Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 17th Mar 2003 22:49 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces So many operating systems and so many graphical desktop environments... This article is a comparison of the UI and usability of several Desktop Environments (DEs), that have been widely used, admired and reviled: Windows XP Luna, BeOS 6 (Dano/Zeta), Mac OS X Aqua and Unix's KDE and Gnome. Read on which one got our best score on our long term test and usage.
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by WattsM on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:48 UTC

I'd probably have rated OS X slightly higher but otherwise they're probably not far off from the ratings I'd give--with the caveat that my "users don't care about implementation" rant from a previous thread is something I still believe. ;)

I find OS X to be pretty responsive on a system level; the chunkiness shows up more on a per-application level. The spinning beach ball of doom generally only affects one application. Windows 2000 and XP don't suffer from that, but my experience they replace it with the "mysterious system freeze"--every once in a (long) while the system just stops for several minutes. The other thing I've noticed with Windows (albeit only in Pre-XP, because my experience with XP isn't long enough to have seen if this has finally been fixed) is what I call "creeping crud syndrome." A perfectly well-maintained Windows 9x or NT/2000 system will, over time, get flakier and flakier, to the point where the system must be reinstalled to fix the problems. When I mention this to other Windows users, they all nod. This is a usability issue in the "long-term road test" sense--it's worth mentioning. (I haven't had that problem on my PowerBook with OS X, but to be fair we'll have to check back in this time next year to see if that's still the case.)

To the people crying "subjective review!"... eh. It's all subjective. There are common UI practices, but even some of the supposedly objective ones can be argued about. (Mac users will defend their fixed menu bars to the death by waving GOMS analyses at you, for instance. Yet a quantitative GOMS keystroke-level analysis "prove" that Vim is a better text editor than BBEdit.)