Hot answers tagged

215

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 ...


109

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 ...


96

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 ...


45

If I understand you correctly, you have a window that automatically saves changes for the user as they adjust items. Currently you have a button that say "Close" on this window. Your clients are requesting you to rename this to "Save and Exit". But since the save action has already happened while they're making the changes, the button really just closes the ...


38

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 ...


27

Update: In Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite and later, it seems the zoom button has been replaced by the fullscreen button. The green widget no longer contains a plus sign, but two outward-pointing arrows, and places the window in fullscreen mode. To zoom a window, you now option-click this button. The green button isn't for maximizing. If you want to maximize, use ...


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 ...


23

The window expands to fit the content, and don't add additional whitespace like windows OS does. Now let’s look at Apple’s website in Safari. Notice the first image below is a very small window with both vertical and horizontal scrollbars. The second image shows what the window looks like after clicking the Zoom button. Again, it takes up all of the ...


19

Drag & drop is absolutely an expected behavior to support. It's like asking "Should we support keyboard shortcuts?". While the feature may not be used by the majority of users, the ones that do use it really rely on it.


17

This is an old element inherited since Windows 3.1 where the interface of the applications didn't have the, now common, "X" to close them. Before, on the top right there was a menu that you could access with the combination Alt+space and one of the options, the main one, was close. The double click basically activates the main option of that menu. ...


14

Adding a Save button to your auto-saving window would be a bad idea. It would suggest to the user that closing the window without pushing Save would revert the changes — which would be wrong, and highly misleading. Then remains the fact that the users are worried that their changes could be lost. You should add a discreet message saying "Saved" when ...


12

I love this question, and I love that you asked it. Points given. I also think it's fundamentally misunderstanding how we approach to adaptive/responsive design - which is really not surprising since we're on a UX board and not a product design board. UX designers, almost by definition, aren't front end engineers. Because there's a bounty on this, I'm ...


10

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 ...


10

This is not good UX and wouldn't be considered best practice by any user experience experts, except in extreme circumstances such as warning workers in a dangerous environment that something was seriously wrong. Not a typical desktop application ! The reason is simply that the software has been lazily implemented in this particular context. Or possibly ...


9

I am always amazed at people who think their way of using a computer is the only way there is. Having several windows side by side can be useful and productive. And in some user cases, it's not only "nice", it's vital. proofreading a translation: Source on one side, translation on the other. Working with one window at a time is unworkable. Programming: ...


9

Because a lot of the time it's a good idea. Way back when I had a Unix GUI set up not to do this and it was just as annoying as focus-on-open. The problem is this: most of the time when you open a program, it's because you want to interact with it. Not switching to the new application immediately means that your starting a program process requires a ...


8

First of all, we have been able to combine windows into one taskbar item since Windows XP, but by default it would happen only when there was no space left. Windows 7 started combining application instances from the get-go. In addition, XP & Vista taskbars would show the number of windows combined under one button: In Windows 7 & 8, taskbar ...


7

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 ...


7

I would hope that it is not controversial to say that multiple on-screen windows are extremely important or even essential for many computer tasks. For web-browsing tasks as well, especially with how many tasks can now be performed via a web browser, there are certainly many cases where seeing multiple browser windows at once is important to the user. But ...


6

Even if a case could be made that people only use one window at a time, they do switch windows, and one of the quickest/easiest ways to switch windows (or modes) is to click on another window, which is only possible if the other window is (at least partially) visible. The overlapping-mouse-selectable-windows model is so useful, versatile and easy to learn ...


6

Simply put, the human brain is more effective when it can visualise (in spacial reference terms) the presence of different states while working. This does not mean that the user will be physically looking at both states simultaneously, but needs to be aware of them. The question is, where to draw the line of what a "state" is defined as. Can "state" be ...


5

Raymond Chen (legendary Microsoft dev) is renowned for his opinions on this topic. As it happens, the post I've linked to includes one case where this behavior might be considered reasonable: This application will be run on dedicated machines which operate giant monitors in retail stores. There are already other applications running on the computer which ...


4

Google themselves have answered this question: Gmail's new compose and reply experience You can now write messages in a cleaner, simpler experience that puts the focus on your message itself, not all the features around it. Here are some of the highlights: Fast: Compose messages right from your inbox. Simple: Redesigned with a clean, ...


4

Drag-and-Drop is a lot easier and I prefer it over "Browse-Locate-Upload" Function whenever it comes to attaching files to email, creating albums or upload files to drop-box. With Drag-and-Drop, you use your favorite image browser and locate the file more easily then using a small "Locate File Dialogue Box" which often doesn't show preview and locating a ...


4

Visual Studio actually also has their panels available as seperate windows. Just drag something out of the main window to see it in action. VS has way more docking options available for displaying and arranging them within the main window. You can even create other "main" windows by dragging documents and toolbars out. It really doesn't sound like you ...


4

Modal windows opening up other modal windows is a recipe for disaster. An approach you should consider has two components; a form editor and form navigation. If the forms are sequential in nature or nested, then a navigational component, similar to mileposts will help the user know where they are in the sequence, and facilitate navigation to previous stages/...


4

Short answer: Yes, there are studies that have been conducted and the results suggest that docked window framework is extremely useful for applications that involve constant multitasking. A recent study conducted by H. Shibata and K. Omura suggest that docking really improves the user experience of working on the application as well as increase in the ...


3

There are lots of tasks which require two simultaneous views (e.g. typesetting sheet music from a scanned PDF, debugging a software etc.). If the two views are not contained in one single application, or it does not support view docking, it is necessary to have multiple windows next to each other.


3

If this is on OSX, the Preferences go in the "App name" menu, not in Help. And that should only feature actual preferences and settings. Contact and Support/documentation do go in Help. It's not a preference to look at documentation. You could have an "About" popup, accessed from the Help menu, similar to what you have now. This could feature these options: ...


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