OSX User Interface – Kickin it Like Harry Potter!

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If your desktop is like mine, you have windows on top of windows. So you do your best to have windows sticking out, just a bit so you can click on the window you want.

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However, you don’t want to click the “close” button! Think about it: how many times have you clicked on a background window to switch to it and accidentally closed it, or launched a new email, or switched the view in that window — when all you wanted to do was to get to that app?

Apple, I know you have ways to get to the program…. but they suck:

  • Alt-tab is too slow unless the app is the next app in the list. And if I pass the icon, I either have to go all the way around or play finger twister with shift-alt-tab!
  • Mission Control is fine, but invoking it on a mouse is doesn’t feel right: the mouse jitters, trying to two finger tap twice, but not click is like a little game of DDR for your right hand. The three finger swipe works well, but it means moving the hands off the keyboard mouse combo.
  • Dock? Come on! I don’t want to have to try to find the icon. I just want to get to the program that’s right there (without closing it)!

And sometimes, you aren’t sure which app is sticking out beneath your active app: is that bar for Mail or Finder?

So, how about this Apple: you already allow scrolling in apps that don’t have focus, how about when the mouse is over a background window, you have that window slide out a bit, or have a little tab appear (that doesn’t close, or do anything in that app) to let you select that app? Or both:

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It would be a bit like the group photos in Harry Potter where people rearrange themselves so you can see who is in the back row. If I move over the cursor over an bottom app, it moves out from under the top app to provide a better view. If I want the app, I click the tab (or some other “white space”), that doesn’t close the app, or launch an email, or anything else, other than letting me select the app. How about it?