Switcher's Log, Part 7: How can Apple be so brain dead about usability?

Everyone says that the reason they like the Mac and OS X is that it's so easy to use! I am not so sure that it's any easier to use than Windows XP. Yes OS X has some snazzy user interface frills and it's quite easy to use. But notwithstanding that some of these brain-dead UI decisions bely the reputation of unsurpassed usability:

  • Where is the menu? Even with two large screens attached to an OS X system, the menu bar is always glued to the top edge of the main screen. So I am looking at a little app running in the corner of my second display, and it's menu is at the top of the other screen. Huh?

  • What app is running? How about this one: I can close all the windows of an application, and it is still running, in fact it is the current application. The only way I can tell is by looking at the menu bar at the top of the main screen. Huh?

  • Resizing windows:The only way to resize most windows is by dragging around the right bottom corner, which can be off the screen or hidden. Oh and there is a kind of window that looks different (so called "brushed metal") where are the edges are resize handles - like windows - but there is no visual indication. Huh?

  • Keyboard Shortcuts everywhere Surprisingly there's a greater reliance on keyboard shortcuts on OS X than I ever saw on Windows. There are launchers to allow you to launch an app without looking for it on disk. Lots of useful functionality is only exposed with Shift-this or control-that or alt-the other thing. And then those wonderful little F-keys - a total of 16! But there are no keys to go to the start of a line (Control-A) or the end (Control-E). And no play, pause, etc. keys. Huh?
Posted on April 4, 2005 and filed under Technology.