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Friday, November 26, 2004

Bad window furniture positioning in Windows

Still on the topic of Windows' windows close icons (is anyone else beginning to see why I dislike the use of the generic term Windows as a name for an operating system?!) I often find myself getting frustrated at how close the potentially destructive close icon is to the relatively harmless maximise icon.

One pixel's grace on the close icon's left hand side (Windows XP 'classic' mode) is not enough, Microsoft designers!

Whilst it could be perceived as useful or neat to have all the window furniture grouped into one part of the window's title area, I favour the arrangment of some alternative OS desktops' window furniture.

On RISC OS there is a close icon and a 'back' icon (which sends the window to the back of the window stack - very useful when you come to think about it) on the left hand side of the title bar. Both of these are potentially destructive actions, as you lose the window you were working on, although obviously sending a window to the back of the stack just hides it from view rather than actually deleting it.

On the opposite side of the window's title bar are the iconise (minimise to an icon on the desktop) and toggle size (full height/user-defined window size) buttons. Both of these are non-destructive, non-intrusive actions as they can easily be reversed by clicking on the icon again as they're toggles.

This organisation allows the user to separate dangerous destructive tasks mentally and spatially from less dangerous tasks so there's less chance of an accident happening if a user was reaching for 'maximise' and hit 'close' instead.


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    By Blogger AURELIO, at 26 November 2008 at 09:54  

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