What were they thinking: QuickTime X

Today I want to start a new category of blog posts which discuss to bad design decisions made by companies. To start with, I want to draw your attention to Quicktime. I stopped using Windows and started using OS X back in early 2007. I have usually not looked back and regretted my move. OS X is really an solid Operating System. Which at the time didnt appear to have a formidable rival(Windows XP). Today with Windows 7, things have heated up between the operating system powerhouses and it it difficult to compare the feature sets of the 2. When there is a overlap, its interesting when making a comparison.

Since 2007 I have missed Windows Media Player for one of its best and most fundamental features which is woefully missing in QuickTime. Some would think that this feature is its codec support. I think that Quicktimes swiss army knife, Perian fills this void nicely. Instead the culprit is the tiny progress bar. Heres what it (kinda) looks like in Windows Media Player:

Screenshot of windows media playerSee how LONG the progress slider is. Compare this to the current Snow Leopard release of Quicktime X:

QuicktimeX screenshot

Message to Apple, when watching more then a few minutes of videos, those 300 pixels are NOT long enough to accurately select a specific time in the video. This isn’t iTunes where you have sound clips that go for about 4 minutes. Do the math:

90 minute movie = 5400 seconds

5400 seconds / 300 pixels = 18 seconds a pixel

Like seriously cmon, usually when rewinding, you want to rewind like 10 seconds because you missed what someone just said, also do they realise that they aren’t being reasonably by asking users to move their hand 1 pixel to the left just to hear what was said. Alarmingly, QuickTime 6/7 which shipped with Tiger and Leopard have had a progress slider which I used to be able to live with because it actually grew longer as you expanded the window:

Quicktime7 screenshotIronically, the feature that is used to ‘preview’ a video (but not properly watch) does a better job then Quicktime X. Heres what QuickLook looks like:

QuickLook screenshotLike seriously Apple. You make great UIs, but you have been missing the mark all together with your video players since the dawn of time. Think about how users will be using your UI. Im amazed no one has already pointed this out.

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