The new user interface
To say that Yosemite does for the Mac’s user interface what iOS 7 did for the iPhone and iPad might be a tad simplistic, but the effect is similar. While the new user interface isn’t completely flat, it is noticeably flatter. Gone are the glassy textures and other frivolous nods to the third dimension. Where drop shadows still exist, they do so for a reason, to help lift dialog boxes and make them clear, for example.
Yosemite is also more translucent – most obviously with the sidebar in Finder windows. Thankfully, Apple has adjusted the effect so backgrounds are now more blurred, meaning if you have a busy desktop background it won’t interfere with elements in the window above. (You can turn it off altogether in the Accessibility pane in System Preferences.)
The system font has changed from Lucida Grande to a slightly modified version of Helvetica Neue, which Apple also uses in iOS. It takes a little getting used to, but we like it. Some of Apple’s icons have changed too, again to bring them in line with their iOS cousins.
Finally, there’s a new Dark Mode, designed to make your Mac more comfortable to use in low-light conditions. Its effect is currently limited to changing the menu bar, Spotlight, application switcher, and Dock to a dark shade of grey. It’s not perfect; some third-party menu bar items – Evernote, for example – don’t reverse their own colour to a lighter grey and so get lost. Also, you need to invoke Dark Mode manually – you can’t set it to come on automatically whenever, say, the backlight on the keyboard comes on. Notification Center in Mavericks was useful, but at the same time limited. The addition of the Today View adds to that usefulness significantly, as it did in iOS.
Prime position is given to the day and date, but below that, you can drag elements such as the World Clock and Weather into the order you want to position them.
You can remove extensions you may not need (yes Stocks, we’re looking at you), and you can switch Do Not Disturb on and off, making it easy to control when you get your notifications. Of course, the way all this information is presented has been carefully thought out (would you expect anything less?), so instead of just listing your appointments, for example, it says something like ‘The first thing on your Calendar today is…’
Perhaps best of all, though, Today View supports third-party extensions. So if you use a task manager or third-party email app, for example, you may be able to view content from those in the Today View panel.