On tiny interface imperfections…

I don’t know whether it’s because I spend time working on user interfaces or whether it’s because I’m profoundly anal, but the smallest imperfections in consistency in a UI can drive me mad. Weirdly, the large ones don’t affect me so much – I suppose because large UI problems make applications essentially unusable. But those small ones… Nnngh… They’re like specks of dust in your eyes that makes you weep with frustration, or the solitary grain of sand in your sandwich that sets your teeth on edge…

So while the debate rages around the internet about failings of iSync 1.1 – with people complaining about bugs, problems with firewalls, lost data – I’m secretly delighted. One of the most profoundly annoying (and infinitesimally tiny) design inconsistencies in the application has finally been removed. I can sleep again at last!

In Mac OSX, you can choose to have shortcuts or indicators for a variety of applications sit in your Finder menu bar. Next to the system clock you can have battery power indicators, volume indicators, iChat status indicators, Airport reception indicators… The list goes on. Each one of these indicators is (by default) a black symbol placed onto the aqua-style textured background of the bar. When you select one of them, a menu drops down from it, the background for the icon turns blue, and the icon itself turns white. Except for iSync! This one remained black – with a small aura of white around it. It drove me insane.

Now though – today – with iSync 1.1 slowly sputtering and crashing over the sheer weight of my Safari bookmarks, I’m at peace at last. They’ve fixed it! The rollover is clean and simple. It looks right! It fits! Now all I have to do is find a way of sanding off the tiny imperfection in my iBook trackpad.

Which tiny imperfections drive you insane?