I agree wholeheartedly with a UI overhaul!
We would be VERY, VERY PLEASED if you (OakTree) would implement Core Image, Core Animation, OpenGL 3.2 in the next iteration of Accordance 9.0. We/I would love to see the program's visuals to resemble Pixelmator according to polish, detail(s), and 3D-looking attentiveness.
I enjoy the detail of attention you've paid greatly to the usefulness of Accordance, but now I would like to see the same details applied to the look of Accordance's graphics to become far more lifelike, organic, and realistically consistent with animations, effects, 3D-looking smoothness and polish in texture, etc. To me the UI looks: archaic (in comparison to to-days apps I'm using), dull, plain, unattractive, and simply lackluster in appearance-though exceedingly useful, YES!, the graphics, to me, looks like something from the 1990's, examples: "Graph" and "Diagram"- need I say more?
I implore you to please impress us with the the next major upgrade/date, 9.0.
While we've made minor interface changes since then, the last time we gave Accordance a major interface overhaul was version 6. OS X has changed a lot since then so we are indeed planning on refreshing the Accordance interface for version 9. We've got lots of exciting changes planned, but it is this question of the "look" of Accordance which is most puzzling to me. That's because people who complain about the current look usually only give vague impressions rather than specific criticisms. The person who posted this request has come closer to offering specifics, but I'd still like a little more.
For example, he uses Pixelmator as an example to be emulated, and Pixelmator is indeed striking. It relies heavily on Transparent Panels, which have this cool glossy black look. Label text on such panels is white. It's high contrast and slick, but Apple's interface guidelines indicate that this interface is only to be used for graphic-heavy programs like image editors. Since Pixelmator is an image editing program, the white on black look is appropriate. Apple also uses this interface for iMovie 09, but it uses the standard Mac interface for other iLife apps like iTunes and iPhoto.
Not only would using the white-on-black look in Accordance be breaking Apple's guidelines, I also worry that the high-contrast look would be distracting for many of our users. So while we have already considered it, we've decided against that particular look.
By the way, these same issues mitigated against the brushed metal look that Apple has now deprecated. It was originally supposed to be used for multimedia apps, and then lots of other apps started using it inappropriately. We had lots of requests to go with that look, but doing so would have broken Apple's guidelines, and of course we would have lost that look with Leopard.
So if the white-on-black look is out, we're left with trying to jazz up the look of Accordance in other ways. One way to do that is to use a more textured look for window surfaces. Right now, we use a flat gray background. Apple uses that same color in many of their windows and panels, but the number of window surfaces in Accordance may make Accordance look more "plain" than other apps.
Another common complaint is that our icons look dated. The user quoted above mentioned the diagram icon and graph icon (perhaps he meant Syntax?) and asked, "need I say more?" Actually, yes, I need a little more. The Resource palette icons were all designed by the folks at the IconFactory, so it's not as if we hacked them together ourselves. When I told that to someone else recently, he was genuinely surprised that we had them professionally designed. I'm not sure I understand why that is.
Apart from the chalkboard look of the Diagram icon, I'm at a loss to know what about it looks dated. We used a chalkboard because most people were first exposed to diagramming in school, and we figured a real world context was better than just a series of disembodied diagram lines. Should we have used a whiteboard with Dry-Erase markers to be a little more modern?
Actually, looking again at the user's suggestions, it occurs to me that he may not be referring to the Resource palette icons but to the Graphs in the Details workspace and the icons for the diagram symbols in the Diagram window itself. If that's the case, then yes, the diagram window could certainly be jazzed up. The Graphs on the other hand have some pretty striking-looking options. (Try area graphs on a black background, for example). It's just that the defaults may not be the most exciting options, and perhaps we need to add other more 3D looking graphs. We're certainly open to suggestions.
Finally, some users complain about the amount of "wasted space" in the program interface. This is amusing to me because we deliberately spread things out when we overhauled the interface for Accordance 6. The original Accordance interface made very efficient use of space but eventually began to feel cramped, especially when OS X interface standards called for spreading things out much more than the Classic Mac OS. Since then, the pendulum has been swinging back to a more efficient use of space and smaller interface elements, and the challenge for long-time Mac developers is figuring out how to keep up with the latest fashion. For Accordance 9, we will be tightening things up a bit and giving you a little more screen real estate for viewing content, but we have to be careful not to go too far by relying too much on tiny interface elements that are too hard to hit, or tight layouts which feel more cramped than efficient.
Okay, so I've told you a bit about the competing concerns which go into interface design, and explained that we need more than just a vague suggestion to "make it look like this or that other program." So here's your chance to make suggestions for how the look of the interface could be updated. I look forward to hearing your ideas.