Re: Eliminate titlebar for maximized windows

On 20 Jan 2009, at 15:09, Jay Bee wrote:

IMHO, titlebar just wastes precious screen real estate so when an user
maxemizes a window the whole window border would grow outside the screen and dissappear, while the titlebar would be shrinked in the panel window
list (I used ubuntu-mobile window picker here).
That window list item would display title, restore and close buttons.
Clicking on the title would minimize the window so there is no need for
minimize button here.

What you're describing sounds similar to full screen mode (as seen in gnome-terminal, epiphany et al), but leaving the panels visible... and in some ways it does seem sub-optimal to support both maximised and full screen modes.

One problem with any full screen mode, though, is that all the usual points of reference for manipulating the window suddenly disappear, so the user's cognitive load is increased while they try to figure out how to restore the prior state. (Admittedly, that's also because many apps with a full screen mode tend to implement it somewhat differently... sometimes they leave a mini-titlebar, sometimes a floating toolbar, sometimes nothing at all-- the HIG does recommend a standard way of doing it, but it doesn't seem to be very popular.)

FWIW, the titlebar does have another use in maximised mode, for some people-- it allows the maximised window to be rolled-up/shaded, by double-clicking. Again, that *could* be done via the menu in the window list instead, for example, but forcing the user to do the same task differently depending on which mode is in effect does tend to trouble usability folks...

Another thing I would like to discuss is the menu bar... almost every
window has it and I think most users use it rarely

That sounds like a fairly sweeping generalisation to me-- show us your user data :)

FWIW, OS X implements one possible compromise for both the issues you raise, by having a button in the titlebar for toggling the display of the toolbar-- in GNOME's case, it could toggle the display of the menu bar as well. You'd still lose the titlebar real estate in maximised mode, but at least with one extra click you could hide all the other extraneous stuff, with a consistent way to bring it back again. (With the added advantage that you could also hide that stuff when the window wasn't maximised, if you wished...)


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson sun com            OpenSolaris Desktop Team             +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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