Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 24th Jun 2007 13:44 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Federkiel writes: "People working with Apple computers are used to a very consistent user experience. For a large part this stems from the fact that the Lisa type of GUI does not have the fight between MDI and SDI. The question simply never arises, because the Lisa type of GUI does not offer the choice to create either of both; it's something different all along. I usually think of it as 'MDI on steroids unified with a window manager'. It virtually includes all benefits of a SDI and and the benefits of an MDI." Read on for how I feel about this age-old discussion.
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RE[5]: I hate the ribbon...
by Obscurus on Tue 26th Jun 2007 09:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I hate the ribbon..."
Obscurus
Member since:
2006-04-20

I don't really see any of your objections. I do, frequently, have 2 documents side by side: I have 2 17" monitors, one next to the other. I find 2 screens much more easy, simple and productive than one whacking great one, and 17" monitors come free with a packet of cornflakes these days.


Horses for courses. I prefer a single monitor uninterrupted by bits of plastic. Many programs are not designed to work with dual monitor setups, and I find that kind of fractured workflow frustrating.

2 eyes are for binocular vision, not for looking at wide things with.

Binocular vision merely requires two eyes separated by some distance. The simple fact that your eyes are side by side rather than one on top of the other makes them able to take in and process more information in the horizontal plane than in the vertical plane. Coupled with the fact that your cheeks and eyebrows limit the amount of vertical space you can scan without moving your head, and the fact that you can turn your head from side to side much further than you can tilt your head forward and back means that wide screens are a much more natural format for presenting information.

If you want to see a visual system optimised for scanning the horizon, go look at a sheep's eyes.

Sheep have a whopping great blind spot in the front of their head, so your twin monitor setup might actually suit them.

There's nothing about the human visual system that I'm aware of (as someone with a degree in biology) that's optimised for horizontal scanning and there have been plenty of vertically-oriented writing systems.


Interestingly, as someone who also has a degree in biology (I work on rodents), I have perhaps gotten a bit more out of my studies and profession than you have. The human eyes pick up a much wider field of information in the horizontal plane than the vertical (see reasons above for example). Of course we do not have the field of vision that sheep have, but even without moving your head or your eyes, you will have a greater visual awareness horizontally, because you have two eyes side by side (the human eyes sees 180 in the horizontal plane, versus 135 in the vertical - admittedly, this is closer to 4:3 than 16:9, but that assumes no movement of the eyes). If one eye was above the other, then this situation would be quite dramatically different. This is a well known principle, and is the main reason even 4:3 monitors are wider than they are tall, why more people prefer widescreen TVs and cinemas, etc, etc. I'm surprised you didn't pick this up in your studies.

Sure there have been plenty of vertical writing systems invented, but as a proportion of the total number of writing systems invented, they are in a very small minority. And the vast majority of vertical writing systems use ideograms (more information contained per unit of linear space) so that excessive vertical scanning is reduced.


As for your music app: jesus wept. If you think that's a friendly, explorable and discoverable interface, you should be using Unix from a command line, sunshine.


Having used Sonar, Cubase and various other sequencers in the past, absolutely nothing compares to the ease of use and efficient workflow that Tracktion offers. Perhaps you haven't used sequencers before, but sequencers with windows popping up all over the place are a workflow nightmare for me, and totally kill my creativity. A great many people agree with me, as Tracktion's user base is growing rapidly.

There is even a Linux window manager (Twindy) based on the Juce SDK used to write Tracktion. Haven't tried it though.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: I hate the ribbon...
by lproven on Tue 26th Jun 2007 14:53 in reply to "RE[5]: I hate the ribbon..."
lproven Member since:
2006-08-23

A good detailed reply!

Yes, our visual /field/ is wider than it is tall; I certainly wouldn't deny that. But then again, my monitors are side-by-side, not stacked. I have actually tried it, when pushed for space, and whereas it's better than nothing, it's not ideal.

You seem to be contending that horizontal toolbars and so forth are somehow more ergonomic than vertical ones, and frankly, I doubt that.

/Currently/, yes, L-R (and a few R-L) writing systems significantly predominate over T-B or B-T, but that's cultural, it's not an emergent phenomenon of the human visual system. Go back 1Ky or 2Ky, I think you might find things were very different. If you want an efficient ergonomic writing system, you need boustrephodon! (But it has other drawbacks).

Multiple screens over one are helpful if you use >1 app at once; you can have 1 app maximised per screen with no manual window positioning at all. Multiple real desktops beats multiple virtual desktops and they are very widely used. I think the ideal might be 3 portrait displays, but I am not willing to pay that much.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: I hate the ribbon...
by Obscurus on Tue 26th Jun 2007 22:17 in reply to "RE[6]: I hate the ribbon..."
Obscurus Member since:
2006-04-20

The other thing you have to consider is that widescreen monitors are considerably cheaper to manufacture, (due largely to the way the raw componenets are manufactured and supplied - when you cut sheets of glass etc for the LCD, you get more sheets if you use an aspect ratio of about 16:9). 19" widescreens are dirt cheap, cheaper than most 17" 4:3 monitors (technically, you get more pixels on a typical 17" 4:3 monitor, but most people perceive the widescreen as larger, even thought the vertical aspect is smaller).

I dislike clutter on my desktop, and I would ideally prefer a single 30" ultra high res widescreen monitor over multiple smaller monitors.

I would prefer a tiling application manager over traditional windows & menu bars etc, but there are no tiling WMs that I am aware of that are sufficiently mature or polished for everyday use ;)

Another app that I enjoy using, even though initially I found quite intimidating, is Blender. For the novice user, it is probably the least intuitive and discoverable interface ever invented, but once you have gotten over the ridiculously steep learning curve, it becomes one of the most efficient and powerful ways of interacting with the software around.

Actually as far as menus go, what are your views on the way iTunes on Windows handles the menu? (it sticks it in the actual window bar itself, so that if you maximise the window, you effectively have a Mac style menu bar).

Reply Parent Score: 1