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I'm currently working on a desktop app and wonder if the program name is really necessary in the title bar? Program titlebar

I know that latest versions of App Store and iTunes doesn't have it at all. But if we leave it as un-merged titlebar, should we keep program the title "My App" as well?

What about Windows?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, it isn't necessary and some apps doesn't have a window title, but...

Imagine a multi-window app: how would you guess which document you're editing? (look at the Finder: if it will miss the title, you probably will loose the context, which is very important in some cases).

Imagine several different but looking almost similar apps, how would you differentiate them? (most document editors has the same layout, etc).

So, I think it's okey to not show the title, but you should be absolutely sure that:

  1. your app will not mess things up by populating several untitled windows and will always help user to understand the context (your app local context)
  2. your app has an unique and recognisable UI to let users to identify your app quickly (OS global context)
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iA Writer hides the title bar while you're typing and shows it again on scroll, etc, which is really nice: you don't need it all the time but as soon as you may need it, it will appear. –  alexeypegov Mar 4 '13 at 12:05

UI's paradigm people use is windows/desktop paradigm for a long time now, so maybe not necessary but they will often look to a place where window title should be just to make sure are they on the right track.

Also window title can contain additional and maybe important info like:

  • what tab are you on (browser)
  • what document are you on (word)
  • what image are you editing (photoshop)
  • how many new mails (email)
  • title text can be animated so it can display alternating info (little * if application needs user attention)

You need minimize, maximize and close buttons somewhere so that bar where those buttons are located would be rather empty without window title. And also, when users have many windows opened on desktop they will rely on windows title to recognize window they search for.

There are exceptions of course, but are rare and used for special applications.

I don't know how easy is to implement window-title-barless window on OSX but on Windows I think you have to dive into Win32 API which is not praised by many.

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