Native vs. Non-native look-and-feel

9 Sep 2008 - 2:51pm
5 years ago
18 replies
1425 reads
Matt Doe
2008

Hi everyone,

We are charged with the redesign of a cross platform (Windows, Mac and
Linux) application. From data we've collected, we know about 93
percent of users are Windows users, 6-7 percent are Mac and the
remaining 1 percent are some flavor of Linux.

The application was originally written to have a native look and feel
and users have been used to that for the past 6 years. We have moved
onto the visual design phase and we are torn between going completely
native, or doing a non-native feel across platforms.

Certain windows applications like Picasa have a non-native look and
feel, but they can get away with this very easily because it still
follows a lot of windows conventions like the primary color being a
shade of grey and using soft borders around buttons, etc...

Then you have the polar opposite like iTunes on windows or even more
extreme, some Adobe Air applications like eBay desktop, where the
look-and-feel deviates so far from the platform it just feels awkward
to use it. What I find interesting is that web applications have a
non-native look-and-feel (gmail, facebook, etc...), but they are no
less usable and don't feel awkward to use. Maybe it's because it's
wrapped in a native browser?

Does anyone have any research or experience about the usability of
non-native look-and-feels across different platforms?

Thanks!

Comments

9 Sep 2008 - 5:59pm
Katie Albers
2005

Hi,

Color me confused. What exactly do you mean by native? Do you mean
you've designed a different interface for each platform (which is
what I usually understand native to mean in this context) or do you
mean that you're designing a single interface for all 3 that is
native to some unspoken standard platform, or do you mean that it's
"native" in relation to the browser (which is also problematic, since
browsers have differing characteristics in their interfaces)?

In general I think "nativity" is an over-rated characteristic. It's
merely a tool to help users learn an interface more quickly. That
goal can often be achieved through a variety of other methods in
interfaces which enable different tasks, and it's not unheard of for
"native" interfaces to impede usability in those cases where the
native didn't anticipate the use or the user group or the technology.

But all of that is subject to how you're using the word. Since you
seem to have a large user group, you should have enough to run low
level prototypes by them (since you're considering visual design at
this point, I'd probably mock up a couple of pages in each option and
ask the users to narrate their way through the pages: "What's
clickable" "What would happen if you clicked it" etc) and see what
works best.

Katie

At 3:51 PM -0400 9/9/08, Matt Doe wrote:
>Hi everyone,
>
>We are charged with the redesign of a cross platform (Windows, Mac and
>Linux) application. From data we've collected, we know about 93
>percent of users are Windows users, 6-7 percent are Mac and the
>remaining 1 percent are some flavor of Linux.
>
>The application was originally written to have a native look and feel
>and users have been used to that for the past 6 years. We have moved
>onto the visual design phase and we are torn between going completely
>native, or doing a non-native feel across platforms.
>
>Certain windows applications like Picasa have a non-native look and
>feel, but they can get away with this very easily because it still
>follows a lot of windows conventions like the primary color being a
>shade of grey and using soft borders around buttons, etc...
>
>Then you have the polar opposite like iTunes on windows or even more
>extreme, some Adobe Air applications like eBay desktop, where the
>look-and-feel deviates so far from the platform it just feels awkward
>to use it. What I find interesting is that web applications have a
>non-native look-and-feel (gmail, facebook, etc...), but they are no
>less usable and don't feel awkward to use. Maybe it's because it's
>wrapped in a native browser?
>
>Does anyone have any research or experience about the usability of
>non-native look-and-feels across different platforms?
>
>Thanks!
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

9 Sep 2008 - 7:38pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Matt,

Take eclipse (www.eclipse.org) example, they have the native look and
feel at every platform, but at the same time, keep the interaction
(behavior) as uniform as possible, which definitly help it's user
experience.
But the key here, is
1, first the user experience is uniform
2. second, the native look and feel
Many guys in this forum may tell you, the first factor is far
important than second from different perspective, but the core may lat
at the native look and feel have little to do with usability, until it
will harm the interaction significantly.

Cheers,
-- Jarod

On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 3:51 AM, Matt Doe <mysocalledmike at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
>
> We are charged with the redesign of a cross platform (Windows, Mac and
> Linux) application. From data we've collected, we know about 93
> percent of users are Windows users, 6-7 percent are Mac and the
> remaining 1 percent are some flavor of Linux.
>
> The application was originally written to have a native look and feel
> and users have been used to that for the past 6 years. We have moved
> onto the visual design phase and we are torn between going completely
> native, or doing a non-native feel across platforms.
>
> Certain windows applications like Picasa have a non-native look and
> feel, but they can get away with this very easily because it still
> follows a lot of windows conventions like the primary color being a
> shade of grey and using soft borders around buttons, etc...
>
> Then you have the polar opposite like iTunes on windows or even more
> extreme, some Adobe Air applications like eBay desktop, where the
> look-and-feel deviates so far from the platform it just feels awkward
> to use it. What I find interesting is that web applications have a
> non-native look-and-feel (gmail, facebook, etc...), but they are no
> less usable and don't feel awkward to use. Maybe it's because it's
> wrapped in a native browser?
>
> Does anyone have any research or experience about the usability of
> non-native look-and-feels across different platforms?
>
> Thanks!
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Designing for better life style.

http://jarodtang.spaces.live.com/
http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

9 Sep 2008 - 10:18pm
Nathan Philpot
2007

Design for both. I would say that is the norm. And it is a good idea,
because you are designing an interface that is more familiar to the
user.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32800

9 Sep 2008 - 11:32pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Matt,

I think what you are describing here has a lot to do with
expectations. As a Mac user, I expect an application that I install
and run locally to look and behave like a standard Mac app following
Mac OS conventions. When I use an app that has been poorly ported from
a Windows version, and it has, say, the Okay button on the left and
the Cancel button on the right, it annoys me. However, when I'm using
a web app, I don't expect it to look or behave like my desktop apps.
Certainly, there are still conventions that I expect it to follow, but
I am more open to "different" UI patterns.

Best,
Jack

On Sep 9, 2008, at 3:51 PM, Matt Doe wrote:

> Certain windows applications like Picasa have a non-native look and
> feel, but they can get away with this very easily because it still
> follows a lot of windows conventions like the primary color being a
> shade of grey and using soft borders around buttons, etc...
>
> Then you have the polar opposite like iTunes on windows or even more
> extreme, some Adobe Air applications like eBay desktop, where the
> look-and-feel deviates so far from the platform it just feels awkward
> to use it. What I find interesting is that web applications have a
> non-native look-and-feel (gmail, facebook, etc...), but they are no
> less usable and don't feel awkward to use. Maybe it's because it's
> wrapped in a native browser?

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Design is like California.
No one is born there.

-Dick Buchanan

10 Sep 2008 - 1:02am
Jarod Tang
2007

> Thanks Jared,
Sorry, I'm Jarod instead of another Jared from this list. :)

> But even if the interaction is solid, I feel like
> once you deviate too far from the OS look-and-feel, it starts feeling
> awkward to interact with a desktop application...that is why
> applications like Pownce (http://pownce.com/) did a redesign of their
> adobe air application. It looked so much like a widget sitting on a
> desktop rather than a desktop application that in their redesign, they
> striped it down to have more or a windows look-and-feel. Do you think
> that if eclipse rendered it's own kind of buttons instead of a windows
> button it would feel completely awkward to use?

I agree with you that look and feel affect the user ( it's obvious by
comparing eclipse/SWT with the Sun/AWT,). And to achieve this, it's
more like a widget selecting problem, like you use wxWidgets or rcp as
development foundation.

Cheers,
-- Jarod
--
Designing for better life style.

http://jarodtang.spaces.live.com/
http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

10 Sep 2008 - 2:15am
Andreas Ringdal
2008

I think it is more important to keep the core functionality and the
process of using the application the same on all platforms.

I use Evernote both on Windows, OS X, iPhone and Web, and what really
annoys me is that it behaves differently. When creating a new note,
the windows version automatically adds the first line as a title and
to tagg the note, I have to open a separate window. The OS X and
iPhone versions both have separate fields for title and tags.

My opinion: make the application look native, but behave the same
way.

Andreas

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32800

9 Sep 2008 - 8:43pm
Matt Doe
2008

Thanks Katie,

By native, I mean this mostly as a programmer term. In a Java
application, you can set the look-and-feel to be native, meaning the
interaction will be identical across platforms, but instead of drawing
a button the way the program wants to, it will know to render a button
that looks like a windows button on windows and a button that looks
like an OS X button on Mac. In terms of designing the entire interface
natively (meaning following OS X design guidelines on Macs and Vista
guidelines on Vista), we aren't going to be doing that.

So we are designing a single interface from an interaction standpoint,
same layout, same navigation, etc...but in terms of the visual style
of the application, we are torn whether to say "lets pick a visual
style" and make it look that way on all 3 platforms, or whether to say
"lets make this look like a windows app in windows, an OS X app on
Macs, etc...Also, this is a desktop application, so there is no
interaction with a browser at all. Have you had to design desktop apps
that supported multiple platforms before, and if so, what was your
solution?

Thanks Jared,

I agree 100 percent. But even if the interaction is solid, I feel like
once you deviate too far from the OS look-and-feel, it starts feeling
awkward to interact with a desktop application...that is why
applications like Pownce (http://pownce.com/) did a redesign of their
adobe air application. It looked so much like a widget sitting on a
desktop rather than a desktop application that in their redesign, they
striped it down to have more or a windows look-and-feel. Do you think
that if eclipse rendered it's own kind of buttons instead of a windows
button it would feel completely awkward to use?

On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 8:38 PM, Jarod Tang <jarod.tang at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Matt,
>
> Take eclipse (www.eclipse.org) example, they have the native look and
> feel at every platform, but at the same time, keep the interaction
> (behavior) as uniform as possible, which definitly help it's user
> experience.
> But the key here, is
> 1, first the user experience is uniform
> 2. second, the native look and feel
> Many guys in this forum may tell you, the first factor is far
> important than second from different perspective, but the core may lat
> at the native look and feel have little to do with usability, until it
> will harm the interaction significantly.
>
> Cheers,
> -- Jarod
>
> On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 3:51 AM, Matt Doe <mysocalledmike at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>>
>> We are charged with the redesign of a cross platform (Windows, Mac and
>> Linux) application. From data we've collected, we know about 93
>> percent of users are Windows users, 6-7 percent are Mac and the
>> remaining 1 percent are some flavor of Linux.
>>
>> The application was originally written to have a native look and feel
>> and users have been used to that for the past 6 years. We have moved
>> onto the visual design phase and we are torn between going completely
>> native, or doing a non-native feel across platforms.
>>
>> Certain windows applications like Picasa have a non-native look and
>> feel, but they can get away with this very easily because it still
>> follows a lot of windows conventions like the primary color being a
>> shade of grey and using soft borders around buttons, etc...
>>
>> Then you have the polar opposite like iTunes on windows or even more
>> extreme, some Adobe Air applications like eBay desktop, where the
>> look-and-feel deviates so far from the platform it just feels awkward
>> to use it. What I find interesting is that web applications have a
>> non-native look-and-feel (gmail, facebook, etc...), but they are no
>> less usable and don't feel awkward to use. Maybe it's because it's
>> wrapped in a native browser?
>>
>> Does anyone have any research or experience about the usability of
>> non-native look-and-feels across different platforms?
>>
>> Thanks!
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Designing for better life style.
>
> http://jarodtang.spaces.live.com/
> http://jarodtang.blogspot.com
>

10 Sep 2008 - 10:37am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 10, 2008, at 2:02 AM, Jarod Tang wrote:

>> Thanks Jared,
> Sorry, I'm Jarod instead of another Jared from this list. :)

That would be me, I guess.

This isn't a question about native vs. non-native. As Jack mentioned,
it's about leveraging the experience and perceptions of the user.

Buttons, scroll bars, radio buttons, check boxes, and other commonly
used design elements become part of the user's landscape. When they
are new, they have to learn how to interact with them, since it's not
knowledge they are born with.

Over time, they realize these always work the same and become adept to
their usage.

When you change what they are used to, it creates a focus disruption
for them. For example, when a new and novel scroll bar is created in a
Flash application, the user has to stop thinking about the content
they want the scroll (such as the article) and now focus their efforts
on learning the new scroll bar. If it looks and behaves substantially
different from what their experience has been, it will take more
attention to do things that normally would go on peripherally.

So, when you're abandoning "native" elements, what you're basically
doing is abandoning that previous users experience. This isn't
necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that you should be very
conscious of in your design. If you don't have a good reason to do so,
you probably don't want to.

If you do feel you have a good reason, you want to make sure you've
done it well. Elements, such as scroll bars, have very subtle
behaviors that operating system designers have refined over a really
long time, such as how it interacts with a scroll wheel. When the
element doesn't behave the same way, it disrupts the user abruptly,
probably at a point in the interaction where you, as the designer,
don't really want them distracted.

Substantial usability testing is a requirement here. I wouldn't go
"non-native" without it.

Hope that helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

11 Sep 2008 - 3:11am
Jarod Tang
2007

> So, when you're abandoning "native" elements, what you're basically doing is
> abandoning that previous users experience. This isn't necessarily a bad
> thing, but it is something that you should be very conscious of in your
> design. If you don't have a good reason to do so, you probably don't want
> to.
This hits the core the question.

Cheers,
-- Jarod

11 Sep 2008 - 4:06am
Håkan Reis
2006

I would say, It depends:

It depends on the application; A game usually deviates a lot from native
interaction. There are other applications that often do the same for example
3D modeling software. But the more "generic" controls you use in the
application the more important it is to make it native to the operating
system.

The example if iTunes, yes they keep it the MAC way and if it wasn't for
their strong ties to iPod and iTunes music store I see very little that
would make people use that as their media player. I think people put up with
it just because the services it provides, not for the interaction in it. I
use it myself and always feel lost as soon as I try to change sedttings etc.

// Håkan

---
Håkan Reis
Dotway AB
+46(768)510033

My blog || http://blog.reis.se
My company || http://dotway.se
Our conference || http://oredev.org - See you in 2008

11 Sep 2008 - 10:13am
Matt Doe
2008

Hakan, A agree about games because the experience is very different.
You are trying to create an environment for them to get lost in rather
than a user interface to use. The game play should be the only thing
the user is focusing on which should making the user interface
transparent to the player. I still think games have some of the best
designed (and hardest to design) user interfaces.

Jared, I agree about things such as flash scroll bars, but there are a
lot of web applications out there that use a combination of native and
non-native components and they are very usable. Even applications like
Picasa 3 (http://picasa.google.com/) does everything non-native, but
it does it so subtly that I feel the user doesn't really notice.

Here is the problem with keeping a windows application completely
native.You end up with an application that looks like this:
http://pcwin.com/media/images/screen/AVG_Anti_Virus_Free_Edition_7_5_1010.png

Do you think there can be some kind of compromise to have it be
visually appealing in windows without decreasing the usability?

On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 5:06 AM, Håkan Reis <hakan.reis at dotway.se> wrote:
> I would say, It depends:
>
> It depends on the application; A game usually deviates a lot from native
> interaction. There are other applications that often do the same for example
> 3D modeling software. But the more "generic" controls you use in the
> application the more important it is to make it native to the operating
> system.
>
> The example if iTunes, yes they keep it the MAC way and if it wasn't for
> their strong ties to iPod and iTunes music store I see very little that
> would make people use that as their media player. I think people put up with
> it just because the services it provides, not for the interaction in it. I
> use it myself and always feel lost as soon as I try to change sedttings etc.
>
> // Håkan
>
> ---
> Håkan Reis
> Dotway AB
> +46(768)510033
>
> My blog || http://blog.reis.se
> My company || http://dotway.se
> Our conference || http://oredev.org - See you in 2008
>
>
>
>

12 Sep 2008 - 10:21am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 11, 2008, at 8:13 AM, Matt Doe wrote:

> Here is the problem with keeping a windows application completely
> native.You end up with an application that looks like this:
> http://pcwin.com/media/images/screen/AVG_Anti_Virus_Free_Edition_7_5_1010.png
>
> Do you think there can be some kind of compromise to have it be
> visually appealing in windows without decreasing the usability?

Hi Matt,

I'm not sure I understand your point with the AVG Anti Virus screen.
Are you saying you feel it's not visually appealing? Or is there some
other issue with it?

I think the tension between usability and visual appeal is always a
false tension. It's created when a team is missing solid visual and
interaction design skills.

There is no reason in my mind that the AVG interface *couldn't* be
more visually appealing while feeling like a Windows apps. There are
plenty of very appealing windows apps in the world. It just takes
solid skills and a good design process to make them that way. It's
likely that it wasn't a priority for the AVG team or they didn't have
the skills to make it work.

So, if visual appeal is a high criteria for your design (and kudos to
you for making it so), you're going to have to accept that it will
take a significant investment to get there.

Jared

12 Sep 2008 - 12:29pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Jared's right (as usual ;). There are dozens of decisions about the
design of that screen that lead to it looking the way it does. Chances
are, most of the decisions were made by simply accepting the default
appearance. This can happen on any platform. Had the implementor been
given a specification that included pixel dimensions, color, type, and
the like, and it was a well designed spec, it could have turned out
much better without much more work on the implementor's part.

Jack

On Sep 12, 2008, at 11:21 AM, Jared Spool wrote:
> So, if visual appeal is a high criteria for your design (and kudos
> to you for making it so), you're going to have to accept that it
> will take a significant investment to get there.

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

You could design a process to catch
everything, but then you're overprocessing.
You kill creativity. You kill productivity.
By definition, a culture like ours that
drives innovation is managed chaos.

-Alex Lee
President, OXO International

12 Sep 2008 - 4:07pm
adamya ashk
2004

Coming late to the discussion, here are my $0.02:

>Does anyone have any research or experience about the usability of
>non-native look-and-feels across different platforms?

The 'native look and feel' exists simply to provide some guidelines
for visual design. Since most operating systems go through iterative
cycles of visual theme changes what exactly is a 'native' look? (think
windows 95 look and feel & Vista or osx vs. os7) .

You said it when you talked about an app feeling 'awkward' when it
veered too much from the norm. In this case, the norm simply happens
to be what people have running on their desktop. That is a hard thing
to predict and yet setting it to just that may make the design look
sedate and unexciting.

I have seen users put up with radical changes in look and feel as long
as the interaction design is good and the benefits outweighs the cost
of learning. Some of these changes become necessary as our experience
with computers constantly evolves and interface guidelines lag behind
what designers want to do.
http://image.versiontracker.com/scrnsht/65428/196459/302Panther.png

Now, I'm not saying that each app has to be different. That would be
denigrating to the experience. Small changes, however, when put
together carefully, can get you to a greatly enhanced experience.
Case in point is the new browser from Google which uses the changes in
look and feel to almost 'highlight' new interaction models.

>Substantial usability testing is a requirement here. I wouldn't go "non-native" without it.

Amen. Usability testing is always a requirement. In fact, I wouldn't
go 'native' without it :-)

Cheers,

-Adamya Ashk

12 Sep 2008 - 4:13pm
milan
2005

While this discussion raises some interesting questions on standards in UI
design in general, in the future the user will be facing more interfaces
incorporating their very own standards, both in interaction design and in
visual appearance.

Due to the "melting" of web and desktop applications, aside from the release
of cross-platform franeworks and apps, I think vendors of software products
will be forced to estabhish individual standards and take this
responsibility (and power) from the OS people.

This is could lead to chaos, but is also a great chance to make a
difference.

milan

12 Sep 2008 - 8:23am
Sascha Brossmann
2008

I would like to argue in favour of %u201Cnative%u201D [1]. At least in
the regular case: messing around with my motoric memory, my system's
default shortcuts, my system's standard widget
look/behaviour/positions etc. is not likely to earn you good credits
;-) And, as frequently in design, it is details that count here:
often the tiny well-dones/annoyances, that do not seem
important/disturbing enough to be credited or reported, have a large
impact on everyday satisfaction with an artefact/product/process. (I
do not have the source at hand, sorry, IIRC it was somehow related to
David Gilbert's research on happiness.)

Some of the few exceptions have already been stated above: a) games,
b) web apps (at least partly), and c) scenarios where your average
user uses your application across several platforms (i.e. the _same_
user, not different ones). Though in the latter case I would still
like to differentiate between transitional applications that get run
once in a while and/or aside others and highly immersive applications
(e. g. an IDE or a large 3D design app) that get used over longer
periods of time with mostly exclusive focus. And only in the second
case I would accept sound reasons to ignore the platform's
conventions. Amongst those reasons I would e. g. count a highly
domain specific workflow that is not sufficiently provided for by the
system's native UI (video post production, 3d modeling, %u2026).

In short: a platform's native interface standards and defaults
(definitely _including_ the respective human interface guidelines)
may be ignored if this leads to a _substantial_ improvement for the
user.

[1] With %u201Cnative%u201D, I mean as completely native as possible
and not the superficial nativity you get e. g. with Java without
platform specific code. Just mor or less emulating native appearance
is by far not enough. See a large share of Java apps as
not-best-practice examples (Netbeans or Eclipse get somehow away with
it, because they are on their own right good enough as IDEs). See OTOH
Cyberduck on OS X for a very well-done example of a Java app _not_
looking and behaving like an alien in half-disguise. Another good one
would be Transmission (AFAIK built with Python).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32800

14 Sep 2008 - 12:10pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 12, 2008, at 5:13 PM, Milan Guenther wrote:

> While this discussion raises some interesting questions on standards
> in UI design in general, in the future the user will be facing more
> interfaces incorporating their very own standards, both in
> interaction design and in visual appearance.
>
> Due to the "melting" of web and desktop applications, aside from the
> release of cross-platform franeworks and apps, I think vendors of
> software products will be forced to estabhish individual standards
> and take this responsibility (and power) from the OS people.
>
> This is could lead to chaos, but is also a great chance to make a
> difference.

In my opinion, it won't lead to chaos. On the contrary -- I believe
it's standards that make the world chaotic.

UI standards have always been irrelevant. Designing to standards have
never worked. Designing to the experience and knowledge of the user
always produces great results. Standards fail to bring the order that
they promised.

If you're designing to experience and knowledge, it will appear that a
standard emerges, because the same patterns will occur repeatedly. As
designers, we'd like to pay attention to those patterns and draw on
them.

However, users pay no attention to the patterns. If the design is
intuitive (meaning that the user knows what to do next with virtually
no cognitive effort), they could care less if the design followed any
pattern similar to previous designs. This is not chaos -- it's good
design.

Given the choice of a poorly designed application that closely follows
a UI standard or a great design that avoids the standard, the users
will choose the latter every time.

That's my thinking.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

15 Sep 2008 - 6:55am
Anonymous

When thinking about native vs. non-native, I think we need to remember
that it goes far beyond the visual appearance of controls.

Firstly, the visual appearance of the controls is designed to work in
the context of each platform's standards for control spacing,
alignment, and the like. Simply switching the control appearance
between platforms, without also redoing the layout of dialog boxes,
for instance, won't give you something that feels like a native
interface.

However, it goes much more deeply than that. Think about other
conventions of each platform that users will be accustomed to, from
where you find application preferences in the menu structure, to
shortcut key conventions, to integration with online help, search,
and other standard applications on each platform.

All of these things mean that an application which simply uses the
native control styles on each platform can still end up feeling very
unnatural to users.

In fact, I imagine users can quickly adapt to a different visual
control style much more easily than if you break these other deeper
conventions of each particular platform.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32800

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