Is Maximized Window Faster to Use?

When started using Macs, my main issue was lack of maximizing applications’ windows control. At the time of this writing I still haven’t found the maximize shortcut, so if there is one, I’d be happy to know about it.

In Usable GUI Design: A Quick Guide for F/OSS Developers, the author summarizes Fitts’ law:

  1. Make commonly used controls larger and distinctive.
  2. Use the edges and corners of the screen to make your controls virtually infinite.
  3. Never, ever put controls 1 pixel away from a screen edge or corner.

In Mac browsers, window controls are anything but virtually infinite (they are even not anywhere near a screen corners or edges). What’s more, there’s no easy and obvious way to resize the window to occupy the whole screen. Scrolling up and down through a web page could be performed by scrolling the mouse wheel, if the default mouse would have one.

If applications’ window is maximized (and controls are virtually infinite), one can move mouse pointer really fast to a corner or edge of the screen – and perform the desired action pretty quickly.

Sure, experienced users usually use a keyboard to navigate through an application, but from my point of view – being user-friendly is mostly about making unexperienced users’ life easier. Power-users will customize their preferences anyway.

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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