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I recently changed from a Windows laptop to a MacBook Pro for my main machine. I have always been familiar with OS X because others in the office use it and I test Swing applications on OS X for customers.

The transition to OS X on my primary machine has been relatively painless. For the most part the UI is elegant, aesthetically pleasing and provides a great user experience. I also really like having a bash shell handy. That being said, there are aspects of the UI that are (gasp!) not as evolved as Windows. My primary beef is the legacy menu system. The fact that menus appear only at the top of the primary monitor is plainly poor user interface design. Its bad enough that the menus are potentially far away from the application to which they belong on a single large screen, but with multiple screens the problem becomes even worse. When an application is running on my second monitor and I have to go all the way back to the top of my main monitor to select the application's menu items I am not a happy monkey. Keeping related UI elements in close proximity is UX design 101. Am I the only one bothered by this? I'm surprised more people aren't screaming bloody murder.

Another upsetting problem is the fact that there is no way, as far as I can tell, to get the path of a directory from a window displaying its contents. I do this frequently on other desktop operating systems when I am going back and forth between the desktop and a shell window. You can control-click on an item within the window and select "Get Info" to see the item's path, but the text can't be copied. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I expected Apple to be two steps ahead in all aspects of the desktop UI. I was disappointed to find that this is often not the case.


Ikayzo - Design • Build • Localize | Web • Desktop • Mobile

Views: 43

Tags: Apple, OS X, UI, Windows, desktop, menus

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on September 13, 2008 at 3:58pm
Exactly! On the upside, its forced me to memorize about a hundred IntelliJ IDEA and Photoshop keystrokes :-)
Comment by Truman Leung on September 13, 2008 at 3:10pm
Now that I've made the switch to a 15" Macbook Pro, I've installed and use MAMP. I also just got a second monitor to go with my MBP positioned next to it with a laptop arm. Now I see what you mean, Dan. When I'm working on the second monitor, I have to go ALL the way over to the MBP screen to get to the menu. If only I could access the menu using keyboard shortcuts (like you can in Windows)!
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 15, 2008 at 7:54pm
Daniel, didn't mean to thread jack but I did not want anyones response to be unanswered.

No worries John. There is only so much that can be said about menu location :-) You are posting valuable info.
Comment by John D. Begonia Jr. on June 15, 2008 at 7:48pm
Truman, if you purchase MAMP 1.7.1 Pro there is an option to use php 4 ,and MySQL 4 if you need to. I am not a pro at web design but I bought a copy because one of my personal goals, was to design web pages as source for extra-income. I found this application to be quite helpful especially for Novice users.

P.S. Daniel, didn't mean to thread jack but I did not want anyones response to be unanswered.

Aloha!
Comment by Truman Leung on June 15, 2008 at 2:10pm
There is a way to install PHP and MySQL by way of MAMP.
Thanks for the comments, guys, on MAMP. Unfortunately, my app doesn't use MySQL 5, which is what MAMP includes. Instead it uses MySQL version 4. It's an old app that dates back to 2002. I haven't been motivated yet to port the app to version 5. And I'm not comfortable compiling MySQL myself. So I guess I'm stuck on a windows machine for now.
Comment by JW Guillaume on June 15, 2008 at 9:41am
There is a way to install PHP and MySQL by way of MAMP.
That might be the best way.
I had installed them separately and then I wanted to reinstall due to problems I noticed the installer had different ideas of where some files should go.
Comment by John D. Begonia Jr. on June 14, 2008 at 9:43am
If Not, then that might be something to suggest to apple, I'm sure that is a feature that would improve many OS X users experience.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 14, 2008 at 9:40am
Thats an interesting idea. I'll have to investigate.
Comment by John D. Begonia Jr. on June 14, 2008 at 9:27am
Daniel, Is there not a way to setup spaces to separate monitors? Would be kinda interesting if it could be done, at least then you would not have to go across the board just to get to the menu...
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 13, 2008 at 3:41pm
Hi Truman & John

Truman: Hey Dan, I can sure sympathize with you. I own an iMac which I purchased when I first tried to transition to Mac OSX in 2005. But I couldn't do it, primarily because I was unable to install PHP4 and MySQL4 on the Mac. Instead I purchased a Dell w/ WinXP. I've been tempted to get a MacBookPro. But sticking with what works might be wiser.

I agree. I'm more for function than form (although its nice to have both.) That being said, all the tools and apps I use run well on OS X (Eclipse / Flex Builder, PostgreSQL, Java apps and tools, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) The menus aren't a deal breaker but they are certainly a disappointment. I'd really like to see Apple concede that having the menus in the window is simply better design. Windows got this one right, just as they did for menus being click-click rather than click-drag like the pre-OS 9 Mac menus.

John: Daniel, I personaly don't mind the menus, as a matter a fact I like the simplicity when it comes to the UI.

I'm all for simplicity, but I don't understand how having the menu detached from the application window, and potentially even located on a different monitor is simpler than having the menu attached to the application. I don't think these are equal but different approaches. The former is, in my opinion, simply bad design. I would never spread an application's UI across multiple monitors for no reason. This is an extremely difficult design decision to defend.

John: I recently switched from the windows platform and I can honeslty say I find the OS X evironment to be more pleasing.

In general, I agree. The menus wouldn't bother me if the whole desktop experience was bad. In that case I would simply ignore it. :-)

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