I am developing a cross-platform application with a custom border. The window interactions buttons (minimize/maximize/close) are in the top right, like Windows. However, when the application is run on a Mac (or some desktop environments with Linux), this is on the opposite side of the system default (left). How big of a problem is this, and how much should I compromise the interface's design to fix? As you can see from the interface below, it would be very difficult to move the window interaction buttons to the left while keeping the interface looking good. I could add an additional line, but that would be a waste of space.

In a situation like this, how important is it to follow the system's standard? If it is important to alter, what can be done to fix it in the interface shown above?

  • OSX does not put application titles there, as it puts it in the menu bar...something that doesn't exist on Windows. As such, on OSX, those icons could certainly go to the left without too much trouble. If 'Trackbox' is a name of the window, rather than the application, then it should be centered to adhere to OSX conventions.
    – DA01
    Feb 4, 2014 at 7:21
  • 1
    I think your users won't care if your application runs in several devices, they'll care if runs on their device and follows the conventions of whatever system they are using.
    – jff
    Feb 4, 2014 at 7:55

2 Answers 2


Your application should meet the expectations of your users.

If your users are Mac users, then you should follow their expectations for how Mac applications should behave. The interaction design of your existing Windows application isn't as important as the interaction design that users expect. One of the major strengths of the Mac platform is the consistency, largely enforced by the development environment, that users can rely upon and leverage when using new-to-them applications. As you get further into your application development, make sure that you do things like match Mac users' expectations for keyboard shortcuts.

It isn't difficult to move the window's close/hide buttons to the place that Mac users expect it to be. Xcode will do this automatically for you, and it will take care of the placement of your application and window name too.


What do your users expect? Do they use your app mainly on their platform or personal device together with other apps? Do they mainly use your app exclusively and nothing else on one or more platforms or employer-provided devices?

If the former is true, they will expect your app to look and behave like the platform. If the latter, they would probably be confused by your app looking different on different platforms (assuming they are equivalent platforms like Mac/Linux/Windows, not ones that require adapted UI like desktop/mobile).

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