Mac Toolbar Labels and Accessibility

Interesting post — and that rarest of all beasts, a good comment thread — on a creeping trend in Mac app design: toolbars that don’t have an option to show text labels under the button icons. I like showing button labels in (a) apps that I use infrequently, and (b) apps which have a lot of buttons, some of which have icons that are similar to each other (Apple Mail comes to mind).

I think it’s a real accessibility issue, and another instance of something that looks better but, for at least some people, works worse. I also think the problem is exacerbated by the current fashion where icons are just simple one-color hairline outline objects, not colorful illustrations of actual objects.

Thursday, 23 May 2019