Help Viewer: Ugly smears with icon on dark background

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
July 26th, 2005 • 10:16 am

The following, to me, is a clear illustration of the lack of polish that characterizes Mac OS X’s Help Viewer application:

Icon over dark background in Help Viewer

It might not look like much, but when you blow it up, you get this:

Icon over dark background in Help Viewer - Bigger

Not pretty, uh? I know that drawing the contours of an anti-aliased icon over a dark background can be a bit of a challenge, but Apple obviously has little trouble handling it in the Finder with the iTunes icon itself:

Icon over dark background in Finder

So why the ugliness in Help Viewer? The answer is quite simply that Apple has been neglecting Help Viewer for far too long. In the absence of a printed manual, Help Viewer is the only resource available to Mac users who need help using their computer. But it’s a very badly designed application. For example, it’s almost unusable over a modem connection, because it keeps checking Apple’s servers for updates before it actually displays the pages requested by the user. It’s a web browser, but there is no status bar or indication of what is going on when the application is in the process of loading a page. Etc.

To me, this visual glitch in Help Viewer is quite simply an obvious symbol of Apple’s neglect.

2 Responses to “Help Viewer: Ugly smears with icon on dark background”

  1. ssp says:

    While I fully share your concerns about Help Viewer being close to useless (despite the help books partially not being bad at all, but mainly for being slow and poorly integrated) and Apple’s lack of quality control, this is clearly the mistake of the people who put a poorly masked icon into iTunes’ help book.

    A problem probably coming from the different (1-bit vs 8-bit) masks you can have.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Well, who’s responsible for what is of relatively limited significance to me. Whether it’s the icon guys or the Help Viewer guys… As I said, it’s symbolic of a wider problem.

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