Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Apr 2009 16:16 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the eleventh article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. After a rather long hiatus, this eleventh instalment will focus on bling, desktop effects, and compositing, and what they can contribute to the desktop experience.
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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Sat 4th Apr 2009 19:14 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

"Compiz' Cube effect is another good example of turning an inherently virtual and static concept into something more physical. I always hated virtual desktops, because the non-visible desktops simply didn't really exist anywhere."

The desktop pager on the taskbar/launchbar/whatver-you-call-it that any WM has shows where each is in relation to another. Generally speaking, '1' is in the top right, '2' is to left, etc etc, unless you like your layout different. The cube is really just bling.

"Wobbly windows is my all-time favourite Compiz plugin because it is The One plugin that turns windows from inanimate, virtual lumps of pixels into actual objects that have real-world properties: they bend and move as you drag them around, just like waving a piece of paper in front of you."

Wobbly windows are strictly eye candy. Many windows don't have a real-world counterpart. PDF files, sure, but not, say, 3D Studio MAX. Pieces of paper don't flutter on my desk, unless the window is open, but then they are fluttering down the hall. Besides, ever tried to read a piece of paper why it was fluttering? Not very easy.

You also left out the one feature of such window managers that is actually extremely useful: window previews. Hover over a taskbar entry in windows7 (and vista i think, too, though it's been a while), or in MacOS X on the dock, and you get a small, live preview of the window in question. Similarly, switching with alt-tab gives a quick preview, with win-tab a bigger one (though, that's mostly for eye candy, too).

Even that feature doesn't require a fully composited manager, though. The window preview during alt-tab was available in Windows XP via the task-switch powertoy.

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