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The Dock "floor" is the worst UI idea Apple has ever had

post #1 of 195
Thread Starter 
OK.

So: the translucent menu bar doesn't bother me that much, I'll wait and see if it works for me.

The reflective floor on the Dock, on the other hand, is a grotesque aberration that must be done away with.

I realize Apple gets accused of functionless "eye candy" from time to time, but in fact there is almost always at least some kind of functional or work flow motivation for things morphing, bouncing, fading or zooming.

The Dock floor has no earthly reason to be, beyond a little flash. Worse, it's a particularly clunky, poorly thought out kind of flash that just kind of sits there and says "Hey! I'm vaguely 3D! And reflective! Whatever!"

Or so it seems to me. Can anyone think of an actual reason to do this to the Dock? I was a little unnerved by the TimeMachine interface-- mainly because it also features a very poorly implemented "3D" lower plane, one that does nothing but make the text there harder to read.

But at least that can make some kind of claim to being part of a "receding in time" metaphor, arbitrary though it may be.

But this? It must stop.
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post #2 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

OK.

So: the translucent menu bar doesn't bother me that much, I'll wait and see if it works for me.

The reflective floor on the Dock, on the other hand, is a grotesque aberration that must be done away with.

I realize Apple gets accused of functionless "eye candy" from time to time, but in fact there is almost always at least some kind of functional or work flow motivation for things morphing, bouncing, fading or zooming.

The Dock floor has no earthly reason to be, beyond a little flash. Worse, it's a particularly clunky, poorly thought out kind of flash that just kind of sits there and says "Hey! I'm vaguely 3D! And reflective! Whatever!"

Or so it seems to me. Can anyone think of an actual reason to do this to the Dock? I was a little unnerved by the TimeMachine interface-- mainly because it also features a very poorly implemented "3D" lower plane, one that does nothing but make the text there harder to read.

But at least that can make some kind of claim to being part of a "receding in time" metaphor, arbitrary though it may be.

But this? It must stop.

It's the reason that I've decided that enough is enough. Vista, here I come!!
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post #3 of 195
Let's spin it another way:

Why not? So what if it's pure looks with no extra function? It looks cool. Why have a dock that is flat when we can have one that looks better? And don't follow up with "it will draw too much CPU/GPU power", because I know for a fact that even Tiger disables some of the eye-candy if your system can't handle it. For instance, Widgets don't ripple when activated unless you have at least 64MB of VRAM.
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post #4 of 195
Thread Starter 
Really, it's what it suggests about how Apple is thinking about its UI, these days, and what it portends.

I can't think of another instance of basic UI stuff that was so clearly nothing but decorative, and awkwardly so.

Puffs of smoke, genie effects, widget ripples, pulsing buttons, jumping icons, drop shadows, etc.-- love 'em or hate 'em, they all actually provide feedback, of some sort.

The Dock is a primary UI element in OS X, so it's not like changing the color of the Apple icon or something.

It fundamentally changes the desktop metaphor, from more or less flat with flat windows lying on top of each other, to "3D space about an inch deep".

That's a pretty big deal, if you actually care about the consistency of your interface's metaphor, and that, in theory, is one of the big selling points of the fabled Mac "ease of use".

So my concern is that Apple does not, in fact, really care about that any more. That they feel it's just fine to willy-nilly throw in "3D-ish" elements that do nothing to clarify things for the user, just because they think it looks sort of cool.

That would be a bad thing.
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post #5 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

That's a pretty big deal, if you actually care about your the consistency of your interface's metaphor, and that, in theory, is one of the big selling points of the fabled Mac "ease of use".

So my concern is that Apple does not, in fact, really care about that any more.

They just unified the whole UI and you're concerned about Apple not caring about consistency?
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post #6 of 195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLL View Post

They just unified the whole UI and you're concerned about Apple not caring about consistency?

They unified the look of windows. There's a lot more to UI consistency than that.
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post #7 of 195
Thread Starter 
On the other hand, you can see in the Leopard screen shots that Apple has also thickened the drop shadows on the top window (I think Steve even mentioned this in the keynote), so it may be that there really has been a decision to treat the desktop as "shallow 3D space".

Possibly as a precursor to abandoning the "desktop" metaphor altogether and going full 3D?

Who knows? I remain unmollified, for the time being, until someone can show me the plan.
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post #8 of 195
Adding 3D to the dock would make sense if there was multiple layers to the dock, such as when you add so much to the dock that it starts to shrink. Instead of shrinking, what if the icons started a new row behind the main one? Then the trapezoidal 'floor' would make more sense.

Or rather use the second row behind the apps to hold recently opened documents in stack relating to that application.
post #9 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

They unified the look of windows. There's a lot more to UI consistency than that.

There is and on that part Mac OS X has been very consistant - and still is.
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post #10 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLL View Post

There is and on that part Mac OS X has been very consistant - and still is.

Well, that's my point, isn't it? Apple is adding 3D cues here and there (Time Machine, Cover Flow, the Dock floor) but there's no consistency to it at all.

Time Machine thinks we have infinite 3D space, CoverFlow figures an icons width worth, and the Dock believes it to be a few inches.

Stacks, on the other hand, still likes 2D space, as does Quick Look and pretty much every other element of UI. If the desktop has depth, wouldn't it make sense to let Stacks to do a "cover flow" sort of deal?

Sorry, I can't brush off the introduction of 3D space as a functioning part of the UI as a trivial change. We need to know what the metaphor is and it needs to be consistently applied.
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post #11 of 195
I think it makes the desktop look very unbalanced now that the menu bar is transparent. The dock stands out way too much now so that it's obtrusive. It looks very stupid on the side - what is it, an anti-gravity table?

Also the icon spacing is just as messy as it always was.

The reflection is sure to annoy me sooner or later.

Has anyone seen how the dock slides out? Is it straight up or into the window?

When I first saw it, I thought great they've removed the dock to leave just the icons and then I thought wtf is that white thing though? I would have been pretty happy with just the icons.

The transparent text on the menu bar is worse IMO. When something negatively affects usability then it's just wrong. Why didn't they remove the bar and leave the text completely opaque? They'd just have to make the text automatically colored the opposite from the desktop underneath. So lets say you had a black backdrop, the text would be white and vice versa. They could have left a faint outline of the menu itself.
post #12 of 195
Wow. You people REALLY like to nitpick, huh? It's a damned UI, not the fate of your children! You are honestly going to tell me you dislike it because it's "not consistent"? The only way to be totally consistent is to keep it flat.

The dock is impractical on the side because gravity should pull the icons downward? What about the Macintosh HD you have now, huh?

The dock reflection can manage to annoy you? What happens to you when you suffer a REAL problem?

You know what, you should all just stick with Tiger. That leaves one more copy for someone who can appreciate evolution and not squabble over the tiniest of details.
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post #13 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

Wow. You people REALLY like to nitpick, huh? It's a damned UI, not the fate of your children! You are honestly going to tell me you dislike it because it's "not consistent"? The only way to be totally consistent is to keep it flat.

The dock is impractical on the side because gravity should pull the icons downward? What about the Macintosh HD you have now, huh?

The dock reflection can manage to annoy you? What happens to you when you suffer a REAL problem?

You know what, you should all just stick with Tiger. That leaves one more copy for someone who can appreciate evolution and not squabble over the tiniest of details.

On the other hand, do you stare at your kids for 12 hours a day? Are your kids reflective for no good reason? Don't get technical with me, Artoo!

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post #14 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

Wow. You people REALLY like to nitpick, huh? It's a damned UI, not the fate of your children! You are honestly going to tell me you dislike it because it's "not consistent"? The only way to be totally consistent is to keep it flat. In that case, stick with Tiger. That leaves one more copy for someone who can appreciate evolution and not squabble over the tiniest of details.

I've explained my concerns in some detail. If you don't share them, feel free to not participate in this thread, noob.
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post #15 of 195
i for one really like the new dock. i think it actually takes up less space because the icons aren't being boxed in. I'm not so sure about the menu bar. I don't like the fact that it's transparent but the sub menu comes up in white, seems odd.

I was a bit p'd off with the WWDC, the thing that annoyed me the most was that after the Desktop, Finder and QuickLook, the show was basically the same as last year. The same iChat, Mail, Dashboard, Core Animation, 64 Bit & TimeMachine demos. There were even the same jokes with the iChat demo. They were basically all scripted exactly the same and this seems a bit lazy to me, especially with the prices people were paying to go there.
post #16 of 195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ad4m.phillips View Post

i for one really like the new dock. i think it actually takes up less space because the icons aren't being boxed in. ........

I'm not sure we're even getting that. If you look at the screen shot at the Leopard site, you can see that the icons are sitting higher on the desktop than currently.
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post #17 of 195
I'm interested in seeing if there's now an imaginary "border" around the Dock that windows are supposed to respect. It drives me absolutely bonkers when apps allow windows to violate the Dock, and you end up with your resize widget unreachable behind the Dock. Is the "line" now going to be the far edge of the shelf? Or some arbitrary point above the icons? Or nowhere at all?
post #18 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad4m.phillips View Post

i for one really like the new dock. i think it actually takes up less space because the icons aren't being boxed in. I'm not so sure about the menu bar. I don't like the fact that it's transparent but the sub menu comes up in white, seems odd.

I was a bit p'd off with the WWDC, the thing that annoyed me the most was that after the Desktop, Finder and QuickLook, the show was basically the same as last year. The same iChat, Mail, Dashboard, Core Animation, 64 Bit & TimeMachine demos. There were even the same jokes with the iChat demo. They were basically all scripted exactly the same and this seems a bit lazy to me, especially with the prices people were paying to go there.

But you have to keep in mind that Apple was only one party at WWDC. It's like judging Battle Of The Bands poorly because one band played their old album.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I've explained my concerns in some detail. If you don't share them, feel free to not participate in this thread, noob.

I understand the underlying points of your concerns perfectly. What I don't understand is how the f*ck it can bother you enough to even be worth a post. It's like complaining about 10.2 and the little striations on the upper menu bar. Who in their right mind obsesses so much as to care about these little details? So what if the Dock and Time Machine don't give the same representation of three-dimensionality? Who said the Dock was even trying to reach to the rear limit of the desktop? Just because it's only "one inch deep" doesn't mean the whole desktop is.

But all that is immaterial, because it's all two-dimensional anyway. The longer you spend complaining about the "inconsistent three-dimensionality" is just more time you are spending not doing something productive.
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post #19 of 195
i see what you mean. I think when I get mine, I'm going to fill it from end-to-end so that all the icons look like they're on a polished floor. I'm a bit OCD like that and think the dock looks stupid hanging out there, like a window ledge!
post #20 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad4m.phillips View Post

i see what you mean. I think when I get mine, I'm going to fill it from end-to-end so that all the icons look like they're on a polished floor. I'm a bit OCD like that and think the dock looks stupid hanging out there, like a window ledge!

Actually, even though I'm against the whole thing for UI philosophical reasons, I agree that it would look better as an edge to edge deal and that those "corners" are particularly wrong-headed.
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post #21 of 195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

But you have to keep in mind that Apple was only one party at WWDC. It's like judging Battle Of The Bands poorly because one band played their old album.



I understand the underlying points of your concerns perfectly. What I don't understand is how the f*ck it can bother you enough to even be worth a post. It's like complaining about 10.2 and the little striations on the upper menu bar. Who in their right mind obsesses so much as to care about these little details? So what if the Dock and Time Machine don't give the same representation of three-dimensionality? Who said the Dock was even trying to reach to the rear limit of the desktop? Just because it's only "one inch deep" doesn't mean the whole desktop is.

But all that is immaterial, because it's all two-dimensional anyway. The longer you spend complaining about the "inconsistent three-dimensionality" is just more time you are spending not doing something productive.

I think it's fine that it works for you. I don't think it's fine that you feel the need to continue to post about how wrong it is to care.

If it's a waste of time to critique the UI, than what does that say about the time you're taking to critique me?
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post #22 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I think it's fine that it works for you. I don't think it's fine that you feel the need to continue to post about how wrong it is to care.

If it's a waste of time to critique the UI, than what does that say about the time you're taking to critique me?

Very true. I can't say I'm innocent, either. So let me close with this; why is it important? I assume we can agree that it's miles ahead of both Vista and Tiger in terms of visual appeal. If that's the case, why do the little things matter?
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post #23 of 195
I HATE this new dock ! I just HATE the false 3D dock with reflection ! And I hate this transparent menu bar ! GEEZ C'MON APPLE !

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post #24 of 195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

Very true. I can't say I'm innocent, either. So let me close with this; why is it important? I assume we can agree that it's miles ahead of both Vista and Tiger in terms of visual appeal. If that's the case, why do the little things matter?

Because the use of 3D space has major, major implications for the UI metaphor, unlike, say, the pinstripes on the menu bar.

The original, "classic" Mac UI was based on some pretty strict rules regarding the behavior and placement of UI elements, collectively know as the "Human Interface Guidelines" (HIG).

By a lot of people's lights, the "friendliness" and "ease of use" of the OS derived from just that-- things looked and acted and interacted in very predictable ways, ways that were, for computers of their day, very "natural" metaphorical extensions of how we interacted with actual items on a desktop.

Certainly I'm not the first person to have misgivings about the seemingly casual relationship to any apparent hard and fast HIG in OS X.

Whether you realize it or not, a carefully considered, consistent HIG that takes into account how human beings actually think, learn and interact with the things around them makes all the difference in the world regarding the usability of a given OS.

That doesn't mean UIs should never change, or that there aren't better ways of organizing the elements of an operating system that take into account new, larger and more numerous file types, or that take advantage of the graphical horsepower of contemporary machines.

But to be truly useful over the long haul, and to contribute to an OS that is both productive and pleasurable to use, such changes must be in the service of a well though out HIG.

Color schemes or surface treatments don't matter much (within reasonable limits) , since they don't effect the all over experience any more than using a desk with a cherry top vs. using a desk with an oak top would (although, as the move to a unified window look shows, too much variation on this count can be a problem in its own right).

But a change from 2D to 3D space, no matter how apparently trivially implemented, is a massive shift in the fundamental paradigm of what the OS "means".

EDIT: If you're interested, there's a sort of semi-famous article (in mac circles, at least) over at Ars Technica by a guy named John Siracusa that touches on some of these issues. It's primarily about the finder (although "finder" as it is used in the article is a term of broader significance than the app-like thing in OS X), and even if you think he's full of shit it's well worth reading.
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post #25 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad4m.phillips View Post

They were basically all scripted exactly the same and this seems a bit lazy to me, especially with the prices people were paying to go there.

We're not paying to see a keynote.
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post #26 of 195
Honestly, how many nonsense features does any Windows OS have? Billions and they can all be turned off. No need to worry my plain and boring friend, I'm sure Apple will throw in a feature called disable.
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post #27 of 195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feartec View Post

Honestly, how many nonsense features does any Windows OS have? Billions and they can all be turned off. No need to worry my plain and boring friend, I'm sure Apple will throw in a feature called disable.

If you'd read and understood what I posted (yes, I understand that it was too "boring" for you, my agressively stupid and proudly ignorant friend ), then you'd realize that I'm talking about the larger implications for Apple's UI plans. Being obliged to "disable" something like a 3D shelf, while no doubt par for the course in Windows land, is a serious breach of what makes a Mac a Mac.

Not to address anyone in particular, but while I welcome the growth of the Mac market share, I have noticed that with that comes users that have never even considered the possibility of an OS that is anything more than a semi-ad hoc collection of parts.

To a certain extent Apple seems to be adding elements for them, which makes baby Jesus cry.
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post #28 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Not to address anyone in particular, but while I welcome the growth of the Mac market share, I have noticed that with that comes users that have never even considered the possibility of an OS that is anything more than a semi-ad hoc collection of parts.

To a certain extent Apple seems to be adding elements for them, which makes baby Jesus cry.

Wholeheartedly agreed. Windows (and to a certain extent Linux) have trained millions to look at the length of a feature list as the only criteria for judging a product. How one accesses functionality is just as important as that functionality being there. Generally speaking, the elegant minimalist solution that provides the desired functionality with the *least conceptual burden* is the proper one. This is the key behind Apple's long-standing design philosophy... and they keep slipping from it, bit by bit. Unless they can show a replacement philosophy, well... we can look forward to future usability alongside that of Windows and Linux distros. Um, ew?

That's our concern, that Apple is throwing away a long-standing principle that is at the core of their success. Maybe they have something up their sleeve, maybe we simply don't see the larger picture yet. Fair enough. It's the lack of simplicity of vision that is worrisome.
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post #29 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Time Machine thinks we have infinite 3D space, CoverFlow figures an icons width worth, and the Dock believes it to be a few inches.

While I have not the time to watch the Apple demos of Leopard, even from my fragemented view of the issue I understand your concerns. However, give Time Machine a break here. The "infinite" dimension shown is not space. It is time. You can still argue (average consumer has not and has not to have General Relativistic bakcground etc.), but for now let's say that Time machine is a little more special than the others.
post #30 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

The original, "classic" Mac UI was based on some pretty strict rules regarding the behavior and placement of UI elements, collectively know as the "Human Interface Guidelines" (HIG).

By a lot of people's lights, the "friendliness" and "ease of use" of the OS derived from just that-- things looked and acted and interacted in very predictable ways, ways that were, for computers of their day, very "natural" metaphorical extensions of how we interacted with actual items on a desktop.

So true. I remember almost 15 years ago when I started my contact with the Macintosh, things were so intuitive. I cannot forget how rewarding was to be able to discover everything in the machine and how it works, without assistance. This was an experience that definitely left its marks on me. Then, I had to opportunity to play with a Next machine (a Cube perhaps, don't remember). Not so obvious. I had someone guide me through.

Now just think, who is the daddy of Mac OS X... Blessing and curse at the same time.
post #31 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

Very true. I can't say I'm innocent, either. So let me close with this; why is it important? I assume we can agree that it's miles ahead of both Vista and Tiger in terms of visual appeal. If that's the case, why do the little things matter?

are you from karelia? because that place is a HOLE
post #32 of 195
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Hey, can we post again?

Oh, cool!
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post #33 of 195
From what I've seen of it, I don't mind it. There has to be some way of setting the dock icons apart from other icons on the desktop, and whether it's a square around them as in Tiger, or the illusion of a floor that they sit on, it still does that job of setting them apart.

One thing I wonder about: I now have all my application, around 100, in an apps folder in my dock. It doesn't seem very practical to use stacks for that. They're all going to pop up in a big grid? It looks fine with 10-12 as in the demo, but I don't see how it's going to look nice with 100. And some of them are folders rather than files. I really can't picture how that's going to work.
post #34 of 195
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Here's an odd note: the dock shelf looks exactly, and I mean exactly like an element from Sun's Looking Glass demo page:



The idea of a "glass shelf" seems too arbitrary to me for this to be a coincidence. With all the talk of Apple adopting ZFS, perhaps there is more to the Apple-Sun relationship than we realize?

Although, admittedly, using some random element from a theoretical UI is a funny way to express it....

EDIT: You'll notice that in Sun's implementation, the shelf makes a little more sense since the entire desktop is clearly being portrayed as 3D. Still gives me a headache, though.
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post #35 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

One thing I wonder about: I now have all my application, around 100, in an apps folder in my dock. It doesn't seem very practical to use stacks for that. They're all going to pop up in a big grid? It looks fine with 10-12 as in the demo, but I don't see how it's going to look nice with 100. And some of them are folders rather than files. I really can't picture how that's going to work.

Can't you just have a folder in the dock as always and not have it be a "stack"?

Or has that changed and I'm missing something?
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post #36 of 195
I don't have too much of a problem with the reflective Dock, but I'm not particularly impressed by it either. It looks kind of neat, I guess. It's just a cosmetic change.

Stacks on the other hand look pretty nifty.

Overall, though, I had much higher hopes for a UI revamp in Leopard. It looks we're stuck waiting another few years for something more interesting.
post #37 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

Can't you just have a folder in the dock as always and not have it be a "stack"?

Or has that changed and I'm missing something?

You could be right. I had assumed that folders in the dock would turn into stacks in Leopard, but that's just an assumption.
post #38 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

You could be right. I had assumed that folders in the dock would turn into stacks in Leopard, but that's just an assumption.

Well I hope you're assumption is wrong

If you can't have a folder, just stacks, that would kind of suck I think.
A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
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A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
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post #39 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

The reflective floor on the Dock, on the other hand, is a grotesque aberration that must be done away with.

I agree. The "eye candy"... Good. The menu bar I like. But the "3D" Dock! That has to go.

Spaces, what a waste, I have no use for it. Stacks... maybe, I'll wait and see. Other than that, OS X.5 rocks!
post #40 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Adding 3D to the dock would make sense if there was multiple layers to the dock, such as when you add so much to the dock that it starts to shrink. Instead of shrinking, what if the icons started a new row behind the main one? Then the trapezoidal 'floor' would make more sense.

Or rather use the second row behind the apps to hold recently opened documents in stack relating to that application.

cool ideas and i like the reflective floor but what i wonder about is how does this new dock look on either side of the window rather than at the bottom. i dont even use my dock at the bottom of the screen. i have WAY more screen real estate width wise. mine, like many other people, is on the right because im right handed and autohid because bouncing icons are obnoxious to a degree. with the current transparency, i cant even see the dock so its never obnoxious. i wonder how it will affect daily use with autohide and such.

but yeah, the top bar isnt just transparent, its also manipulating colors / contrast. im not a huge fan of that idea. i'd have much rather seen them add some consistency to their design by making it too reflective by default and have a toggle for "transparent or reflective" under appearances so we could choose our flavor.
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