Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Too many places to click!

What's the problem with tabs (or any other MDI)? I suddenly have two place to click to choose which application to use. We've tried fiing this problem for years. First, when we use mostly SDIs, the computers weren't powerful enough to make this a problem. When it did become a problem, we tried grouping windows together in the same taskbar entry. People hate it. They lost windows all the time. Later, we "solved" this problem by using tabbed interfaces to simplify the taskbar, but we've really only moved the problem.

Like a lot of people, I run 60-70% of my apps in the browser. Maybe more on some days. A lot of these applications are my first choices. It screws with me. Let's say I'm listening to music and I want to change my playlist. Do I go to the taskbar (if I'm listening in Rhythmbox), Go to the notification area (if RB is hidden there), or go to one of my browser tabs, possibly in another browser window (if I'm using Pandora or the like)? I can't train myself because the situation is always different?

I have taskbar buttons and tabs, then I have more tabs inside my tabs for apps like Zoho, and I have the system menu, the application menu, and quite possibly a third menu inside my browser. I can't even remember whether the web page I'm looking at is even in the web browser, or whether it's in Miro or Rhythmbos. Arrrrgghh!

Are a global menu and a tabbed window manager part of the answer? I don't know. What do you think?


  1. The best way to (start) optimizing "icons" is to have A SINGLE TASKBAR with ONE ICON-PER-APPLICATION (like Windows 7 and, previously, MacosX).
    The traybar is USELESS: in Windows 7 if you use, for example, windows live messenger or media player those apps doesn't use TRAY ICON (cool thing!).
    So the best thing to do in order to optimize space is:
    A single panel with a lot of launchers and a sort of "Gnome menu" applet.
    All the "applets" shouldn't be represented by icons, but by "data" (like SHOW DESKTOP or SYSTEM MONITOR). System tray is REDUNDANT. I bet that everyone wants to have his favourite software on Tray Panel and/or in Task Panel. The best way to have all those aspects is "Mixing" all the solutions:
    A wide-flat bar with only icons with some indicators that says "I'm running". A cool "on-mouse-over" menu and a dedicated space for widgets/applets/gadgets/... (like KDE's Desktop)

  2. Errata corrige:

  3. Only a last thing to say, then i'll stop posting 'cause now i'm starting flooding:
    Recently browser developers (Google Chrome) is starting developing a Desktop Notificator. So i think that who wants to be notified when someone comments his post on Facebook or "retweets" wants to leave google chrome opened (in traybar/taskbar) in order to receive those notifications...

  4. What I do:

    1. Use Mozilla Prism to separate the Web Apps.
    2. Use multiple workspaces, and give each a purpose.
    3. Use Gnome Do/Kupfer to launch programmes (and other actions like switching songs).
    4. Keyboard shortcuts are helpful
    5. And a tabbed WM helps :)

    And how is the system tray redundant, 5 of the 7 icons in my system tray should not be associated with "applications".

    BTW, Windows 7 new taskbar is not a improvement, Windows does not have a single process for each programme, and this should be reflected in the UI.

  5. The first thing to do to reduce clutter is to turn the bookmarks toolbar off. Most people don't use it, just as your screenshots show. This is a classic example of a bad default.

  6. The window just shows a default Firefox bookmarks toolbar because I use Chromium.


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