The Lite Side

What's a Cartoonish Poof Doing in an Elegant User Interface?

- 2005.10.19

Is it just me, or does the little puff of smoke that pops up when you remove a Dock item or an item from a navigation pane on the left side of Finder windows seem to be, well, tacky?

I mean, I'm no paragon of good taste - anyone who's seen me wear the same shirt three times in one week because it keeps winding up on the top of the laundry pile knows that - but all the same, everything else in the Finder and the Mac OS interface seems so . . . elegant. Brushed metal. Popup windows with file selectors. Search engine lists items by category. Plugging in a camera or an iPod launches everything automatically. Windows whoosh to the dock in a bit of computer animated special effects. And then you have . . . a cartoony puff of smoke.

It feels like that cartoon blob Morph in the movie Treasure Planet that Disney did. Everything is drawn beautifully in that movie, and the computer animation fit right in with the characters - except for Morph, who looked and moved like bad Saturday morning animation you see now on Boomerang ("on Cartoon Network!" says my son Jony).

So I wonder what Apple could do to replace it. Perhaps a little swirly thing that draws the icon into a black hole. Or maybe some kind of transition effect like the cube in Keynote. Or something that looks like a real cloud instead of a cartoon.

Maybe it turns into a dogcow, flips head over heels, and walks away. Or it animates flying itself to the Trash once you release it. Or you get a confirmation window instead, and it flies into a little Venus flytrap icon in the window.

Maybe it explodes instead of poofs. Or maybe it could enlarge, becoming as large as the screen allows, fading all the while like Apollo did in that Star Trek episode, "Who Mourns for Adonis".

How about a "pop" sound like a soap bubble, followed by it flying around the screen like a burst balloon. Maybe a Seussian vacuum cleaner attachment comes from stage right and sucks it into oblivion. Or Cylon raiders fly across the screen and shoot it.

It disappears in a burst of light like a transporter effect from Star Trek. It could turn into a flower that grows on your desktop picture.

Just get rid of the poof. It doesn't fit in. Obviously His Steveness has never seen the effect, because it spoils the whole elegant interface thing.

I bet icons don't 'toon poof in the Apple Store.

C'mon, shareware types. Has anyone made a replacement for the 'toon poof?

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