GUI Suggestions (screenshot)


I've been doing a lot of reading people's thoughts on OSX, and it's new interface. For the most part, I am quite happy with everything that Apple has done, but there are a couple of things that I personally feel should be addressed. I've begun to address these concerns at the link below.

I'm not totally finished with this (I'm definitely going to make it a bit smaller now that I'm viewing if from my computer at home), and when I'm finished with it I'm going to send this URL to Apple. What I'd like to do is see if I can address any of your thoughts as well.

Let me know what you think (so far).
To some extent, I don't think that apple should change everything for the sake of just changing it. I love the dock, it's great, but why loose the apple menu? it doesn't make any sense to me. They're trying to make the dock do far too much, especially for power users. As far as I'm concerned, I think they should keep the dock as it is, only make the hidden icon apps slightly more translucent, and keep the apple menu. If you look at it, the "Go" menu that is on the desktop is basically the apple menu, in a very limited state. As for the app menu, moving back over to the left allows the user to recognize which program they have running, with either just the icon, or the icon and it's name (just like it is in OS9). OSX will obviously be more than just OS9 with an "aqua" theme, but I don't think that Apple should change everything that makes them "different". If you haven't read this article, go and read it. Some excellent points are made about how the interface should, and shouldn't be.
They arent changing things just for the sake of change; with OSX/aqua Apple is 'cleaning out' all the clutter that's built up around MacOS over the past 15 years. And it's about time IMO. The Apple menu is just hideous - too hard to add things to, you cant drop-open files with it, it's stuck in one sort order... in 10 years of using macs about all i've ever used it for is opening control panels. And I should also point out that virtually everything that's been added to the interface since system 7 has actually been shareware control panels that Apple's bought the rights to.

Yes, there needs to be more user control over the dock. Personally I think Apple should allow user-created docks, make them movable to the sides of the screen, and also give the dock tabs, ala dragthing. I gotta do a screenshot of my own one of these days ;) In any case, remember - the Dock is an application and could easily be replaced with something else. Apple just needs to make API hooks available, which I'm confident they'll do.

There are some huge changes Apple can make to the interface; for example Copland had a feature where you could save searches and attach them to folders, so that you could have, say, a folder that would automatically show every HTML file you've modified in the past 2 days. Basically anything you can search for in sherlock could be automatically shown in a finder window. I'd much prefer Apple work on adding this to OSX. That search field in finder windows that disappeared after DP4 is tantalizing in this respect.

I have read the ars technica article, and he makes some very good points, but notice his criticism is directed toward improving what's already there, not advocating that apple bring back the apple menu/control strip/application switcher/etc. from OS9, which just isn't gonna happen.

In any case, I gotta get back to work. More later if I think of it ;)
One thing that gets me with MacOS X is the use of the desktop, or rather the lack of it. I quite liked the way that everything you needed was available on the desktop, like the drives and wastebasket. Maybe someone will come up with a patch that will allow this functionality to come back?
you can make aliases to your HD volumes on the desktop, and can set removable drives to show on the desktop in preferences. i also remember reading about some hack to make the trash show on the desktop either on macintouch or macfixit
oh, I definitely agree with all of you points, and don't get me wrong, I definitely don't want to see the application switcher / control strip / apple menu of OS9 ever again. I guess my main problem is that I feel Apple is putting too much weight on the dock as a "do everything" solution, 'cause I don't think that it will live up to that. Although I am curious to see how the "community" will hack the system, it should be interesting.

Okay, it looks like you've made the Apple Menu a "drag and drop" target.

How do you add something to the Apple menu?
How do you remove something from the Apple menu?
Is this consistent with the behavior of other menus?

You've move the contents of the old System menu to the far right where the application menu in OS 9 used to be.

Why? It may be "traditional" but it's certainly not easier or quicker to access.

Where does the "Docs" button take you? Is this customizable or is this a fixed folder like Home or Applications?

Why is Internet Explorer greyed out in the dock? Is it non-selectable? It looks like it's running and it has a minimized document in the dock as well. Why can't it be selected?

The function of command keys is pretty severely constrained. In addition to the items in the Application menu, the things in the Apple menu (The 6 folder numbers, go to folder, and connect to server) this pretty quickly eliminates a lot of the command key shortcuts I use in other apps. Why have these be system wide shortcuts?
ok heres a couple things i whipped up in photoshop:

userdock is a user created dock, set to show names always, sized down to small icon size. the icons would switch sides to always stick to the side of the screen.

dockscreen is a hierarchal extension of the dock - clicking the names in the row along the bottom would replace the dock's contents with whatever was configured under that layer. perhaps dragging a folder down here could add its contents to a new layer.

i think it extends simply but usefully the dock we have now, without going off on tangents about apple menus & popup folders.

What you refer to as "clutter" is the result of years of refinement from usage and feedback from users over 15 years of development. It's like calling ABS brakes, safety glass, and airbags "clutter" that should be eliminated in a newly-designed car.

If there are problems with the Apple menu, fine, add options to sort, use drag-and-drop, etc. The answer isn't to yank it! People love the Apple menu an application switcher, there has been few complaints. To simply remove it in X is an insult.

To paraphrase a real conversation I had with a friend:

Me: Take a look at this new Aqua GUI...

Friend: Where's the Apple menu?

Me: It's gone. But check out this cool new genie effect...

Friend: You mean there's NO APPLE MENU!?!

Me: Yah. But look at the dock - you can do everything in the dock! See how it grows and shrinks?

Friend: But I like the Apple Menu!

Me: And it has full memory protection and pre-emptive multitasking...

Friend: I want my Apple Menu!


You get the idea.

We assume that OS X has learned from the Mac OS over the years instead of starting with a clean fresh slate to allow for clean fresh mistakes that were made years ago - all over again.
So far i like just about everything. Apple menu... no big loss.

And a "new window" option in the toolbar would be cool.

What you refer to as "clutter" is the result of years of refinement from usage and feedback from users over 15 years of development.

That's precisely what it is not. First of all, if we're talking about a hierarchal apple menu here, that was only added in 1994 with System 7.5, a bit over 5 years ago. Control Strip, WindowShade and the menubar clock were added around the same time. What happened was Apple had basically killed System 7 in anticipation of having Copland ready in 95-96. When it became obvious that wasn't happening, Apple looked around, saw that many users had installed MenuChoice, SuperClock & WindowShade, bought those up, included MacTCP in the standard install & called it 7.5. These utilities didn't exist because they were designed into MacOS as solutions to a particular problem. They were written because it was a fairly easy hack to patch the Menu Manager to display hierarchal menus for folders in Apple Menu Items, stick a clock on the right side of the menu bar, etc.

It's like calling ABS brakes, safety glass, and airbags "clutter" that should be eliminated in a newly-designed car.
No, it's like saying a finely turned polished brass crank & choke lever should be left off a car with an electric starter & fuel injection.

We assume that OS X has learned from the Mac OS over the years instead of starting with a clean fresh slate to allow for clean fresh mistakes that were made years ago - all over again.
The conditions that applied for much of the evolution of MacOS - small, b+w screens, no HD, single or cooperative tasking OS, relatively slow hardware - they no longer apply. It's time to start fresh.
oh i forgot to say, in my userdock screenshot at the names would be hidden until the user moused over the icons; then the names would all snap out at once. during dock magnification the names would shift over & the translucent area would grow & shrink to accomodate. Docks on the left & right sides would respect the bottom dock's space and not grow down far enough to potentially block it.

and yes, i know the icons are sideways ;)

[Edited by endian on 10-13-2000 at 06:50 PM]
Let me clarify what I was thinking.....


the apple menu is just the "Go" menu. Plain and simple. The only difference is that you can drag items into it, and organize them as you want. This allows you to access all your applications from any program without having to click to the desktop and pressing cmd+4, or going through the "go" menu. (I understand that the dock can do this now, but I don't think it's as flexible. Hear me out...) What I had imagined was a similar animation effect as the dock has when you drag an item into it, the icons around it move apart gracefully. This would be for the "Documents" folder, as well as the "Favorites" folder. There would also be a simple option in the prefs that would:

a) Mimic the specific sections with appropriate alias in the menu. Let me explain. If you have 10 applications and 2 folders in your "Applications" folder, there would be 10 application alias' and 2 folder alias' under the menu. This way you don't have to update it, it does it for you. It doesn't have to be organized my just name, but also date, or frequency of use.
b) In addition, if you prefer, you could also have it set so there aren't any alias' in the menu at all, and you can drag whichever ones you want up into it. Dragging is done ala spring loaded folders

As for the other sections, the would all be the same as the "Go" menu is now.


I agree that the "Quit" function should be removed and most likely placed under the "File" menu as it is now. I think that it should be placed on the right, rather then the left is this;

a) It allows you to see what program you are currently using. The same as OS9.
b) Like this, you are able to use an icon, or and icon and the program name and maintain the location of the main navigation. The same as OS9.
b) It allows you hide the application, or the others and show all. The same as OS9.


What possible reason would you have for not putting the time in a visible, consistent location, where it is easily read at a glance? Exactly. I like the transparent "floating" clock, but only as an option. I think that it'll get in the way if it's not placed somewhere.


Now I really like the dock, I just think that it's been put in a role to do too much. I wouldn't do much to it, other than separating the running applications from the alias', and making it visible which are hidden (hence the transparent IE logo). Additionally, I like what endian proposed in his layout. Having the ability to have a hierarchy in the dock is a great idea. I wouldn't mind having that implemented at all. Additionally, being able to have the dock "docked" (sorry) to either side of the page is a must (although, I wouldn't put the icons sideways).

Basically, I don't believe that Apple has to feel as though they have to start fresh. The main flaws in the current MacOS have been addressed with the memory, and multi-tasking improvements that are in OSX. Everything else just has to be "Improved" upon, not removed.
although, I wouldn't put the icons sideways
I hope Apple wouldn't either! I only did it 'cause I was too lazy to rotate them all individually, I probably should have said that originally.

Now that I think about it, it might make some sense to put the "apple menu" in right corner, and bring the application menu back to the left.....
Hello all !

As for myself, I would like to see the Apple menu back. To those of you that do not like it, I say : fine, don't use it ! But not using it does not mean it is not usable to others. The Apple menu has been my "Start menu" ever since 1991 (thanks to the Now Utilities). Would I lose my start menu, I would be forced to become very unefficient. The Mac OS must remain usable by every one.

I am not allergic to the new application menu, however. I think that the idea of a quit menu under an application-centric menu heading is a refreshing idea. It is so logical, one wonders why it had not been done before ! After all, one does not quit a file, one quits an app. As for the file, one simply closes it.

So I would envision the menu bar like this :

(Apple icon) (Application icon) File Edit ...

I would leave the right side of the menu bar empty, save maybe for a clock. Puting something on the right side of the menu bar does not make any sense, especially when one sees the size of today's monitor. (Unless of course they create a frequent mousing mile program. ;) ) And it would allow for a highly adaptable menu ordering (left-to-right or right-to-left), depending on your language's script.

The dock could become a great switcher : clicking and holding on an application icon should bring a menu of all the windows associated with that app. No more fussing about to identify which iconised view represents the desired window one is looking for.

And, for Pete's sake, remove that centered useless Apple logo ! That's clutter !!!
What are you all talking about? The same function as the apple menu is build right in use the "favorites" not only does it offer better features (it's under app menu) but it is just like apple menu (duh.)