Friday, January 04, 2013

In Which I Demand More Windows

What is the deal with new versions of applications not wanting to have multiple windows? Is this some new trend among designers?

I finally upgraded to Office 2010 at work recently (kicking and screaming, because I needed the newest whiz-bang Excel formatting for a particular project), only to find that Outlook searches all now run in the main window. That's horrible -- the whole point of a search is to hive it off in its own little window, so you can refer to it, and do other things while it's searching away.

I've also been avoiding upgrading to the newest iteration of iTunes, since that also, apparently, doesn't allow the user to create any additional windows. (So this clearly isn't either a MS or an Apple thing -- both of those bastards are doing it.) Again, I usually have at least five iTunes windows open at a time, because I'm building a playlist or just playing music in one window while I sync various devices in another window.

And what I'm seeing of Windows 8 looks like the worst aspects of both of those multiplied, all sleek surfaces and one-thing-at-a-time-ness.

Programmers: your users like multiple sessions. We like control. We like doing what we want to do, and not waiting for your system to get back to us. Put it back the way it was, or we will be forced to hurt you.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't understand this either. There's a long Q/Answers about it on the user experience stack exchange site:

What's frustrating, as some of the answers above describe, is that all the developers (and product engineers like me) at my software development company always have multiple windows open and usually multiple screens too. Connected to this is the full-screen-as-default in some apps. NO, I don't want to only look at your app!

Joel said...

I think this is a result of everyone pushing to make sure their products work on tablets. It's very annoying.

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