When you design a web app, Do you take into consideration the UI differences of OS such as mac environment?

Are there any parts from the HGI of the OS such controls location, terminology,dialog window come into consideration?

I would appreciate any pointers to experiences/screenshots of such apps, thanks.

  • Are you asking if people will take minor browser differences into consideration while developing an app?
    – Mayo
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 3:13
  • yes. the main issue is the OS in which the browser functions.
    – ron
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 14:15

3 Answers 3


One significant consideration is that scrollbars are typically hidden in Mac OS X. So, for example, you may want to provide additional hints to the users for views that are scrollable.

Another consideration is the availability of smart-zoom in Safari web browser. Your testing should include ensuring the correct positioning of elements when users perform the two-fingers double-tap gesture.


If, for some reason, you know that a significant portion of your users will be using Safari for Mac, then it might be okay to design for that specific browser. In general though, it's a pretty universally agreed upon best practice to not design for a browser (unless it's something like a browser-specific extension).

A few things to consider:

  1. You never know where your users are coming from. Terminology is generally pretty OS-independent and users will usually have a passing familiarity with their OS and its UI idioms.

  2. Things change. If you reference control location or the browser chrome in general, your UI might be horribly confusing in the future.

  3. Trying to emulate the native OS look and feel in a web page will almost always be a sub-par experience. The one exception that I can think of is cross-platform HTML hybrid app frameworks like Ionic, but they put a lot of work into optimizing their emulations of native UI constructs.

  • My reference are CRM`s, such as SalesForce which is mainly desktop use. What in terms of the logical design would you take into consideration?
    – ron
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 7:01

I think you should consider the fact that mobile devices are driving user interfaces and often the evolution of the desktop user experience as well.
This because the big market players realise that users spend more time looking and interacting with their mobile handset more then their desktop. Apple and Microsoft recent efforts are into blending their desktop OS and their mobile OS. OS X icons and UI elements are influenced by iOS.

My proposition is to avoid to recreate the current look and feel of OS X but to capture the general direction of latest mobile device elements, such as:

  • shadeless pastel colours
  • web-font icons
  • sans-serif fonts
  • navigation system that breaks the historical scroll down approach
I would not stick to specific iOS or OS X solutions but I would blend between Android and iOS. Windows OS is still going through turbulent changes and we should wait for Win 10 to stabilise before bring him into the blending schema.

Although blending styles means apply some democracy to your design approach, do not forget that you will be the first client and consumer of your interface. Forget about listening everyone advice (mine included), be a tyrant in your first approach and then soften up and adapt to the reactions of your pears.
If you start listening to too many inputs in front of a white canvas you risk to collect to many capricious point of views.

  • What do you mean by "navigation system that breaks the historical scroll down approach" ?
    – ron
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 7:18
  • it simply means that browser have been built to display textual information from left to right (or right to left) and from top to bottom. Doing layouts and paging with html and css are carrying over this implicit "restriction". That's why to design left to right sliding pages is more challenging (without frameworks) than letting the full content to flow down as in a papyrus scroll. Letting content to fill visual space as a waterfall it might be suitable for certain situations. For other situations you might consider to "break" this flow.
    – MFAL
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 19:52
  • thanks, maybe im conservative, but for enterprise systems that uses the web browser, isnt Historic scroll pretty much the default? more importantly, Would you day it a common thing in mac OS?
    – ron
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 9:14
  • Ergonomic solutions also means to put your user in a comfortable spot. If you perceive your user to be more comfortable using the vertical scroll then go for it. What is historical used might make them more comfortable at first. In my experience I got longer term appreciations for solutions that did not took into account what environment the user was into (enterprise or government) but how he could achieve his daily repetitive tasks more intuitively, easier and faster.
    – MFAL
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 19:52

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