[haiku] Re: Suggestions to change double click on window title behaviour

  • From: Eddy Groen <eddyspeeder@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: haiku@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 17:49:44 +0100

2009/10/30 Johan Aires Rastén <johan@xxxxxxxx>
> I think double click on window title is a bad design

Okay as a cognitive ergonomist, let's take a look at the reasons you carry
in for bad design:

> - It's confusing for new people and when you do it by mistake.

This is because it differs from the standard Windows and Mac OS behavior.
There are numerous discussions on OS News about how Mac OS should change
because it differs from Windows in some respect, or vice versa. Every time
you start using a new operating system with a philosophy that is not
inspired by another you are familiar with, will require you to get used to
it. I personally dislike the behavior of Mac OS you mention about minimizing
a window on double click; I'd rather have it expand to full screen. That
does not make it bad design, it means the philosophy is different. Equally
so I'm not a Windows fan, not because it's bad design, but because I dislike
the philosophy.

I remember when I first started using the BeOS, that indeed I had to get
used to it as well. But as François points out, for users accustomed to this
behavior it is actually kind of useful. So I do concur with the notion that
first-time users can be confused, I would suggest a system message telling
the user: "Your window is now hidden. You do this by clicking on it twice.
You can make it visible again by clicking on the application in the
Deskbar." with option "[] Don't show this again." and button "[OK]".

> - It can't be easily undone.

Application expander. See the system message with the above "possible
solution". The application expander should be regarded as the minimize
functionality under Haiku. I expect people to pick up on that fast enough.

- It's not intuitive. If I'm new to computers there's really no way to
> remotely guess that the window is going to hide if I double click it's title
> bar.

In computers, many things are less intuitive (I assume you are familiar with
the "drag a drive to the trash bin to eject" functionality under the Mac OS.
They become formats, again depending on the philosophy a developer first had
in mind. I am not a true advocate of double-clicking to hide a window, but I
do see the merit in it; it is actually a great way to reduce the amount of
windows (mainly Tracker windows) you have opened at any given time in any
given workspace. That is what this feature is all about.

- Even if most people will eventually adapt to it, it's still not very user
> friendly. You have LMB+drag to move window, LMB click to raise, LMB double
> click to hide, RMB click to lower and Shift+LMB+drag to move tab (maybe
> there are even some more that I haven't figured out yet.. who knows?). But
> if people really dislike decorators that much, why not take it to the
> extreme and remove the zoom and close buttons too! We could set Shift+LMB
> double click to zoom and MMB to close window. Most people would probably
> learn to use it after a while, but would it be user friendly?

- The efficiency savings of double clicking the title compared to clicking
> an icon on the title are microscopic. And you save a few pixels, but if
> they're so valuable then why is the zoom button there?
Okay I think I should read these two arguments combined. I first did not
understand what you were getting at with the first one, but the second one
seems to clarify it. In response to the below argument I will explain what I
assume was Be's view of minimization and the problems that came with it in

- Other OS:es have separate buttons for minimize / maximize. Do you think
> it's *only* because they copy eachother and have legacy UIs to think of,
> or might there actually be a concious design decision behind this?

Philosophy. Note that I am still not convinced about your claim to "bad
design". Do be aware that Jean-Louis Gassée and almost all Be employees at
the time of BeOS' inception just left Apple and that somehow they therefore
must have consciously ignored the already existent minimize feature in
MacOS. Looking back at that time, minimizing was not fantastic under Mac OS
and the pre-Windows 9x series... let's not go there.

So I can understand that they said: "minimization is not the future, we're
going for a different philosophy altogether". They did that by taking the
approach that you have multiple workspaces in which you can open everything
without minimizing, and that *IF* you somehow do wish to get some windows
out of your sight, you just double-click it. Actually, I call that GOOD
DESIGN as opposed to your claims to bad design. They thought it through and
effectively dealt with a usability issue that was quite persistent at that

By now, even with the Dock, minimization under OSX still is bad (I mentioned
my dislike of it above) and Spaces integration is not all that: if I had
opened a window in Space1, I minimize it and I click on the minimized icon
in Space2, it throws me back to Space1. In BeOS, if you hide a window and
click on it from the Application Expander, it'll open there. Minimization
under Windows has become default behavior, and you can see that it slows the
introduction of workspaces under Windows. BeOS logically strongly differed
from these approaches that were later on changed to become more

Now to answer your question why they then still have minimize buttons: as I
said above, many things less intuitive become standard formats. Microsoft
cannot throw minimizing out of the door because it's standard practice for
their users. Apple discourages minimizing and offers great features like
Exposé to keep your window management in one Space at least a bit doable.
BeOS has the double-click feature and encourages workspaces.

A last note on bad design: you have to be very careful with this term in
respect to systems design:

1. Errors committed by users because they are used to a different philosophy
cannot be attributed to bad design. If I move from Word 2000 to Word 2007
and I spend many minutes figuring out where I can find something that used
to be so very simple for me, is it bad design? No, it is a different
approach. Microsoft's ribbon design is a rethinking of their word processing
environment, much like hiding windows under BeOS was a rethinking of the
window management environment.

2. Window management procedures will have to be learnt. Sadly, many people
today assert that everything that requires you to learn new procedures
(often through a manual) is "bad design". However, this is not true either.
If, after having learnt the proper procedure, something consistently goes
wrong because the procedure is too long (lapses), too fuzzy (slips), too
counterintuitive (violations) or too error-prone (mistakes), then it is bad
design. Here, mistakes are made because the expectation is different, where
you assert that the proper procedure has not been effectively learnt. Thus,
it is not bad design.

Conclusion: based on Johan's remarks, I do suggest implementing a system
message (see above with "possible solution"). This would nip the problem in
the bud, explaining the difference in philosophy for new users.


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