Windows -- what would you change in interaction?

3 Apr 2008 - 11:57am
6 years ago
17 replies
839 reads
M S
2006

Hi everybody,

not to start holywar... I'm just curios... Many of us use Windows
everyday and I'm sure you've noticed things, you would be done
differently or something you really miss there...

What would you add? What would you change?

I really miss search box in "Add or Remove Programs" control panel applet.
Sometimes you know name of application you want to uninstall but dont
remember name of manufacturer and you have to scan whole list to find
the one you are looking for.

Another thing I miss is nice launcher for applications. Something,
that will support both mouse + keyboard (for search) and mouse only
interactions. I've tried bunch of solutions like Apple's dock
(RocketDock is nice one), but IMHO they are not very suitable for
Windows interaction ideology (when you have lot's of apps maximzed and
taskbar takes space at the bottom of screen).

Anyway, what are your thoughts on that?

--
Maxim

Comments

3 Apr 2008 - 12:20pm
stauciuc
2006

> What would you change?
>

..The past..?
--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

3 Apr 2008 - 12:52pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> What would you add? What would you change?
>

Might be better to ask what we *wouldn't* change. That list would be far
easier to write. :)

-r-

3 Apr 2008 - 1:30pm
Peyush Agarwal
2007

I won't make jokes on Microsoft OSs - making OS is a difficult job, and I'm sure we won't miss my contribution :)

However, I REALLY wish Windows would fix the following 3 things:

1. Focus stealers: I'm just sick and tired (juvenile enough?) of things starting up, usurping focus as though they were the most important thing on my machine, again and again and again. Just give me a setting whereby if anything needs my focus, it gets in line!!! And let me do what I wish to do right now.
2. Pop those balloons: The incessant ballooning is out of control. I need an EASY way to turn them off or control their behavior. For example, I don't need to know everytime a server mapping becomes un/available or that I must choose another network everytime my wireless goes missing. Yes they are important, but please, let me choose when/how to be informed.
3. Folder search UI: I can't believe how every time Microsoft touches the folder search UI, it only can make it worse. It used to be straight-up fields in windows NT. By XP, we have this bloated default UI that wants to ask me all these questions. Thinking about the mousework to navigate that is amazing - click 'when was it modified?', scroll down, select a radio button, mess with some drop-downs, click 'other search options'.... oh wait, did that actually show me anything more or just bump me up to the top? I could go on for a while. And quite recently there was a Windows update that changed the search UI further, without warning! I had to google around to get info on modifying registry to turn it off!
Just give me a switch to go between all this hand-holding and a fields-only UI that simply displays relevant fields.
And please, no animated animals (or clips). That's another thing to tweak when you first use search.

-Peyush

< Many of us use Windows everyday and I'm sure you've noticed things, you would be done differently or something you really miss there...

What would you add? What would you change?>

3 Apr 2008 - 2:18pm
M S
2006

> 3. Folder search UI: I can't believe how every time Microsoft touches the folder search UI, it only can make it worse.
> It used to be straight-up fields in windows NT. By XP, we have this bloated default UI that wants to ask me all these questions.
Yeah, I feel your pain as well. I cant really use Windows built-in (I
use XP) file search. Hard to explain why, may be I'm stupid, but I
dont always understand how it works. So for file operations I use
Total Comander (ex Windows Commander). I know, it's more for advanced
users, but it's pretty obsious to me how it works (even though it's
far from being perfect as well).

--
Maxim

3 Apr 2008 - 3:25pm
Michael Micheletti
2006

On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 10:57 AM, Maxim Soloviev <maxim at deast.info> wrote:

> What would you add? What would you change?
>

<rant>Several times a day I'm frustrated by file save dialogs that don't
remember the last place I saved a file two minutes ago in the same program.
Some clever developer was just so certain that all of us would always want
to save all of our files in the root My Documents folder... forever.</rant>

Then I come back to my faithful friend Photoshop and the Save for the Web
window works exactly how it ought to - remembering the last place I put a
file and offering that location the next time.

Michael Micheletti

3 Apr 2008 - 2:17pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Bring back Microsoft Bob, the Edsel of desktop applications!

Your comment about a launcher reminded me, Maxim ... There was a
shareware add-on for Windows, back in my 3.11 days, called "RIPbar"
... effectively a launchbar you could configure very neatly yourself.
Looked a little like the launchbar Windows created for MS Office. I
liked it, and it helped me keep my desktop very tidy, but it was
abandoned at about the time Windows moved from 16-bit to 32-bit
processing. The taskbar in Windows functions similarly today, but
isn't customized as easily and gets cluttered quickly.

I'd also change Windows' default behavior when you delete something
(this reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke: "You've just issued a command
which I'm about to execute, Dave. Are you SURE you want me to do
that?"). As long as you can recover deleted files from the Recycle
Bin, such messages only prompt needless keystrokes.

Likewise with almost every other Windows error message, most of which
give the end user no actionable information.

But my fundamental problem with Redmond is an economic one (another
important interaction). I've paid good money for five or six MS
operating systems, patched the hell out of them until they were
abandoned by their maker, and settled finally on Debian Linux --
which cost me little more than a long download. The occasional
configuration headaches with Linux and the Gnome desktop are nothing
to compare to Microsoft's bottomless security risks (Fred Langa, Tom
Coyote and others have noted for about two decades now that Windows
ships with most ports open by default, an invitation to hackers that
I've been forced to fix every time I reinstalled or reconfigured).

... Grumble grumble ... Had to ask, didn't you?

/back to lurk mode ...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27853

3 Apr 2008 - 6:48pm
Loren Baxter
2007

In a perfect world Windows would ship with Launchy

http://www.launchy.net/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27853

3 Apr 2008 - 11:00pm
M S
2006

> In a perfect world Windows would ship with Launchy
> http://www.launchy.net/
Very nice app, Loren, thank you. I'll give it a try.

--
Maxim

3 Apr 2008 - 11:13pm
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

> In a perfect world Windows would ship with Launchy

Windows? In a perfect world??

I kid.

4 Apr 2008 - 3:13am
AJ Kock
2007

1. Focus stealers: I'm just sick and tired (juvenile enough?) ...
2. Pop those balloons: ...

Oh thank you I am not alone on this. I dislike 2 but seriously dislike
1. You busy typing and IE throws a popup with a file you were busy
downloading being taken from the temp file and wham, you cancelled it
by accident because you were busy typing in word.

And Maxim, Total Commander is the second program I always install
after Windows. :)

4 Apr 2008 - 12:17pm
Anonymous

1) Oh, for tab completion in file-path fields!
2) Spotlight-esque search (does vista do that?)
3) The ability to keep programs open but loose the windows (a la os x)
thereby removing the load time.
4) Expose
5) A way to ensure that docking and undocking a laptop and using a
second screen doesn't swap the identities of the screens at random. It
might be a driver issue, but there should be an upstream method of
fixing it.

Well, those are my biggest quibbles.

8 Apr 2008 - 8:24am
zack Frazier
2007

No wait just a minute ...

Why are you assuming a developer was behind this? We just build it to
specification. I can tell you that I have held my nose more than a
couple of times over the years and implemented flawed functionality
that some clever IA came up with.

> <rant>... Some clever developer was just so certain that all of us
> would always want
> to save all of our files in the root My Documents folder...
> forever.</rant>

Developers lurk here too :)

Zack Frazier
--
Senior Developer
VSA Partners, Inc.
http://www.vsapartners.com

8 Apr 2008 - 1:32pm
Antoine RJ Wright
2008

I would make the quick launch replace the Start > Programs and let
that lie as a ribbon that can be toggled on/off on the desktop.

Instead of the entire task bar, I'd break it into two modules,
Start/Control Panel and Active Programs/Clock.
- the Start/Control would be just the Start button, movable anywhere.
Clicking on it give the power, run, search, and control panel
- the active program/clock would be a bar that goes no more than 3/4
the length or height of the screen; showing open programs grouped
with number of windows

After that, I'd redo the window chrome to not use the bars that are
there but only hover areas in the corners for menu (top left) and
move/close (top right) actions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27853

8 Apr 2008 - 5:53pm
Austin Mansu
2007

>In a perfect world Windows would ship with Launchy

Dash would also be handy: http://trydash.com/home/

There's a few extra features here to Launchy but they also come at a small price.

(What I wouldn't give to have Quicksilver on Windows).

Austin Mansu
Information Architect Executive | OneDigital Pty Limited
______________________________________________________________________

p. + 61 (0)2 9218 8904
f. + 61 (0)2 9211 4232
m. + 61 (0)411 015 232
e. austin.mansu at onedigital.com.au
w. www.onedigital.com.au

8 Apr 2008 - 11:03pm
Craig Pickering
2007

Make cut/copy/paste work consistenly in Windows own applications with
the right click popup menu so I don't have to keep switching between
mouse and keyboard unnecessarily.

E.g. why can't I right click in the calculator to copy a result but
have to use the Edit menu or Ctrl-c instead?

Same thing for some fields in Outlook appointments. I can use right
click and select in the Subject field but not a date field. Ctrl-c
works in both.

Or when trying to insert a hyperlink in a Word document. Right click
is ignored in the Text to Display and Address fields but Ctrl-c
works.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27853

9 Apr 2008 - 10:08am
Evan K. Stone
2008

The interesting thing about the suggestion/recommendation of Launchy and Dash is that they're both keystroke-oriented interfaces, and I find that fascinating, since it begins to show that for some users, the OS' [G]UI gets in the way and is not the most effective method of interaction.

It reminds me of the presentation by David Cronin at Interaction '08, in which he pretty much says the same thing regarding applications for day traders and systems they use, which have basically command-line interpreters built in since time is of the essence and it's actually quicker for them to enter in the commands and data than to try to point-and-click.

Thanks for recommending these utilities, since it certainly gets me thinking in other directions with regard to projects I'm working on (or may have to work on in the future), not just Windows or OS user interaction.

evan k. stone | ui guy | dragnet solutions, inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Austin Mansu
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 4:53 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Windows -- what would you change in interaction?

>In a perfect world Windows would ship with Launchy

Dash would also be handy: http://trydash.com/home/

There's a few extra features here to Launchy but they also come at a small price.

(What I wouldn't give to have Quicksilver on Windows).

Austin Mansu
Information Architect Executive | OneDigital Pty Limited
______________________________________________________________________

p. + 61 (0)2 9218 8904
f. + 61 (0)2 9211 4232
m. + 61 (0)411 015 232
e. austin.mansu at onedigital.com.au
w. www.onedigital.com.au

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

9 Apr 2008 - 10:52am
Brandon E.B. Ward
2008

The GUI was, IMHO, never intended to make things faster, just easier. The GUI brought computers to the rest of us who couldn't be bothered to learn command-line syntax and the mystical inner-workings of an 'invisible' machine.

Now, after years of use for some, some have become computer-savvy (whatever that means). Not to say we all speak l33t and can operate exclusively in the Terminal, but for me, as a GUI-user, I have also found that once I've mastered a task in the GUI, the next step is to find a way to do my mastered tasks faster. That's where Quicksilver comes into play ... and Macros, and some Terminal use, and the deeper config/preferences/advanced settings of my most-used apps, controls etc.

My $.25

B

On 4/9/08 9:08 AM, "Evan K. Stone" <evan.stone at dragnetsolutions.com> wrote:

The interesting thing about the suggestion/recommendation of Launchy and Dash is that they're both keystroke-oriented interfaces, and I find that fascinating, since it begins to show that for some users, the OS' [G]UI gets in the way and is not the most effective method of interaction.

Syndicate content Get the feed