Monday, January 5, 2004

UI Habits

John Gruber discusses some old UI habits that give people trouble with Mac OS X. These examples don’t particularly affect me as habits. That is, I don’t accidentally click the desktop to activate the Finder, and I never used the Finder’s keyboard shortcut for creating aliases. However, they do point to some things about Mac OS X that could be improved.

I still think Mac OS X should combine the window-by-window and app-by-app layering policies to get the best of both worlds. Clicking on a window with a modifier key (not Option or Command; they already mean other things) held down should activate the app.

How many OS X users actually minimize windows to the Dock? Not many, I would guess.

I don’t think Apple needed to steal Command-H for hiding the current application, given that we already have the more expressive Option-click.

Using Put Away with items on the trash or desktop…those were the days.

That proxy icons (easily identified by their poofability) don’t behave like normal icons has long been a problem. However, as to the specific example of Script Editor, you can drag an application’s Dock icon onto Script Editor’s Dock icon if you hold down Command-Option. I do that all the time with Script Debugger.

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Update: it's not necessary to hold down Command-Option, just Command. This temporarily changes the Dock icon from a proxy to the real file that the proxy represents.

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