iTunes 11 Interface Innovations

I don’t use iTunes as my default media player on a daily basis. However, since the release of iTunes 11, mainly out of curiosity and to see my wish granted, I’ve forced myself to listen to some music and do some movie watching with it. I was considering a separate article, but Adam C. Engst perfectly summed up the issues I find myself having with iTunes 11:

In the end, it’s good to see Apple trying to extend interface concepts with all these new approaches in iTunes 11 and some, like the use of color and the new approach to application typography are welcome. But there’s a distinct lack of consistency and attention to discoverability that renders the single-window model and multifarious button menus less successful than they might be. I cringe at the thought of trying to help someone use iTunes 11 over the phone — it will be nearly impossible to describe the screen successfully and to walk someone through different actions if you can’t do so in person.

Overall, I believe iTunes 11 is an improvement. I like the expanded album view, the new Store’s consistency with iOS, the device popovers, and the MiniPlayer. But at the same time, as a non-power user of iTunes 11, I found it to be extremely complicated and confusing in other areas: the Done button to dismiss the device window, the separation of sections, views, devices, and Store buttons across the entire window, and the non-native sharing of the iTunes Store. And yes, even other inconsistencies such as the inability to go back to Apps view, the lack of visual hints for songs added to UpNext using the “+” button in the popovers, and the standalone Downloads window that should have probably worked like Safari’s.

It’s not that I don’t like iTunes 11: in fact, I do — overall. It’s that, even from my perspective, there’s a surprising lack of minutiae in the design of iTunes 11.