Ask Apple for these (please!)

andypeter

Registered
Hi everybody, hope you're having fun with the Public Beta, sorry if you're not.

I've been talking with a group of UK Mac users about what simple features Apple could add to Mac OS X, that they would actually be likely to add (rather than a an obscure wish list that they will dismiss out
of hand). We've come up with the following, and I would love it if other mac users who thought the same way would let apple know through the OS X feedback page on apple.com. The aim is to post very politely
and simply to them, and let them know that these ideas are widely supported (I hope they are).

i) Bring back spring loaded folders. They are indispensible to lots of us; a simple feature that really helps out ease of use and workflow, and wouldn't conflict as far as I can see with any of the new GUI
conventions or methods.

ii) In the dock, shade the icon of the foreground app. In testing, users have been unable to distinguish what app they are in from the menu bar title alone. The triangles to show running apps work fine, but
extra feedback about which is the foreground app would be very handy. There already exists a routine to do this, because when you use cmd-tab to app switch, the app icons shade as you tab through them.

iii) Allow us to change the accent colours from blue or graphite to any we choose. This again is possible because people have done it. These kind of touches bring that personalised feeling to the mac, which OS X
Public Beta seems to be lacking a little.

They don't seem like huge features, but little touches add up and make the difference between an ok GUI and an insanely great GUI.

There were other features that would be nice as well, but the aim is to be realistic about what Apple are likely to respond to and change/include.

Personally I would love to see windowshade return. Apple will probably not do that because it would require another GUI widget on the title bar of a window. I could live with just double clicking the bar to windowshade, but I am dubious about Apple implementing that.
Windowshade is great for a quick view of what is behind a window without minimising. An alternate would be to breifly make the window transparent.
Anyway, if anyone supports the feature suggestions above, please let Apple know, and tell your friends and co users to do the same.

Hopefully Apple will listen.

Cheers,

The North
 

wmoss

Registered
Spring loaded folders - I liked these in OS 9, but I haven't really felt their absence in Mac OS X because I've gotten out of the habit of throwing stuff on the desktop. I haven't tried this, but if dropping stuff on the big Finder buttons worked, that'd be helpful.

Shaded current app - I would like to see this one. Seems like a natural thing to do.

Custom Hilight Colors - I don't think this will happen without a _reason_ other than simple aesthetics being given. Either due to marketing pressures or user interface designers, I think they are going to stick with blue. My guess is because it's a very calm, non-computerish color. Indeed the special effects guys in the Matrix did a lot of work to remove the color blue from as much of the matrix scenes as possible to give it a bleaker, sterile, computerish feel. Blue seems to be Apple's color for now.

Windowshade - I'm ambivalent about whether it returns or not. It was only useful to me for reading something that was right behind it and then immediately opening it back up again. Since all the titlebars were in almost the exact same place, it was hard to deal with if you brought other windows to the front (to scroll for example) and then needed to unshade the first window. I'd end up dragging a bunch of Windows about 20 pixels diagonally from each other to try and find the one I was looking for. Grrr.


A few of suggestions that I'd like:

Movable focus - In Java apps and MS Windows, it's possible to control almost all of the user interface from the keyboard. Part of this comes from being able to use a key to change the "default" button or input area. It'd be nice to be able to move the "pulsing blue button hilight" to different buttons and sliders just by tabbing.

Better Drag & Drop - Scrapbook is gone. The NeXT shelf is gone. They try to get you not to use the desktop if possible. How are we supposed to organize and easilly access our clipping files? The dock is the answer I suppose, but I'd like a separate app that's easy to drag into, search on, and drag out of.

Terminal - I know that it's included in the public beta, but I think that people should say "Thanks" and encourage them to keep it in.
 

red_pages

Registered
I don't see why people can't tell what app they are running by looking at the first item in the menubar. It is in bold. Of course, it is on the opposite side from OS9, so it will probably take people a little time to adjust. I agree with the other two suggestions though. It seems especially silly that we aren't able to choose the accent color when the functionality is already built in and we were able to do it in OS9. I have submitted to Apple a feedback on that and the spring loaded folders as you requested.
 

andypeter

Registered
Originally posted by Lister
If they didn't keep the terminal I would drop Apple like a hot potato!
-Lister
Too right! I need that terminal, for telnet into my news server if nothing else. It is the fastest telnet I have seen so far across mac or windows platforms. I like it just as it is thankyou Apple.

 

Pascal

Official visitor
The feature I see missing the most in OS X is definitely the folder tabs. Ever since this was introduced in the Finder, every single launcher I had disappeared and stuff that used to land on my desktop did not anymore : I had an easily accessible storage space.

The other thing I see as MIA, is the file tree that I always added to the Apple menu (via an alias of the main hard drive) : ever since the first days of System 7, I have been using the Apple menu as a Start menu (thanks to the Now Utilities, then the Apple Menu CP). (BTW, MS did not even invent anything new there : System 7 appeared in 1991, if I remember well ! ;)) One could always argue that this file tree can be easily replaced by the Computer button in the new desktop, especially in the browser view, and I would probably agree. Aside from that, the Apple menu was never really useful to me.
If they didn't keep the terminal I would drop Apple like a hot potato!
I would not see why they would make it disappear : if it is there in the PB, I believe it will still be there in the final version. My understanding is that OS X, from now on, will keep gaining features, not losing some.

I don't understand why spring loaded folders and drag & drop clippings could not be implemented : they should be. These two options are a big plus of Mac OS.

The shaded active app is a great idea.

Custom accent colours and other means of Desktop customising should be kept. I just cannot stand the blue anymore : Mac OS 7 had a blueish tone since the beggining, Mac OS 8 icons had a compulsory blue colour, the standard Mac OS desktop and the Mac logo is blue, the standard Windows colour scheme is blue... Everything in the computer world is blue nowadays. Now don't misunderstand me : I like blue (after all, its my country's colour), but as they say : variety is the spice of life ! Let me have tangerine accents on my desktop if I feel like it !!!

As a final word : the dock could be hugely improved if click-and-holding on an application icon would reveal a menu of all the windows (active documents) associated with that app. That would minimise the window juggling required to find the desired one...
 

andypeter

Registered
Originally posted by Pascal
The feature I see missing the most in OS X is definitely the folder tabs. Ever since this was introduced in the Finder, every single launcher I had disappeared and stuff that used to land on my desktop did not anymore : I had an easily accessible storage space.

Try Drop Drawers (sorry no URL, try carbontracker.com)
It is 10x more configurable than popups, not so stable yet (just carbonised I think). I don't miss popups yet, odd cos my desktop in OS 9 has about ten all the way across the screen.


As a final word : the dock could be hugely improved if click-and-holding on an application icon would reveal a menu of all the windows (active documents) associated with that app. That would minimise the window juggling required to find the desired one...
Yeah, totally. I forget to say in my original post that they should implement something like that. alt-click would do just as well. alt-click on document in the doc should un-minimise all other associated documents as well (alt-click on minimise genies all docs belonging to that app).

cheers,

andy
 

eVo

Registered
One minor feature I'd like to see and I hope others would help me tell Apple, is that in column view, have the ability to press 'home' on the keyboard to go back to the root of your computer when in a deep root so you don't have to scroll. And be able to press 'end' to go back to the end of the root.
 

rw

Registered
I think it's good to remind Apple that we miss these little features. These are precisely what made Mac of us in the first place.

Another old feature that's missing in OS X is Labels. I guess most people didn't use them, but I found them invaluable.
 

wmoss

Registered
Hierarchical Menus - I think that Apple would hear a lot fewer crys of "Bring back the Apple menu!" if they made the menus items in the "Go" menu Hierarchical and revealed all of the sub-folders in each of these items. It'd also help people in general get a better grasp of what the directory structure is like in these parts. The novice users still have the big buttons in the Finder window navigation bars (in case they are confused by hierarchical menus) but for the power users, it'd be a nice shortcut. Maybe Apple will go even further and make menus be drag targets... very non-standard to Mac OS 9 users, but not any more or less intuitive than having the Dock be a drag target.

The "little" features - There are absolutely zillions of these things. Press command+UpArrow to do this, press Command+Shift+Right arrow to do that. There were tons of them and I never knew them all. They weren't documented very well, weren't easy to learn as a new user, and not all that easy to remember if you didn't do them repeatedly yourself. I got very angry at first because some of these power key sequences I'd ingrained in my fingers didn't do anything when I instinctively did them in Mac OS X. Some of them I've found still work. Some don't. But things were clearly rethought to be very logical and consistent and above all, pretty darn well documented for a beta. My gut instinct is to agree that it will be a pain to relearn the ingrained sequences, but if Apple's done a good job at rethinking them then I'll be happy to relearn them if it's the LAST time I'll have to relearn them.

Terminal - I'm just nervous that Apple will fall under the pressure of the "keep it simple stupid" interface luddites demanding that we should be saved from ourselves and the terminal should be removed. Apple does seem to waver a great deal on this issue about how much "under the hood" power to include and seeing that this is a public beta they probably thought it'd be okay to include a way to at least "pop the hood" with the terminal program. But if they get bad feedback from users who are afraid of it, or see a lot of articles from programmers who tell users "To install our app, go to terminal and type ..." instead of putting in real installers then it's quite possible that they'll reconsider putting this in the release version. If you have no feelings about terminal, don't bother. If you like it a lot, then I'd encourage you to tell Apple this. I'm almost certain there will be others telling Apple that it should be removed.
 

rw

Registered
Maybe Terminal could be included in an "Extras" folder on the installation CD, but not be installed by default. Then people who want it could easily get it, but software companies would still have to write installers for their products (because most users wouldn't have Terminal or know what it was).
 

dewme5

Registered
Come on now. This is a Beta version right. The little things are going to come. Starting out with the basics and building a stable platform is what Apple is after here. Adding small items at this point is sure to complicate things just a tad. With out them, this is going to be much easier to troubleshoot, get in good working order, and then add the code they have had working for quite some time now.

Just as I'm sure they didn't add some aspects into the PB. Sure you can get in behind the system, and change what you want, but in the end, that's not exactly the help Apple is looking for. Sure they can document what you think is nifty or cool. PB is a beta, not finished form, so Apple was pretty much asking for your help to make the PB they released into a finished product. If we stick to that portion, maybe osX will be out on time, and it's sure to have all the things you want. (spring folders, and shading, and nice pastels or whatever.)
 

Pascal

Official visitor
That's right : nobody is complaining ! All we are trying to say here is : these are the thing we would not want to see missing in the "final beta" ;)
 

Eid

Registered
I am definately for the terminal being available to those of us who want it. I know that I am in the minority here, but for me the ability to open a terminal window and use all the unix commands is great. It has everything I have wanted, direct access to telnet, ftp (yes you can type ftp ftp.myhost.com though I suggest reading the man to learn the commands) ping etc, emacs and many others! I want to the terminal, I just dont want to be forced to use it!
 

LuckyJack

Registered
I like the dock, but wish I could make it go away sometimes... like when I'm trying to use a classic app like Word. While I like having the clock there and visible almost all the time, I do wish I could just make it disappear temporarialy.
 

gEE thrEE

Registered
Originally posted by LuckyJack
I like the dock, but wish I could make it go away sometimes... like when I'm trying to use a classic app like Word. While I like having the clock there and visible almost all the time, I do wish I could just make it disappear temporarialy.
You can. There's an option to hide the dock (kinda like Win95/98/ME/blahblahblah). It's in the desktop and finder preferences. :)
 

Hobeaux

Registered
Originally posted by red_pages
I don't see why people can't tell what app they are running by looking at the first item in the menubar. It is in bold.
true, but imagine this senario: you have a bunch of apps and documents open and you are busily closing them for one reason or another. you click on an app/document and quit it. what app are you in now?

oh yes, look up away from the doc and view the menubar. look back down into the doc, and click on a new one and kill it. look back up into the menu...

if darkening the icons is too unaesthetic, then have it rise out of the dock (similar to the bouncing app) to signify that it's in use.
 
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