30 May 2005

Mezzo bashing

Symphony Operating System

It is becoming popular today to have a whack at Mezzo. We all are busy, so let's head straight to the case:
* It is quite unclear how the 'corner targets' should work and how the workspace should actually be layered.
I suggest such scheme:
- bottom layer would be similar to the Workspace soncept, but: desklets should definately be resizable, positionable and manageable (preferably from one menu/application for all desklets, so I can easily kill a desklet that I accidentaly 'lost' somewhere or add a desklet to the desktop from a list of all desklets). Some desklets could acctually be portals to some on-disk folders thus easing the transition for people that do want to store something on the desktop. Also the managerie fits into this layer (customisable position and size, please)
- above that a layer of application windows would be.
- above the application would be layers that would emerge from the corner target buttons when pressed. I would suggest using a close-to-realworld experience and make these buttons like drawers - much like the Dasher. That is, when any of these buttons is pressed, a separate workspace layer comes over covering all aplications. The corner target button is pressed and if you click it again it will depress removing the layer. Some controls on the layer expand when pressed ('Find' on the documents layer can simply produce a text input box underneath it when pressed) or change the layer. Others launch an application (documents, programms). When that happends we 'fall back' into application layer and the target layer disapears (imagine animation of a document icon falling down and unfolding into the application window).
* within this concept trash target has no sence and should be replaced by a 'Desktop target' and a 'Trashcan' entery in the Computer target
* You will not be able to get away from categories in "Settings" and "Tasks" areas, especially without creating too much of interface clutter, but you can optimise these categories to make them expandable right inside the Computer layer and maybe even make some settings adjustable directly form the layer - imagine a volume control bar embeded into the computer layer. Same with 'Other programms'
* One must be very carefull not to obsure any usable content by the target buttons in any application window, when it's maximized (most people always have their main application in a maximized window)
* That also brings up a point of task switching when one window is maximised - that is a normal situation, how does one switch windows in such scenario?
* What is the purpose of "Close" buttons on each target layer?
* Going back to application windows - what is the motivation to move 'Minimize' and 'Maximize' buttons to the left side?
* I oftern find it useful to be able to close an inactive aplication with one click on its 'Close' buton instead of two clicks or four mose movements (navigate mouse to the window, one click to activate it, navigate mouse to 'Close' button, click it)
* Without side and bottom border, window title on the top is huge and does not fit anymore
* Window handles ticking out of the active window look ugly and do not have any functional meaning untill the window is to be resized. How about showing them only when mouse cursor is close to one corner?
Well, I think I am mostly done :)
It is of course interesting to see new design concepts and I hope it evolves into something both usable and valuable.


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