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202

Yes, people need multiple windows. For example, a web developer will be looking at 2 windows all the time - a text editor and a browser. Another more general example, people like to chat with friends using something like AIM or Skype or even facebook, all while watching videos on youtube. That would require 2 browser windows opened simultaneously. This ...


107

There is an old article I got from the ACM library on Human-Computer-Interaction that provides some useful feedback. (The ACM library is not very intuitive, but Microsoft have a PDF version of it) An initial study attempted to demonstrate that users are significantly more productive and more satisfied when carrying out complex, multiple window tasks ...


77

I've always viewed it as a matter of "state" tracking. When I use a computer, I am doing a task, not using a program. This task may be something as simple as check email, and only requires one window open. Or it could be complex, such as design a section of a code project. In the more complicated case, the task is independent of any individual program. I ...


67

Take a step away from classic Windows processes. That was a huge part of Windows 8 and should help you understand this. Think about how you turn your phone on or off. There's a physical button that does this. Android/iOS? Power is a physical button. If you think about it, the power on function has to be a physical button somewhere or somehow, since the ...


62

Before and during the development of Windows 95, Microsoft was being sued by Apple for allegedly having improperly copied the Mac OS GUI. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corp. Apple lost all claims in the Microsoft suit except for the ruling that the trash can icon and folder icons from Hewlett-Packard's NewWave ...


48

On clicking the save button in almost any application for the first time, you are asked where to save the file. If your application does not do this, it would be understandable that people are unsure as to whether it has worked or not. My advice would be to grey out the icon and replace the icon with a spinner while the save operation is taking place. Even ...


37

I work in a video game studio. Everyone, from programmers to artists, uses two to three screens with multiple applications and/or windows: programmers have a window with the source code, a window with the debugging information (registers, stack trace, debugging messages) and a window with the game running. level designers have a window with the assets ...


33

Yes, people do really want to look at multiple windows/monitors/screens at once. For various reasons. Working on a screen while monitoring something else, security personnel monitoring multiple devices/networks/places, stock trading, flying an airplane (I guess a pilot needs the information available always, not through clicking and restoring ...


31

Much of what Microsoft initiated with Windows 95, including the Start Menu, served primarily to differentiate it from Mac OS, which in the popular mindset was the only OS competing with Windows. This coupled with the rise in attention to ecological needs in the 1990s made the term "Recycle Bin" an apt way to accomplish this differentiation, without serving ...


29

Undo No, I don't think you should. Instead, you think re-think the whole idea. First of all: do you really, really need a popup dialog with a question like this? Wouldn't an easy to use, reliable Undo option be infinitely better? In that case, you can circumvent the whole Yes/No confirmation, and avoid context switches and generally getting into the users ...


26

As you've stated, it's important that the user is provided with feedback about the success / failure of the save operation. One way that some business applications achieve this is by disabling the save button when the most recent version of a file has been safely saved to disk. User clicks save. File is saved. Button is dimmed / non-clickable -> this ...


25

Well, when you close an application it is gone. The Windows OS has no control over how software developed by third-parties will handle this very final action. It is up to the developer to ensure that the state is saved. Will they prompt the user to save their work? Will the browser store the last page you were at if you close it accidentally? Who knows? In ...


20

The guidelines for Windows 8 desktop applications are the same as for Windows 7. That means that you'll find them here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa511440.aspx Windows 8 has two separate UIs: Windows Store apps (formerly known as "Metro-style apps") and Desktop. Windows Store apps is the new, future oriented touch UI. ...


16

As with so many questions regarding UX the answer starts with 'It depends'. This is because UX is inevitably based in context and action. Some arguments for using a disabled state: Even if not in use, the user has a chance to learn that the action is possible. You may even have a tooltip explaining the criteria for use. The user can learn where controls ...


16

If you take a tomato back out of a real-life recycle bin, it also doesn't get recycled. Nor does it get disinfected (unless you actively do that). However, if you leave it in there and the bin gets emptied, both eventually get recycled. The tomato the traditional way, the file because its bits on your hard disk get made available again for storing other ...


13

One possible solution is to progressively show more details as users select items and sub-items. The benefit is that the initial ui is still clean, while getting rid of extra panels and buttons. You can still keep your initial page with the "configure" button, even though i would try to eliminate it, if possible. Initial View User Selects an Item ...


13

Sure, here it is: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb328626.aspx


13

Yes, this is excellent practice. It can even improve the responsiveness of your application, because doing the actual search on every key press can cause delays in itself. I have build a component (that we're using all over the place for this and similar purposes) that basically sets two times: a minimum time to wait for more input, and a maximum time from ...


13

The User: Spends half an hour searching for the product. Finally finds it. Downloads it. Low bandwidth: it takes 10 minutes. Installs/starts it. ("Oh! I downloaded a downloader, not the application! Where is the difference anyway?") The downloader downloads. Low bandwidth: it takes another 40 minutes. The application installs itself. Result: The user ...


12

I guess because there isn't really a reason to have it easily available. Laptops and tablets are usually sleeping or hibernating when not in use. To power off a desktop computer, you can just press the physical power button on the computer itself. This will signal Windows to close all active applications and shut down. Actually, the power off function is ...


12

I believe it’s a means of providing the ability to cancel a half-executed command. Imagine a user is 45% down a long page. The user attempts to perform a drag operation on the contents of the window (maybe to move an icon or select some text), but accidentally “catches” the scrollbar slider instead, resulting in scrolling page to X% down, and leaving the ...


11

I am not sure when Windows introduced that word, but if it was since Windows 95, as Bart Gijssens's answer claims, then Microsoft is not the first one to come up with the idea of recycling. NeXT STEP operating system introduced at around 1988 had a recycling mark as the icon for its counterpart. Microsoft may have gotten the idea from there. Your question ...


10

What mouse acceleration essentially does is applies a sort of logarithmic scale to the distance moved per milisecond based on the speed you are moving at. The general concept is that when you are moving the mouse faster, you are trying to move it to a point further away, so acceleration scaled the distance the pointer will move to be even more than you ...


10

Many bugs in the early days would result in a computer just restarting, so you needed to let someone know why it would be restarting if it was in the normal course of events. The logical way of doing this would be with a prompt, but considering that many installs were unattended, the delay was a good balance between informing the user what is happening ...


9

Red might be distracting but it also has a definite cultural association with "stop" or end, and that makes it intuitive right away. Often intuition is more important than power, or even ease of use. This is why we still see anachronistic icons like diskette to indicate save - of course the argument can be made that such a button is not intuitive to the ...


9

Two other features that are less intuitive in my opinion are: the fact that you can no longer select several taskbar items with ctrl+click. On XP, that was the way I used to close multiple windows. And not only does this not work now, but it does the exact opposite of what it used to do, creating another instance of the ctrl+clicked app. I've been using ...


9

It's pretty infuriating to ever have to move a dialog box that appears over the related content that was of interest, so I tend to observe the following hierarchy of rules, but the gist is that the more specific the context, the closer the dialog should be positioned. If the dialog is a context menu or similar to a context menu, position the top left at ...


9

My suggestion is to go for Tab + Filter combination.


9

If you have two groups of tabs, users may think they can only select one, regardless of where you place them. In general, we are familiar with the perception of only having one tab selected. I would suggest a similar approach as mentioned in another answer but with radio buttons rather than checkboxes as I believe you only want the user to select one "mode". ...


9

For content consumption, it may not be that important since the user is going to be focused on the content they are consuming. This is why such an interface works well on content consumption devices like tablets. For actually getting work done however, it is frequently critical to have multiple windows open in parallel. Looking at my desktop right now, I ...



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