative reimagining of iTunes from Brye Kobayashi.

Brye’s key issues with the current iTunes


Brye’s key complaints with the current version of iTunes are

  • The confusing drop down menus [especially when switching between iTunes store and Library)
  • the narrow rows and small text lead to poor visibility
  • The interface is cluttered with different media, not just music
  • the quick links aren’t important but take up spaceitunes issues

Main themes

His inspiration for his version of iTunes reimagined include

  • iOS 7 and Apple website current trends and changes
  • The iOS 7 iTunes control interface which slides out from the left
  • tabs in sidebar for quick navigation between media
  • A tab to flip between store and library
  • differentiating colours to clearly distinguish the store and library
  • stripped back store layout and design with only the essentials on display.

itunes store library

My issues

Brye’s design shows a really nice alternative vision for iTunes with an improved and easier to navigate interface that would certainly help users. However, I still wonder if this is a more complex solution to bigger problem that Apple should deal with. iTunes has lost focus. It used to just be a music player and tool to move data onto your device, now it is

  • a music player and library
  • a store for music (as well as films, books, apps, podcasts and iTunes U courses)
  • a device manager

Maybe it would be better to break the service out into separate apps, although I can understand why Apple want to make it quick to move from listening to buying music. The only issue is that it isn’t a quick process still.

Check out the full post over at Brye Kobayashi‘s site.

What would you change about the current iTunes design? Do you like Brye’s alternative vision?

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