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The New Apple Mail (OS X 10.7 Lion)

I recently upgraded my computer’s operating system to OS X 10.7. Yes, I am a Mac user and for those of you who don’t know what OS X 10.7 is, it is the operating system Lion, Apple’s newest operating system.

While Lion came out a while ago, July ’11, I was skeptical of switching because of some of the quirks and issues I had heard about. I finally gave in and upgraded about a week ago, and I have had no problems since. I do admit Mission Control is a little weird for me, as I used spaces a lot. Oh well, I have to get used to something new, not like that’s happened before.

After upgrading, I found Lion to be great in use as well as design. A lot of applications have changed drastically from what they were before, but the program I noticed the biggest change with was Apple Mail. It seems like they did a complete overhaul on it. While I love the new way of viewing emails (on the side rather than bottom), I want to point out how Apple follows Jakob Nielsen’s usability heuristic of aesthetic and minimalist design.

After looking at the screenshot I provided above, you too can probably realize the minimalist approach Apple took when designing this product. They use icons to their advantage here the most, which are used to accomplish all the main tasks in Mail. Although there is no text by the icons letting you know which one does what, the icons used are so universal that almost anyone clicking them has an idea about what they do. I like this approach and am glad they chose to go this way.

Apple also is the king of making things work well and look good at the same time, or as others may put it, the aesthetic part of everything. Mail is a great of example of how aesthetics are used in a program that is able to do so many complex things. They tend to use white and gray a lot in order to make things look good, and I feel they actually accomplished this in Apple Mail. Even with the inbox drawer open on the left hand side, Mail still looks pretty good. It looks more modern and very simple with the drawer closed as well.

Overall, I am impressed with the new Lion operating system. I feel Apple has done a great job at making their design better through taking a minimalist approach, which also makes it look better as well. I cannot wait to see what else Apple comes up with in the future.


I am a life-long learner, adventure seeker, and front-end developer for @ExactTarget