Do we really need a new way to close a window?



  • Went to an image-hosting website.  When I click on a thumbnail of one of my pictures it opens a window containing the full size version of the picture and links to use when posting the picture to a website or forum.  To close the window you have to click on an "x" located in the LOWER RIGHT of the window  On another website, I'm looking at products they have for sale and click on a thumbnail which opens a window with a larger picture of the item.  To close the window you have to click on an "x" located in the UPPER LEFT.

    WTF?  Hasn't closing a window using an "x" located in the UPPER RIGHT been a standard on every program on every major operating system for a really long time? I know that "usability" can be a very controversial subject, but, WTF are these people thinking?



  • @El_Heffe said:

    Hasn't closing a window using an "x" located in the UPPER RIGHT been a standard on every program on every major operating system for a really long time?

    Unless you're a Mac user, yes.



  •  You click on the X?  I always just key Alt+F4.  Friend of mine does Alt, Space, C (but then he always was a little odd).



  • @da Doctah said:

    You click on the X? I always just key Alt+F4. Friend of mine does Alt, Space, C (but then he always was a little odd).

    I tend to avoid using the keyboard as much as possible.   I didn't even know about Alt-Space-C.  WTF!!  It really works!!

     



  • I have to use a RTL-language version of windows at work and most of the programs are showing the minimize/maximize/close buttons on the upper right corner (all the ui is reversed too, start on right, tray on left, etc, etc.)... This is irritating but i've learned a new trick, you can double click the system menu icon to close a window :)

     It's also funny to see how many programs get their UI fucked up after assuming that everything is LTR.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    Hasn't closing a window using an "x" located in the UPPER RIGHT been a standard on every program on every major operating system for a really long time?

    Unless you're a Mac user, yes.


    Or Ubuntu (starting from 10.04).



  • @bdew said:

    This is irritating but i've learned a new trick, you can double click the system menu icon to close a window :)

    That's an old trick: in Windows 3.1 (and possibly older: I only started using computers properly in 1992) double clicking that menu was the only way to close the window with the mouse. It's handy as it still works in Windows 7, though there's no icon there any more.



  •  The setting should be system-wide. That's most important for me. The problem is that most websites don't upen pop ups any more, they just make some div or whatever magically appear using javascript. To close those divs (or rather: hide them again), they just place a "X" somewhere. They can't access your system configuration, so they may be anywhere. Top left, lower right,  or in the middle of the "window". Not-so-good.

     

    When Ubuntu first moved the close button to the top left I thought it was stupid and the first thing I did was putting it back to the upper right corner. When I updated to Ubuntu 10.10, it moved to the upper left again - and this time I gave it a chance.

    Now I think it's a good idea. If a window is maximised, the close button is right next to the application menu, so closing an application and starting another one instead is faster than before. Other than that, it's not much of a difference for me. I got used to it pretty fast.

     

    Edit: I also remember closing windows by double-clicking the top left corner in win 3.11. There was no X button, instead it was an ugly square containing a "-" (dash). :)



  •  @El_Heffe said:

    @da Doctah said:
    You click on the X? I always just key Alt+F4. Friend of mine does Alt, Space, C (but then he always was a little odd).

    I tend to avoid using the keyboard as much as possible.   I didn't even know about Alt-Space-C.  WTF!!  It really works!!

    I usually press Ctrl+W (less cumbersome) or middle+left mouse buttons (requires mouse gestures addon). The latter is pretty convenient because I can click (almost) anywhere to close a browser window.



  • Window?

    A lightbox that lets you close it using Esc, and doesn't have a two-second animation is ok, everything else is annoying.

    Damn hipster web developers with their non-standard UI paradigms.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    I tend to avoid using the keyboard as much as possible. 
     

    PROTIP: don't.

     Keyboard shortcuts are awesome.



  • @da Doctah said:

     You click on the X?  I always just key Alt+F4.  Friend of mine does Alt, Space, C (but then he always was a little odd).

     

    Alt+F4 is bloody cumbersome. Hardly any less than Alt+Space, C.

    For dialogs, I hit Esc as much as possible, because  Esc is one of the most easily acquired keys.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    Hasn't closing a window using an "x" located in the UPPER RIGHT been a standard on every program on every major operating system for a really long time?

    Unless you're a Mac user, yes.

     

    Ubuntu 10 puts 'em in the top left again.

    Fuckers.

    Ugly, ugly skin to boot.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    WTF?  Hasn't closing a window using an "x" located in the UPPER RIGHT been a standard on every program on every major operating system for a really long time? I know that "usability" can be a very controversial subject, but, WTF are these people thinking?

     

    Close buttons are only the tip of the iceberg. What really annoys me is the placement/order of standard OK/Cancel/Whatever buttons in desktop applications. Did you ever want to confirm something but pressed Cancel (or Reset Form in case of web apps) instead?

    On Windows, those buttons usually are grouped in the lower right and ordered Affirmative/Negative/Cancel/Apply/Help. Examples: Yes/No/Cancel. OK/Cancel/Apply. Register now/Register later/STFU. You get the drill. We even have guidelines stating the (apparently not so) obvious.

    Granted, these conventions may differ between platforms. But it seems that a lot of software I use orders buttons randomly. Sometimes Help is on the left, sometimes OK on the middle, sometimes even different dialogs in the same application order buttons differently. Is a little consistency too much to ask for? Sigh.

    Filed under: TRWTF is MB_CANCELTRYCONTINUE



  • @dhromed said:

    Ugly, ugly skin to boot.

    Which bits do you hate so much?

    I have to admit I don't have much of a concept of "ugly" when it comes to OSes or apps. I really don't care how ugly Word or VS or Outlook is, as long as it let's me type my mails, compile my programs and read my mails. Ubuntu let's me do my shit and Linux devs are also getting around to the idea that haviing a UI can be as much fun as editing a .config file, so I'm good.



  • @Juifeng said:

    Now I think it's a good idea. If a window is maximised, the close button is right next to the application menu, so closing an application and starting another one instead is faster than before. Other than that, it's not much of a difference for me. I got used to it pretty fast.

    The original point, from Mac Classic (motto: the OS that actually gave a shit), was that by putting the Close box far away from the other window management icons, it reduced accidental clicks on it. That is, people trying to zoom the window won't accidentally click Close by mistake and lose their work. Still a good idea, and OSes that put the Close icon right next to the others are still misisng the damn point. Thus the Close box on the far left, and the other icons on the far right.

    (Although, to be fair, Close isn't as destructive as it used to be, what with "unsaved changes" dialogs and the such. Still, web browser "apps" which can't put up dialogs like that could really use the reduction in accidental closes.)

    Mac Classic was designed, from scratch. Every other OS just kind of congealed.



  • @SpComb said:

    A lightbox that lets you close it using Esc, and doesn't have a two-second animation is ok, everything else is annoying.
    I accept the Esc key for closing the lightbox, but don't forget simply clicking outside of it.



  • Button Locations

    I've got a similar problem with a copier/printer. Depending on whether you are scanning, copying or faxing, the printer asks you either 'Is this the last page' or 'Is there another page'. Needless to say, the question is hidden in small text, with big 'Yes' and 'No' buttons.
    But the software in those things is usually designed at random.



  • @b-redeker said:

    I really don't care how ugly Word or VS or Outlook is, as long as it let's me type my mails, compile my programs and read my mails.
     

    I thought that too, then I remembered people actually like Aero, and that there's probably at least one person out there using this.



  • @scgtrp said:

    @b-redeker said:

    I really don't care how ugly Word or VS or Outlook is, as long as it let's me type my mails, compile my programs and read my mails.
     

    I thought that too, then I remembered people actually like Aero, and that there's probably at least one person out there using this.

    OK, I now have a concept of ugly, thanks. Sadly, I won't be able to use my eyes for the next 4-6 weeks.



  • @scgtrp said:

    then I remembered people actually like Aero
     

    I like Aero. I like OSX better, and I used to like Ubunut/GNOME better too.

    @scgtrp said:

    at least one person out there using this.

    Some people are functionally blind when it comes to aesthetics. That's okay I guess. And it's not as though I actually notice how purdy purdy the OS is when I'm using it and know what I'm doing. That stuff just doesn't get processed when your brain is in functional mode.



  •  The OS can be pretty and useful at the same time, but somehow the global tendance is to fuck up the "useful" part of it.

    The purdy little circles at the top left of MacOsX are the first that come to mind. They might be pretty, but their purpose is a mystery. 

    In Windows "Classic" theme (Windows 2000 look) the magic corners were completely lost. A major fuckup, because the "classic" theme was present up to Windows 2008 and remained basically intact. Fortunately, the MS Office team finally played with the concept of mile high menus, and I have yet to see how Windows 7 deals with it.



  •  @Kiss me I'm Polish said:

    Fortunately, the MS Office team finally played with the concept of mile high menus, and I have yet to see how Windows 7 deals with it.

     When I first used Office 2007, I could not figure out how to save, print, anything like that.  Finally, about 5 minutes after basically giving up, the "Office Button" started to blink.  So.  Microsoft trials probably indicated that users did not recognize the Office Button as a button, and they had to go back, and program a timer to go off, to highlight the fact that the glossy decoration is actually a button.

    The MS Office Ribbon has driven me over to Open Office completely.  How much do you want to bet that Oracle will decide to copy MS Office, and implement a ribbon?

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    Hasn't closing a window using an "x" located in the UPPER RIGHT been a standard on every program on every major operating system for a really long time?

    Unless you're a Mac user, yes.

    It's been a while, but Amiga[D]OS Workbench also placed the "close" button at the upper-left corner (like Windows 3.1, but it was only single-click and there was no menu there) while the upper-right corner was used for other controls ("push to back" and "pull to front" up through 1.3, then "toggle depth" and "toggle size" for 2.0 and onward).



  • @@Deprecated said:

     When I first used Office 2007, I could not figure out how to save, print, anything like that. 

    I've now used it for over a year and I'm still occasionally confused about really simple shit that I used to be able to do (whyTF is ToC under references? Why is cropping a picture hidden so well?). I don't hate it with a passion anymore though, and some of the new stuff is occasionally actually useful. Still, you have to wonder how many people they chased away. The old interface worked. Tweak it, don't throw everything away, darn it.



  • @@Deprecated said:

    The MS Office Ribbon has driven me over to Open Office completely.  How much do you want to bet that Oracle will decide to copy MS Office, and implement a ribbon?
    [quote user="http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2006/11/21/licensing-the-2007-microsoft-office-user-interface.aspx"]You can use the UI in open source projects as long as the license
    terms are consistent with our license. You can use it on any platform:
    Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. If you're an ISV, you can build and sell a set
    of controls based on the new Office UI.

    There's only one limitation: if you are building a program which directly competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the Microsoft applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free license.[/quote](emphasis mine)



  • @b-redeker said:

    @@Deprecated said:

     When I first used Office 2007, I could not figure out how to save, print, anything like that. 

    I've now used it for over a year and I'm still occasionally confused about really simple shit that I used to be able to do (whyTF is ToC under references? Why is cropping a picture hidden so well?). I don't hate it with a passion anymore though, and some of the new stuff is occasionally actually useful. Still, you have to wonder how many people they chased away. The old interface worked. Tweak it, don't throw everything away, darn it.

    The number of people having trouble finding the menu is offset entirely by the number of people finding dozens of features that Office has always had, but nobody knew they had because the UI was so awful. Of course geeks hate it because:

    1) It's Microsoft

    2) They (by and large) hate any kind of change

    Seriously-- you'd rather go back to the mass of menus, toolbars, and dialogs we had before? Office 2003 wasn't exactly terrible, but it certainly had been shoved against the limits of the traditional Windows UI conventions for a rather long time. Every time Microsoft asked their Office users for feature suggestions, the vast majority of suggestions were for features they already had but people simply couldn't find, or effectively use.

    (Proving of course that if the UI for your feature sucks, your feature does not exist. In practical terms.)

    In my opinion, they didn't go far enough with the Ribbon interface-- they should have nuked and restarted the keyboard shortcuts, too. I definitely understand why they didn't, though.

    I also am impressed with how non-Lotus-Notes-y the whole thing was. Microsoft looked at their flagship product, the product they make a majority of their income from, decided the UI sucked, and *changed almost everything*. Not a lot of companies have the courage to mess with their flagship products like that. Office 2003 -> 2007 has to be the biggest amount of change for any piece of "enterprise" software in history. Every other company trying something similar, like Adobe for example, is failing miserably, because they don't have the guts to tear the old UI out and start over from first principles.



  • @@Deprecated said:

    The MS Office Ribbon has driven me over to Open Office completely.  How much do you want to bet that Oracle will decide to copy MS Office, and implement a ribbon?


    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it didn't take Oracle to jump on that bandwagon.



  • @Zecc said:

    @SpComb said:

    A lightbox that lets you close it using Esc, and doesn't have a two-second animation is ok, everything else is annoying.
    I accept the Esc key for closing the lightbox, but don't forget simply clicking outside of it.

    Depends on the content. For an image, sure, but i'd be mighty peeved if a box popped up with some kind of important form inside and closed because I happened to click on what I thought was an empty region of the page.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Of course geeks hate it because:
    1) It's Microsoft
    2) They (by and large) hate any kind of change

    Not being a standard geek, those 2 reasons don't apply to me. Also, I think I indicated why I don't like it instead.

    @blakeyrat said:

    The number of people having trouble finding the menu is offset entirely by the number of people finding dozens of features that Office has always had, but nobody knew they had because the UI was so awful.

    That'd be interesting. Do you have any statistics? Anecdotal evidence (colleagues complaining) seems to indicate the opposite.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Of course geeks hate it because:
    1) It's Microsoft
    2) They (by and large) hate any kind of change

    Not being a standard geek, those 2 reasons don't apply to me. Also, I think I indicated why I don't like it instead.

    @blakeyrat said:

    The number of people having trouble finding the menu is offset entirely by the number of people finding dozens of features that Office has always had, but nobody knew they had because the UI was so awful.

    That'd be interesting. Do you have any statistics? Anecdotal evidence (colleagues complaining) seems to indicate the opposite.



  • @b-redeker said:

    That'd be interesting. Do you have any statistics? Anecdotal evidence (colleagues complaining) seems to indicate the opposite.
    I remember borrowing a book on programming Word years ago (IIRC, it was around Office 97), and in the introduction to the book, the author wrote that before writing the book, he asked various people what functionality would they add if they knew how to use VBA. Apparently most of them wanted to do something that Word already did, so the first 200 or so pages (of over 500) were dedicated to an in-depth course on what Word already offered.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    The number of people having trouble finding the menu is offset entirely by the number of people finding dozens of features that Office has always had, but nobody knew they had because the UI was so awful.

    That'd be interesting. Do you have any statistics? Anecdotal evidence (colleagues complaining) seems to indicate the opposite.

    Hit up Jensen Harris' blog, he should have the numbers you're looking for.

    BTW, colleagues complaining makes precisely dick. (To quote Men in Black.) People frequently complain about things that are measurably better than before.

    For (made-up) example, a Ribbon user might very well be complaining that he "couldn't find" the Print Preview function, but if you benchmarked him, it would turn out that he *did* find it significantly faster than he did in the old version.



  • @ender said:

    Apparently most of them wanted to do something that Word already did

    Oh, that part I believe. I think that could well be true for any program with more than 10 options. The thing is, I'm not convinced the new interface is any better, precisely because everybody complains "where did my ... go" and nobody (well, except Blakey) says "oh, finally, just what I needed, thank heavens and I never knew all this shit was already in the program".

    Those blog posts seem interesting, so I'll bookmark those. Thx.



  • I wonder how many people knew about Outline Mode? I guess not enough, because they did away with that, and it was one of my favourite features for working with technical documentation.

    I must have spent a good hour hunting around the new interface looking for it, before I found out online that it had been removed.

    I read about some workarounds, but they weren't as nice.

     

    BTW, your thread has been hijacked for the purposes of MS bashing.  Mwa ha ha.



  • @@Deprecated said:

    I wonder how many people knew about Outline Mode? I guess not enough, because they did away with that, and it was one of my favourite features for working with technical documentation.

    I must have spent a good hour hunting around the new interface looking for it, before I found out online that it had been removed.

    I read about some workarounds, but they weren't as nice.

     

    BTW, your thread has been hijacked for the purposes of MS bashing.  Mwa ha ha.



  •  Ooops, um heh heh.

    That was a while ago.  What I was missing was "Outline Numbering".  

    Well, that's what I get for going just from memory.

     

    PS and WTF? Why did I remember that as "No Outline Mode".  Now that's scary.



  • @@Deprecated said:

     Ooops, um heh heh.

    That was a while ago.  What I was missing was "Outline Numbering".  

    Well, that's what I get for going just from memory.

     

    PS and WTF? Why did I remember that as "No Outline Mode".  Now that's scary.

    Ok, well, I don't know what that is, and all of that blog entry's links are broken, so I'm afraid you don't get a condescending and insulting image as a reply this time.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Mac Classic was designed, from scratch.

    True, but a lot of the GUI concept WAS 'borrowed' from Xerox. I briefly used an ICL Perq (rebadged Xerox, basically) workstation some while before Macs appeared.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Seriously-- you'd rather go back to the mass of menus, toolbars, and dialogs we had before?

    Definitely. But then, I never really left it. :) Office [anything-later-then-2003] invariably slows me down while I try to remember where they've moved everything, or drum my fingers each time Help uselessly 'phones home' to present the exact same options (but in a more difficult to read format) than the built-in local Help file. All of which kills my productivity for an hour or so. And then does the same at home, when I go back to the 'real' Office UI in Office 2003. And yes, I HAVE used Office since the very first Windows version of Word, before you ask.

    All you say is probably right for new or recent users, but I'm one of the 'old guard' who has spent decades using (and learning to use) things the 'old way.' Your motto seems to be 'it's provably better, so get with the program and quit griping, bud.' Sorry, but that's not for me, and if that makes me a belligerent old fart, and in the minority who will stick with Office 2003 forever, then so be it. That's Microsoft's loss IMHO.

    And also, the light blue they use for the Ribbon is a horrible colour which is Not Good for my eyes. (No doubt you'll now tell me there's an easy way to change that.)



  • @Cad Delworth said:

    And also, the light blue they use for the Ribbon is a horrible colour which is Not Good for my eyes. (No doubt you'll now tell me there's an easy way to change that.)
    There isn't really - in Options there's a choice of eye-burning blue, too bright light grey and somewhat usable darker grey (called black, though I fail to see anything black about it) themes.



  • @Cad Delworth said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Seriously-- you'd rather go back to the mass of menus, toolbars, and dialogs we had before?

    Definitely. But then, I never really left it. :) Office [anything-later-then-2003] invariably slows me down while I try to remember where they've moved everything, or drum my fingers each time Help uselessly 'phones home' to present the exact same options (but in a more difficult to read format) than the built-in local Help file. All of which kills my productivity for an hour or so. And then does the same at home, when I go back to the 'real' Office UI in Office 2003. And yes, I HAVE used Office since the very first Windows version of Word, before you ask.

    So what? I've been using Word since Word for DOS and it took me only a week to get more productive in Office 2007 than in Office 2003.


  • Just want to add my two cents on this whole debate.

    I've used OpenOffice pretty much exclusively before switching to Office 2010, and everything was pretty easy to find for me. I think if the ribbon showed up in a brand-new office suite that didn't share it's branding with one with a different UI, people wouldn't complain as much.

    And I'm also upset this thread derailed into yet another office ribbon flamewar thread so quickly. I was so looking forward to calling Gnome users idiots (KDE ftw!) and pointing out that OSX moved the go and prepare to stop zoom and whatever-the-hell-they-call-their-version-of-minimize buttons over to by the left side with stop close, so the fact that they're on the left is pretty much a moot point.



  • @MiffTheFox said:

    And I'm also upset this thread derailed into yet another office ribbon flamewar thread so quickly. I was so looking forward to calling Gnome users idiots (KDE ftw!) and pointing out that OSX moved the go and prepare to stop zoom and whatever-the-hell-they-call-their-version-of-minimize buttons over to by the left side with stop close, so the fact that they're on the left is pretty much a moot point.

    But how do you really feel about Gnome users?



  • @Juifeng said:

    I also remember closing windows by double-clicking the top left corner in win 3.11. There was no X button, instead it was an ugly square containing a "-" (dash). :)

     

    'Twas not a dash, but a spacebar.  Which is why Alt+Space brought up that menu of more-or-less universal commands like Maximize, Restore, Move, Size, etc.  There was often a smaller "ugly square" with an actual dash (if by dash you mean hyphen) in applications that allowed you to work on multiple documents; that menu let you do similar things to just one document subwindow.

    In fact, Alt+Space still brings up that menu.  The "ugly square" is now an indecipherable miniature program icon instead, so you don't get the visual hint intended by the Win3 designers that the spacebar is involved.  And for us atavistic types, double-clicking that icon still closes the window.



  • @MiffTheFox said:

    And I'm also upset this thread derailed into yet another office ribbon flamewar thread so quickly. I was so looking forward to calling Gnome users idiots (KDE ftw!) and pointing out that OSX moved the go and prepare to stop zoom and whatever-the-hell-they-call-their-version-of-minimize buttons over to by the left side with stop close, so the fact that they're on the left is pretty much a moot point.
    Hey, go ahead and call Gnome users idiots anyway!  However, don't expect them to understand: insults was deprecated from the HIG (since only a third of the users use them (even though all of that third are developers)) so the feature for understanding them has been removed from their interfaces.

    Also, fwiw, while I am a Unix/Linux guy and am inclined to use command lines over mousing around, I think the ribbon interface is just fine.  I eschew facy Word feature, preferring to use a word processor as a word processor.  As such, the simplified and logically grouped buttons are very welcome. The interface style shouldn't be applied universally, but it's far nicer than the eyesore of teeny 16x16 splotches of color and vague/misleading menu categories. (The email headers are under View > Options?  WTF Outlook 2003!)

    I did not find the new interface difficult or confusing, but then, I use Linux and so must be a sucker for poor interfaces, amirite?



  • @Xyro said:

    I use Linux and so must be a sucker for poor interfaces, amirite?

    You mean you're a Gnome user?



  • FWIW, I enjoyed that 90 min video explaining the origin of the ribbon. It managed to leave wanting to try it.

    Some of those usage statistics really surprised me.



  • @Zecc said:

    FWIW, I enjoyed that 90 min video explaining the origin of the ribbon. It managed to leave wanting to try it.

    Some of those usage statistics really surprised me.

    Highly, highly recommend you watch that if you haven't already. Or even just go through the slides with no audio. Amazing, amazing work.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Zecc said:

    FWIW, I enjoyed that 90 min video explaining the origin of the ribbon. It managed to leave wanting to try it.

    Some of those usage statistics really surprised me.

    Highly, highly recommend you watch that if you haven't already. Or even just go through the slides with no audio. Amazing, amazing work.

    How hot is the chick wearing that ribbon? And can I fast forward to the point where she gets naked?


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.