GUI ideas for Mac OS X.3? X.5?

in macOS edited January 2014
i've been tinkering around with build 115 now for a few days, and felt compelled to start a thread re: potential new GUI features of later OS X releases.

no, i'm not a developer, but i plan on paying for jaguar anyway once it's released -- it really is a very nice upgrade. but there are still some things that i think need revisiting in the future. PLUS, apple WILL be reading these boards for "inspiration," (i will take credit AGAIN for MY idea of badging minimized windows in the dock witht he application that spawned them. check the boards and you'll see... apple, i am willing to start work in cupertino TOMORROW )

the dock

so my wife sat down and tried to use os x for the first time in a while (she's in the middle of her dissertation, and would sooner see me dead than have me install a new operating system on her laptop... so be it). anyway, the dock really baffled her, AND it was very hard to explain without using explanatin such as "well, that's just teh way it is..."

case in point:

wife: "what are all these things in the dock?"

me: "those are aliases to applications on my computer."

wife: so i can add my own?

me: sure! just drag them to the dock

wife proceeds to drag the first icon she sees -- a document -- to the left hand side of the dock. of course, it won't go.

wife: why isn't it going?

me: well, because the left side of the dock is reserved for applications.

wife: side? where's the middle?

me: see that vertical line in the dock? that separates apps from documents.

wife: oh, okay.

wife proceeds to drag the document icon to the right hand side of the dock. it stays. SUCCESS! until...

wife: so can i delete the original file now?

me: uh, no. you still need to keep it somewhere.

wife: well, what if i want it gone?

me: just drag it out of the dock.

she does. poof - it's gone, until...

wife: well, what if i want the other things gone?

me: just drag them out, too.

wife proceeds to drag an app icon out, and it disappears. so far, so good. then she tried to drag out a RUNNING applications, and, guess what, it snaps back into place.

wife: why won't that go? (begins dragging 70 times a minute on the stubborn icon)

me: because it's running... you can't delete it if it's running...

wife: why not?

me: ummm...

wife: are the opening folders back yet? you told me they were gone...

me: oh, yeah, the spring-loaded folders are back. just drag one of those icons ontoa folder on the desktop.

wife drags icon onto folder, pop, open.

wife: wow. that's pretty nice.

me: isn't it?

wife: so can i drag the icon onto the folder in the dock?

me: i'm not sure. try it.

wife does, and nothing happens (well, the icon opens, but no other directories pop open).

me: i guess it doesn't work. weird...

while not the perfect test group, my wife has a LOT of knowledge of using a Mac over the past 7-8 years. and yet this really confused her. and i can't say i blame her.

right now, the similarities between applications, documents, directories, etc. in the dock are too great. SOMETHING needs to distinguish them from each other. for instance...

while i'm no big fan of the "alias arrow" on icons, it WOULD make sense to badge aliases in the dock (for both applications AND documents) to help distinguish them from other items.

also, it would seem to make sense to be able to:

a. close minimized windows by dragging them off the dock (saves you from haveing to maximize them first). of course, if there are unsaved changes, it would force a maximize first to make sure you wanted to close the window.

b. quit applications by dragging them off the dock. (don't ask me what happens to their icon if they were an alias there to begin with... i haven't thought that far ahead yet... if anyone has any ideas...)

c. running applications NEED something more noticeable than a black arrow under them. there are some shareware utilities out there that retrieve the "white" and "blue" arrows, but how does that tell the user that it's RUNNING? my idea: i love that damn spinning circle of lines that has replaced the chasing arrows. if you can badge minimized windows with the icon of the application that spawned them, then why not badge running applications with the spinning line-circle (is there an official name for that thing now?)? it might, however, be very distracting to see those spinning circles in your peripheral vision. maybe under dock preferences, be able to toggle off the spinning? personally, i would get a kick out of seeing ten little badged spinning circles in my dock, like the a train engine locomotive... chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga...

anyway, those are a few of my thoughts over the dock. anyone else have any suggestions???

and yes, i believe apple is watching, so make 'em good!

[ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: rok ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 134
    sc_marktsc_markt Posts: 1,398member
    The dock.

    I'd like the dock to be able to function as a bottom menubar. In other words, it'll snap to the bottom, all the way across the screen while the desktop picture's bottom edge adjusts to the top edge of the dock. Same for the desktop icons. It'd be nice to be able to set whatever dock size one wanted as well. Finally, with the dock in this position, I'd like windows of open apps to interact with the dock as they do with the top menubar.
  • Reply 2 of 134
    robsterrobster Posts: 256member
    I love the idea of the window which lists all currently active file transfers/copies in one window area, much better than os9 which opens a new one for each active transfer...HOWEVER

    I'd like emptying the trash, cd/dvd burns, ftp, webDAV and any other applicable processes that i havent thought of also listed in that window, it'd be a single point of reference for all file activity

    Please APPLE do this for me

    [quote] <hr></blockquote>
  • Reply 3 of 134
    I want to know how big each folder is by having it listed on each window that it is opened.

    Also I want to know how many Mbs I have thrown away in the trash.

    I also want a 4 dimension "Hypercube" for a finder. It would be the ultimate multi-finder!!!

    Is this too much to ask?
  • Reply 4 of 134
    sc_marktsc_markt Posts: 1,398member
    I'd also like Apple to tone down the candyish look of Aqua.
  • Reply 5 of 134
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    The Dock:
    • I'd like to have multiple docks, with the ability to choose where running applications, docked applications, documents/folders, minimized windows, and the Trash Can go.

    • I would also like to be able to put the dock in a corner(i.e. apps on the bottom half and docs on the right side of the screen, trash in the middle).

    • I would like more options for poofs and attention-grabbers.

    • I would like to be able to edit the arrow under running apps.

    • Built-in support for dock backgrounds and other trash can icons(without digging ten folders down for a file).

    The Desktop:
    • A DeskShade-like ability to hide icons

    • Option to hide all icons under a single icon, so that moving the mouse over the icon makes all the others slide out beneath it

    • Animated Desktop Backgrounds

    • Animated Icons

    The Finder:
    • Slide-Out overflow menus in the toolbar

    • Single-Click option(like the one in Windows)

    • Contextual menu folders in the toolbar

    • Different toolbars for different folders

    That's it. I could write about 15 other items down but don't feel like it.
  • Reply 6 of 134
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    My one idea is purely cosmetic...but no less cool and valid

    As I've said since the OS X Public Beta days, REPLACE that idiotic, graceless Wyle E. Coyote "smoke puff" that appears when you remove an item from the dock!

    With what?

    Well, since the interface is called "aqua", how about a cool, soft water/pond ripple effect?

    You pull an item out of the dock, let it go and it gently fades away in little pond ripple circles.

    NOT a weirdly out-of-place and cartoonish smoke bomb.

    <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />
  • Reply 7 of 134
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    hey pscates, i thought the same thing a while back. i like the idea, but maybe they couldn't even entertain the idea until quartz-extreme (i dunno... all i know is it should open up a world of crazy-sexy-cool effects in places you wouldn't expect).

    i also kinda wanted applications, as they launched, to either "ripple" or "wave" in the dock. the bouncy-thing is not my cup of tea. then again, whent he dock is hidden, it's about the only way to get your attention.

    these are some pretty interesting ideas! cool!

    also, i have never understood why apple has not done this:

    copyagent from connectix (formerly a part of speeddoubler) has had the ability to let you see, file-by-file, what's about to be deleted from your trash, toggle what will be deleted on a per-item basis if necessary, and allow for security erases of multiple times if need be. plus, damn, was it fast compared to the finder's pokey erase method.

    oh, and uh, bring back one-app mode. i really liked that, from a power-user standpoint. hell, it even got applause at wwdc when they showed it off. never understood why they yanked it. [edit: just don't put the one-app mode widget on EVERY window... maybe as a menu bar item that can be toggled on and off from the general preferences.]

    finally, bring back labels. admittedly, i don't know how you're going to do this if there's a big push to cross-platform, no-resource-fork future, but either giving the user the ability to a.) color, or b.) BADGE icons seems like a necessary tool at times (think of how iChat let's you insert smileys, why couldn't they let you badge icons with basic icons like the yellow caution icon, the red stopsign hand, an in-progress icon badge (not sure what that would be), etc. and let you customize those badges by copy/pasting into image wells in the finder preferences pane.

    [ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: rok ]

    [ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: rok ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 134
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    My idea is basically a rip-off of the old OS 9 pop-up folders, but with a small twist. Intead of just making them special folders, make them utilities that can live update or provide feedabk from any app like the Find window, top or process viewer, iSync, iCal, Services or a universal bookmarks tab. This could be sort of an extension of "smart" folders too.
  • Reply 9 of 134
    kedakeda Posts: 722member

    -Allow the user to position it on any screen edge. I use dual monitors and would like to put the dock on the bottom of monitor #2. This could be controlled by a key-combo/drag or the Dock CP could have something like the 'Arrange' tab in 'Monitors.

    -URL 'springs' would have a way to distinguish btwn them. I recently had about 10 URLs in my dock and they were all but useless.

    -Drag files in to sub folders of docked folders.

    -More options from the pop-up menus
  • Reply 10 of 134
    imaximax Posts: 43member
    rok - you can quit an app while its in the dock w/o maximizing it. Just click-hold on it and a menu pops up with a quit command.

    pscates & rok - i think the idea of the ripple effect for opened/closed/quit apps is awesome. Definitely better than the bounce and the puff of smoke and better suited to aqua.
  • Reply 11 of 134
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    [quote]Originally posted by pscates:

    <strong>My one idea is purely cosmetic...but no less cool and valid

    As I've said since the OS X Public Beta days, REPLACE that idiotic, graceless Wyle E. Coyote "smoke puff" that appears when you remove an item from the dock!

    With what?

    Well, since the interface is called "aqua", how about a cool, soft water/pond ripple effect?

    You pull an item out of the dock, let it go and it gently fades away in little pond ripple circles.

    NOT a weirdly out-of-place and cartoonish smoke bomb.

    <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>

    You could have it explode and and pieces of the icon fall to the sides. What would be neat is if they made that effect themeable.

    The ability to turn the dock into a clip, like in NeXT. (i.e. instead of auto-hiding the dock, make the ability to explicitly 'hide' the dock , except that it turns into an icon in a corner of the screen instead of hiding completely. Sort of like minimizing the dock. And single (or double) clicking the 'dock' icon, would maximize or restore the dock.) This way would don't have to had the dock pop-up when you aciddentally get too close to the edge of the screen when you still want it hidden.

    [quote]CubeDude writes:

    <strong>A DeskShade-like ability to hide icons</strong>


    This would be cool. Expanding on this it would be cool if you could 'hide' the menubar at the top too. The ability to have *just* the desktop picture displayed when the computer is idle, or whatever would be cool. Perhaps and 'auto-hide' feature for the menubar where the menubar hides when the mouse isn't active, even if you are typing it would hide, but as soon as there was mouse activity it would pop back down. Instead of haveing to put the mouse at the edge of the screen (edit : putting mouse at the edge of the screen to make the hidden menubar re-appear I meant). This would be option, of course and disabled by default since the menubar is indicative of Apple OSes. But the option to hide it at certain times would be cool.

    [quote]sc_markt writes:

    <strong>I'd also like Apple to tone down the candyish look of Aqua</strong><hr></blockquote>

    What they should do is make OS X completely theme-able natively. So that you don't have to use third-party apps. Not that I would to crush competition with Apple or anything or have it so that Apple makes all Apple software, but most 3rd party themes are hacks as I understand it. Even with Windows. I think that Apple should add these features, or at least add the hooks for 3rd party programmers to make their own programs to theme it, except that those programs would be using a standard protocol that is built into the OS.

    The ability to automagically turn a picture into an icon. For example, if I drag a picture that I have on my desktop over an icon on the dock, tis would fire up some sort of tool which would create a 'default' icon out of that picture. Just make sure that the dimensions are right and/or the image is of higher res than 128x128. Power users and geeks might not *need* this, but it would be nice for ma and pa average users. The actual converting would be done in the background. Of course they would need to use an application to make an animated icon and such. It could even have some sort of a progress bar over the application icon while it is converting the a copy of the image to an icon. This could work and would be kinda nifty.

    [ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: pyr3 ]</p>
  • Reply 12 of 134
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    iMax, oh yeah, i knew about that, but my wife didn't in the case above.

    i'm just thinking that pulling an icon off the dock to "get rid of it," so to speak, made sense to HER, and, in retrospect, it just makes SENSE to me, too. pull it off to "get rid of it." if it's running, it turns it off. if it's an alias, it deletes it. i think the metaphor of "tearing it off/away" lends itself better to things like the concept of quitting the app or closing the window than having to either click and hold, or right click on an icon. you could still keep that function built-in, but i still hold to the fact that contextual menus are not that great from an end-user standpoint (especially a novice), because you have to understand what context you are in FIRST before you can take advantage of it. otherwise, you must be told about them, or, akin to older hunt-n-peck games, right-click on everything and see what happens, which gets old quick.

    me, i just observe what a newbie does, and then modify accordingly... depending upon budget.
  • Reply 13 of 134
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    hey, anybody remember how the newton "deleted" full pages/notes? it crumpled up the entire window, and then hook-shot it into the trash basket.

    tell me that would not be so friggin cool. just pull up on an icon on the dock, tear it away, it crumples in mid-air, and lands into the trash basket. i have to assume that with quartz-extreme, cutsy little effects like these would be a trivial matter. you'd get people just putting stuff into the dock to throw it away.

    these are really great ideas, folks. keep 'em coming. remember, we're brainstorming, so throw it at the wall, and we'll see what sticks.
  • Reply 14 of 134
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    a co-worker with me just came up with another cool idea... why not put a "delete..." command under the "File" menu in applications. that way you can just send a file to the trash directly from the application itself, as opposed to closing, finding the icon, THEN sending it to the trash.
  • Reply 15 of 134
    sc_marktsc_markt Posts: 1,398member
    "What they should do is make OS X completely theme-able natively."

    This will work...
  • Reply 16 of 134
    thttht Posts: 4,728member
    I'd like:

    LaunchBar to be a standard part of the GUI.

    LaunchBar style window management tool.

    Winamp style magnetic edges.

    Brushed aluminum draggable surfaces.

    Window magnification/reduction.

    For the more exotic:

    Action -&gt; Noun interface. In the current schema, the noun has to be active first before an action is taken, such as if I want to do something in some window, that window must be active and brought forward, though this has been mitigated with mouse see-through. My example would be an action is selected such as "minimize", windows can then be minimized be clicking on it instead of on a little graphic in the title bar of the window.

    Window grouping. Disparate windows from different programs (or the same program) can be grouped such that highlighting one brings everything in the group forward.

    Database storage. Gets rid of hierarchal file system storage and hierarchal file system browsing. It is then replaced with metadata browsing. Things like "recently used", "all files touched in April", and others become part of the browsing vocabulary. This will hopefully end storage maintenance by the user.

    Natural language user agents. I'd like to say, "keep track of 512 MB DDR SDRAM sticks and report dealers selling for less than xxx dollars".
  • Reply 17 of 134
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    [quote]Originally posted by rok:

    <strong>...why not put a "delete..." command under the "File" menu in applications. that way you can just send a file to the trash directly...</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Seems logical, having a trash in the Dock which is therefore accessible to every application, that every app could use the trash.

    Good points, THT.
  • Reply 18 of 134
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    [quote]Originally posted by THT:

    <strong>I'd like:

    Window grouping. Disparate windows from different programs (or the same program) can be grouped such that highlighting one brings everything in the group forward.


    hey THT, good news!

    I don't know when this happened, but ASM has been made freeware! it offers the "classic window behavior" you're talking about, like bring all an application's windows to the front when one is clicked on...

    AND, it does something i have been wanting for a while, ONE-APP MODE!!!


    oh yeah, and it puts back the classic Application Switcher Menu, too (hence the name).

    and it's free! available here...

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    did i mention it's free?!?

    oh, and while i am thinking about it, why does iChat have DRAGGABLE WINDOW BORDERS, yet no other application or window does?!? Apple, please put those back.

    [ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: rok ]</p>
  • Reply 19 of 134
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I think THT was thinking of another device instead of the grouping-by-application. My impression was that he was thinking of grouping among windows of different apps. I know while I prefer the OS X method of doing this since I do a lot of drag-n-drop among apps, it would be nice not having to essentially re-order the group if I happen to jump into Mail's window and mess up the whole arrangement.

    iChat has the brushed metal appearance, no? Any window with the metal appearance can be dragged (drug?!) by the metal areas.
  • Reply 20 of 134
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    well, whaddya know, you're right! i guess i never tried with quicktime player. brushed metal apps can be dragged by the edges/borders.

    y'know, has anyone tried the "brushed" themes via duality? i really think they are quite nice. not perfect, but very well done. the thing that bugged me most about brushed aps was that they stuck out so much compared to the aqua interface. maybe apple needs to find a happy medium between "aqua" and "brushed metal"?

    plus, can anyone explain why the calculator has a brushed metal appearance now? didn't think so.
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