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The cover flow view is like a virus spreading from iTunes to now Safari. Coverflow is a great way to waste time when you have plenty. This interface is analogous to flipping vinyl records in music store shelves of the good old day. It was a great experience to choose music when browsing nicely designed cover arts one by one. Apple is right trying to duplicate this experience (the idea was not Apple brain child, but invented by Andrew Coulter Enright) in iTunes or iPhone. It was fun to play with, waste time on and feel the concreteness of musics. But as interface (especially for small computer screen) is ineffective.

Coverflow does have one good use for people with bad memory. When you don’t remember the name of a document read or webpage visited, search is no use. Visually browse through the huge thumbnails one by one, slowly, could finally help you reach the target. A very slow and ineffective search method – a last resort.

What made the Coverflow so ineffective is the animation and limited viewing ability of number of files together. A previewed icons view – that is, the icons in a given windows show all their contents – far superior for visual searching. This view show all they have at once, you can go after the suspected target by Quick Look. Previewed icons plus Quick Look is 100 times greater then Coverflow. Apple is losing its edge on UI innovation.  

P.S. Coverflow does let people admire their own “creation” one by one. people need that – a space to think.


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