Someone at Apple Thinks that This Type of Display is Readable

Someone at Apple thought it would be a good idea, a few years ago, to have iTunes display content in certain views using colors extracted from album artwork. Sometimes this is quite attractive. But sometimes, this borders on torture.

Here’s an example; a playlist I made of Ultravox’s first three albums:

Itunes display torture

While I understand how some people like “dark themes,” there is no way that this display meets any minimum standards of readability.

Here’s a close-up, that shows the text at closer to actual size:

Display torture closeup

There’s an orange font on a black background, with a barely readable font for the duration and artist name. How can anyone thing that an app should display content like this?

Granted, there are ways to change this. The first is to turn off a setting in iTunes’ General preferences. Uncheck the Use custom colors for open albums, movies, etc. option, and it looks like this:

Itunes display relaxed

Or, open the View Options window (View > Show View Options), and choose to view the playlist as Songs.

But how did Apple’s designers not see displays like the one above and tweak the algorithm so they simply couldn’t happen? Anytime the dominant color of an album’s artwork is dark, you get these horrid, unreadable contrasts.

It’s almost as if it was intentional…

10 thoughts on “Someone at Apple Thinks that This Type of Display is Readable

  1. “It’s almost as if it was intentional…”

    It IS intentional, intentional change. Apple has the bad habit of fixing things that aren’t broken, forcing users to relearn things that were just fine before the change. Someone at Apple thinks that change for the sake of change is a good thing.

  2. “It’s almost as if it was intentional…”

    It IS intentional, intentional change. Apple has the bad habit of fixing things that aren’t broken, forcing users to relearn things that were just fine before the change. Someone at Apple thinks that change for the sake of change is a good thing.

  3. I watched the WWDC “Inclusive App Design” talk, and she spend a fair bit of time on contrast ratios, how to determine them, and the cutoff points for what you should not use because they aren’t readable. All Apple developers should be required to go to those talks–and follow the guidelines.

  4. I watched the WWDC “Inclusive App Design” talk, and she spend a fair bit of time on contrast ratios, how to determine them, and the cutoff points for what you should not use because they aren’t readable. All Apple developers should be required to go to those talks–and follow the guidelines.

    • Me too.

      Maybe you need glasses, Kirk. But congrats, now with iTunes 12.5 you have a boring white background for all your albums, rejoice.

    • Yeah, everybody can read this!
      Now you have this boring colourless design which is totally depressing. Thats a huge step back.

    • Me too.

      Maybe you need glasses, Kirk. But congrats, now with iTunes 12.5 you have a boring white background for all your albums, rejoice.

    • Yeah, everybody can read this!
      Now you have this boring colourless design which is totally depressing. Thats a huge step back.

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