Top 10 Usability Highs Of Mac OS


Although I’ve been a Windows power user for years, the transition to Mac couldn’t have been easier and more pleasant. I don’t want to turn this article into some endless rambling about how great Mac is, but as the user of both systems I can speak from my own experience quite objectively. Let’s take a look at some of the spots where Apple really has done it better in terms of user interface and usability.

1. Consistency
The whole OS and almost every application looks and feels the same, as if a single team developed the whole thing, thanks to Apple HI Guidelines1. Official guidelines for user interface design made it possible for users to actually use most Mac-applications in a very same way, creating a seamless and comfortable experience in the end. Users are able to anticipate how system behaves and what to expect from its applications. In fact, consistency dramatically improves learnability and usability of interacting with the system.

2. Intuitiveness
Installing and uninstalling applications is simply drag-and-drop. It can’t get much simpler and more intuitive than that. In fact, it’s hard to make any errors here, e.g. selecting some wrong option in a drop-down menu or clicking occasionally on the cancel-button. Quick and simple.

3. Effective and appropriate metaphors
Mac effectively uses the power of unambiguous metaphors. The different overviews in the OS just work. Exposé2 does the right thing, Time Machine3 uses a 3D view where appropriate (none of that 3D-flip ‘just for the sake of it’-nonsense of Vista). Depth in Time Machine represents the location in time and therefore uses a neat metaphor helping the user, and browsing your albums with Cover Flow4 in iTunes (and Finder) feels almost like the real thing.

4. Informative error reporting on-demand
Contrary to other user interfaces, Mac-applicatinos display user notifications only when something goes wrong, not permanent baloons5 when some process is being started or finished. Think of it, do we really need someone to tell us when something goes the way it should?

5. Hiding the technical details
Manually having to defragment a hard drive? Hmm, not here. On Mac users use technical tools by communicating with simple and memorable metaphors. Most users are not savvy and they have no clue how to take care of technical details so why should a user interface prompt them to do this?

6. Fitts’ Law
Essentially, the famous Fitts’ Law says that users are more productive with the mouse when they have less distance to travel and a larger target to click on to do their tasks. Mac’s design engineers have incorporated this rule in their design: almost all application menus are attached to the top of the screen, rather than to the applications’ windows. It improves the usability and reduces screen clutter. Compared to other user interfaces, regarding Fitts’ Law Mac performs better.

Source6 (mock up)

7. User input feedback
Mac applications have no useless “OK” and “Apply”-buttons and changes are applied immediately and on the fly. Thus the system seems to be more responsive and requires less input from the users, making user feedback as effective as possible.

Clicking the checkbox here makes the tab bar show up in the browser window instantly. (Firefox)

8. User support and navigation
Remember Clippy7? Mac has its own (OS wide) version as well, called Spotlight8. The only difference is that it’s actually a lot more helpful and versatile. And damn speedy too! Really, navigating an OS hasn’t ever been that straightforward. It does calculations as well and launching applications is as easy as typing in its name and hitting Enter (see screenshot below).

9. Workflow
Mac doesn’t force you to focus on a single window, but keeps them all visible in the background ensuring a more efficient workflow. However this might be a thing of taste and getting used to.

10. Even kernel panic looks nice!
A funny but still nice example of Apple’s attention to detail. On the rare occasions when Mac crashes, it still does so in a respectable manner. Usability-wise it’s not perfect, since it doesn’t let the user know what went wrong and only asks the user to reboot the system. Still, beautiful and elegant.

Image source9

I’m not saying Mac’s user interface is perfect. There is probably no perfect solution which would satisfy everyone. Yet Mac has done it right a lot of times, at least from the usability perspective. What do you think? Do you have examples when Mac fails from the usability point of view? And how exactly is Mac’s user interface better than other interfaces?

Editor’s note

This post is one of the finalists of our guest author contest10. Over three weeks selected top-10-lists and discussion articles will be published. To rate the articles we’ll analyze their popularity, users activity, quality of backlinks, traffic and further data.


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Juul Coolen is a web-designer living in The Netherlands. Apart from some freelance work he is still studying computer science at the university. His dream is one day to have a first-class design and development agency called Imaginized.

  1. 1

    Nice read. Mac’s have their backdrops too but definately a professional’s os it is.

  2. 2

    I have a Mac, and I’m very happy with it. Thanks for this great article, I love you guys.

  3. 3

    Hmm. First of all, I don’t find it fair, that there was no limit for top-ten articles, ’cause this one is a good example of using it the other way around. It’s actually a discussion article just using the top-10 list form. And I didn’t know we discuss operating systems here (and hardware in case of the HD). I guess SOMEHOW we might consider it as description (not a top-10) of a tool for designers.

    I don’t like Macs and their “cool and colorful” design, however that’s only my personal taste. E.g. I prefer HTC Touch Flo 3D design to iPhone’s interface. Apple just doesn’t look serious to me, it’s rather lil’ infantile. It’s nice, it’s fancy, it’s clear, but it lacks class (imho). I also think all the stuff from #1 to #10 simply doesn’t matter at work, otherwise I’d have a Mac, I guess. So I don’t get the point of the article, unless we treat it as mentioned in the previous paragraph.

  4. 4

    I actually have real issues with the fact that menus are always at the top of the screen. I don’t want to choose my windows and THEN go to the menu bar. I like the fact that I can click the Edit (or whichever) menu of the window next to mine without needing to change to that window first.

    And the Apple OS minimize/maximize/non-max size buttons? Drives me nuts. When I want a window maximized, it means I want it to take up my entire screen, not leave a smidge of pixels open here or there.

    I’ve used Windows and Macs for equal amount of time for school and work, and I can safely say that despite the many issues I also have with Windows, I will never buy a Mac. (Have you ever tried doing a serious hardware upgrade with a Mac machine? I’ve never experienced such a headache in my life.)

  5. 5

    “I don’t want to turn this article into some endless rambling about how great Mac is,”
    No, it feels like you turned into an article about how bad Windows is. I love the article, but it has an anti-windows vibe.

  6. 6

    Thanks for this article. It just convinces me one more time that Macs are way overrated. In the whole list I can’t see a single thing that would make me want to change to a Mac. Most of that stuff might be nice to have, but I can’t see anything that would essentially help me getting more work done. I had to work on a Mac in the past and I found it tedious and uncomfortable, so I guess I’ll stay with my Windows PC. It is not perfect either, but it works for me and I paid only a quarter of what I would have had to pay for a comparable Mac.

  7. 7

    i’lll have to disagree here. especially with the menu and workflow options. First, on another OS, if none of your windows are open at maximum size, you’d kinda still be able to see the other windows, maybe it’s me, maybe I didnt use a MAC long enough, I don’t know, but I don’t see the difference. And it drove me crazy with that menu up there. And the stress required to actually CLOSE an app is no fun either.I can’t count how many times I hit the ‘x’ button and remembered that I had to do something else to end it. Not a user high, thanx. It’s all aesthetics IMO. I’m yet to see that really spectacular thing about a mac.

  8. 8

    Sorry for posting again, but I studied Fitt’s Law at university in great deal. It also states that buttons should get exponentially larger as you move away from the starting point towards the target. Therefore i wouldn’t say that they are incorporating Fitt’s law. By forcing the buttons to the top they are increasing the distance a user has to travel to a target. Depending on where the window is they could be effectively nullifying any advantage they get from placing them at the top.


  9. 9

    I tend to agree the maximize/restore button are behaving weird sometimes… for example finder will only take full vertical space while itunes will switch compact form on/off and some other software will simply take the full screen…

    But the window mangement is good enough to forget that :P

  10. 10

    And then the low points in my experience. I use both Vista and OS X a lot, so comparisons are inevitable. OS X does a lot of things right but it has it’s own set of issues.

    – Finder’s file sorting is just plain unintuitive. Folders mixed with files is just confusing to pretty much anyone and sorting by file type doesn’t work that well either. I use Path Finder as an alternative file browser and it’s miles better. Still, it’s nowhere near as good as Directory Opus for Windows… but if we’re simply comparing default file browsers, IMO Vista does better than OS X in this area.

    – Mouse acceleration is terrible. Ironically I had to buy a Microsoft mouse to get proper mouse movement. See for details. My previous mouse was Logitech and even with alternative drivers it didn’t work that well and IMO the Microsoft mouse still doesn’t move the cursor as nicely as it does in Vista.

    – The lack of Apply/OK buttons can be confusing. For example when editing Mail accounts it often asks “don’t you want to save the changes” and of course I do, but there doesn’t seem to be a Save button to be found anywhere else! This also sometimes means I’m not quite sure if the selections I made actually did anything unless something changes on the screen. That’s why the Apply/OK button is IMO a good thing. However, I don’t think we really need Apply, OK and Cancel buttons for this. Just Apply would be enough.

    – Click to activate window. Especially annoying on multi-monitor setups. For example I’m working in another program on monitor one and notice a new article popped up on my RSS reader, to read it I have to first click once to select the RSS reader program window, then click again to select the article. On Windows I can do this with just one click. I wish Apple gave us the option to do this. The way OS X does it results in accidental doubleclicks quite often.

    – Static top toolbar. Again mostly a multi-monitor issue. Having a program on the second screen and accessing its menus on another screen isn’t what I’d call user friendly or intuitive. Personally I’d rather have the top bar on both monitors and depending on which programs are on which monitor the menus would be shown there.

    – Small version of the program toolbar (with the three balls for close, maximize, minimize). Some programs use this and on high resolution monitors it’s pretty tiny and hard to click. Why Apple included this in the first place I have no idea. It doesn’t serve a purpose IMO.

  11. 11

    one of the poorest written article in smashing in a while. promising itself to be objective in the intro, but then the 10 points are really random and personal. there are lots of other points if we wanted to promote the mac os while sounding more objective. i’m just relieved this is just a guest author contest.

    keep your excellent compilation articles, smashing. and leave the random personal tastes at each of our personal blogs.

  12. 12

    useless article.
    I’m an apple lover myself but this just looks like a very bad apple commercial.

    So please let try to keep it interesting!

  13. 13

    I won’t read this article because it will only make me feel bad… I already know Apple kicks ass, but I don’t have the money and indispensable need *yet* to change.

  14. 14

    This is a terrible article – I’m a bit shocked you’d post this, even in the context of a contest. It’s poorly written, highly biased and full of innacuracies and absurdities. It reads like the ramblings of a 16 year old kid who had to throw together an argumentative essay for English class and left it to the last minute. For shame!! Besides-which, Mac vs PC is just such a tired topic, and one professionals wouldn’t waste their time over. Everyone should know by now that platform is entirely a personal choice – especially since the actual software used (Adobe CS, etc) is almost identical between the two. We should worry more about the outcome of the work we do and less on which tools others are choosing to use.

    I love Smashing Magazine, but if you’re going to start culling poor quality content for free from your readers, I will have to remove you from my Reader. *sigh*

  15. 15

    I have too say that I agree with everything you have said. Thanks =]

  16. 16

    If someone can tell me how can I REALLY test the websites in all the browsers (FF2&3, Opera 9.2, 9.5, Safari2,3, IE6,7, FF under linux) under a Mac, I’m switching NOW! I love everything about Mac, but unfortunately life is not that good to me :)

    btw, great article

  17. 17

    Makes me want to buy one of Steve’s machines…

  18. 18

    Michael Thompson

    August 12, 2008 7:10 am

    As a Windows user since 3.1, a Mac user since 7 (I think it was 7), and a Linux user back when Red Hat was (remotely) cool I’d like to say that this post summarizes my reasons for feeling most comfortable on a Mac.

    Essentially, it’s the UI. Of course, access to a BSD underbelly via a proper terminal and the ability to run CS3 apps at the same time is another huge selling point for me.

  19. 19

    Cool Article. All rightly said. I am recent mac user too. And I am just loving it so much. It’s become a daily source of inspiration to me somehow!!

  20. 20

    How did you get a tabbed Finder? Do want!

  21. 21

    I so want to get a mac, but waiting till the new macbooks come out in september.


  22. 22

    true. they even “designed” the blue screen of death.

  23. 23

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 12, 2008 7:23 am

    @h-a-r-v (#5): we understand your concerns, however, these were the rules. We understand that this article is somehow a combination of a top-10-article and a discussion article. But it is a top-10-list while usual discussion articles are not.

  24. 24

    No problem, just pointing the fact. I just thought for I could somehow make the one I sent you the same way and use as many chars I want to share every detail and idea just by the way, instead of decreasing my little thesis into some blog note. But dura lex, sed lex. :-)

  25. 25

    Anyone want to tell me how to make my finder look like that with breadcrumbs and tabbed windows?

  26. 26

    Great article, its true that the Mac OS has some great usability. A few thoughts:

    “(none of that 3D-flip ‘just for the sake of it’-nonsense of Vista).”

    I don’t see how Vista’s Flip-3D is doing it just for the sake of it, I think it is a nice way to lay out all the windows and look through them. I like using it much better than Alt-Tab as I can find what I need much faster.

    “Mac doesn’t force you to focus on a single window, but keeps them all visible in the background ensuring a more efficient workflow. However this might be a thing of taste and getting used to.”

    I’ve been using a Mac (along with a PC) for about two years now and one of the things I hate most about it is window management. Sure, it may be good when you have two or three windows open. But I usually have at least 10 different programs open and running and they can all just get lost. There isn’t a way to quickly get to what you need as its difficult to immediately see what has been minimized and the Command-Tab will only bring up a certain program, not a certain window. I feel that the Windows task bar and Alt-Tab (or Window-Tab) does a much better job at keeping your windows organized. I’m so glad that Leopard has Spaces now though, it makes it a little easier to keep track of everything.

    But don’t get me wrong, I like both Mac’s and PC’s and use them both just about equally.

  27. 27

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 12, 2008 7:33 am

    @h-a-r-v (#13): we can always offer you the opportunity to become a guest author in our magazine – we don’t have size limits there ;-)

    @sam (#14): probably it’s just a matter of taste. It’s not the tool you have but the way you use the tool to achieve best possible results. It doesn’t matter if you use Windows, Mac or Linux as long as you get things done (imho).

  28. 28

    Wow, I wonder how long until this becomes the usual Windows Vs. Mac comment flaming marathon.

    Regardless, I’m not taking much away from this article.

  29. 29

    Yeah, where did the screenshot of the finder with tabs come from? I’m guessing that must be a mistake and your showing a picture of someone’s concept interface for finder… if only it were real, that would by my #1 usability high of os x!

  30. 30

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 12, 2008 7:43 am

    The image comes from here: the link was just added.

  31. 31

    ooh… really a tabbed finder including breadcrumbs…. not a mock .. or is it? and surprisingly no cover flow view icon…..
    anyone knows more?

  32. 32

    I think that screenshot from finder with tabbed states (and also the selected viewing state is different from the one in the current leopard release) is from Snow Leopard, which is the new and improved version of leopard .. you can prolly find stuff yourself about this..

    please confirm?

  33. 33

    I’m a Mac user, but some of the things on this list just aren’t correct. #1 for example… Go to Google and search “OS X user interface inconsistency”. I think you’ll find a few results. This is a primary complaint of many longtime Mac users. Apple is making strides toward consistency, but for years they’ve been ignoring their own HIG to make applications look the way they want.

    #2 is another interesting one. I agree that drag-and-drop installation is nice, but more and more things on the Mac are moving to installer packages. Even the drag-and-drop installations aren’t simple for new Mac users, because they don’t understand the idea of disk images. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a user double-click a disk image to mount it, double click an application to run it from the disk image, and then restart their computer to find the disk image no longer mounted and the application no longer available.

    That said, there’s not a single task I do on a computer that I wouldn’t rather do on a Mac.

  34. 34

    the tabbed finder is not a real finder, is a mockup taked from here:

  35. 35

    I think one of the best features is Expose. I don’t think you can hype it enough. It allows for very high efficiency.

  36. 36

    I’ve used Windows all my life, then made the change to Mac when I started working at my current company. I’d never really used one before and was so blown away I wasted my first month’s wages on an 24″ iMac. One of the best rash decisions I’ve ever made.

    It makes my productivity far better, it’s much nicer to look at and just easier to use in every way. Plus I’m constantly finding neat little touches every day. I don’t have to install and run anti-virus software all the time, I don’t have to defrag my HDD every month, I most likely won’t have to reformat every year.

    Yes this article is nothing but a ramble about how great Macs are, and yes it does have an anti-Windows vibe. But hey ho – I agree with every point!

  37. 37

    #18: Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz: Then do it :-) Otherwise, I’ll send my application later on. Just don’t make me write a motivation letter and include pictures, hehe. I have some ideas, including the extended version of my contest article showing lots more of my point (as a blog note it’s all more like “if you know what I mean” or “try guessing”). Also, I’ve just become an official IE8 beta tester, so maybe I’ll be able to share some constructive thoughts after a while with MS on my back.

  38. 38

    @Tobias : true on #2, the first I’ve seen these disk images, it was confusing. I’ve mostly used Windows, lightly used OS9 and my first time on OSX was disappointing, these images were totally new (I’m now using OSX and XP equally, depending on my working place).

    But, I’ve also seen windows users downloading programs and think it’s done and they can just launch the thing (they would be happy on a Mac, btw ;-)). Well, no, they have to install it, and guess what, after installing, figure out where it is (sometimes they try to launch the setup again, you’d better remove it from the desktop very soon if you were in charge of the setup ;-))

    I think there’s no perfect solution, a computer is a computer, if you’re not comfortable with it, well, take some courses or stick with pen and paper ;-)

  39. 39

    Very nice, but I’d like to share you my top annoyances with OSX. I’ll stick to things I think are just plain wrong.

    Disclaimer: I switched to an all Mac workflow a year ago.

    1. Lack of user feedback. Apple has a nice set of HI Guidelines, but fails to enforce proper user feedback in the simplest type of interactions in their applications. For example, many buttons in their applications do not change the cursor or are highlighted on hover (see iTunes). However, when they do provide feedback, the clickable area does not necessarily correspond to the area providing feedback (see the window controls in the top left corner).

    Aggreeing with kasakka that providing no feedback when changing application options is not always a good thing. A simple slide in confirmation similar to Firefox 3’s would work wonders.

    2. Identical results for wrong and right interactions. For me this mostly comes from the stupid fact that ‘miss-clicking’ between items in a menu results in the menu disappearing, which is identical to succesfully clicking a menu item. Compared with often the lack of feedback on whether the system is actually doing system, it can take a second to realize you ‘were doing it wrong’.

    3. Inconsistent application installation procedures. I’ll be honest here, Apple did an absolutely brilliant job on providing the foundation of an incredibly easy installation procedure. However, many software developers fail to actually provide a consistent experience.

    The drag and drop to Applications interaction is often explained in the Finder window showing both the application icon and the Applications folder. Some applications allow you to move it to exactly that folder you’re seeing, some of them force you to drag it to your dock or a new Finder window.

    I actually prefer the more wizard type as it doesn’t require me to think. Just hit Next till it’s done.

    4. Mystery Meat Navigation! Come on. The design of the window controls are just horrible. A user is not able to know what those balls will do, unless they actually move the mouse.

    5. Fitt’s law. The opposite can be said to say Window’s implementation is better, as it requires less mouse travel. Added to that is that the proximity of the bar and window contents enforces the connection between the two, something which OSX’s design does not. I don’t remember a convincing study proofing one is better than the other.

    I love OSX, but some basic things are so incredibly broken, it boggles my mind.

  40. 40

    The tabbed Finder and breadcrumbs most likely come from Path Finder.

  41. 41

    The previous link is for the application “Path Finder”.

  42. 42

    #5: No, you don’t have to defragment your hard drive, but try filling your hard drive beyond about 80% and watch your system performance tank for each percentage point your usage increases. Fragmentation is still a problem on Mac hard drives, it just appears in different ways.

    #6: The primary benefit of the menu options at the top of the screen is that you can “throw” your mouse to the top of the screen and click without slowing down to prevent overshooting your click target. Even throwing your mouse into the corner will activate those corner menus (“Apple” menu and Spotlight)

  43. 43

    pretty superficial stuff in this article there are a lot of abilities that are not discussed.

    I like off the top of my head.

    1.color coding files on my desktop then sorting by color when i want to file them or archive them
    2. working full screen in illustrator with no menu bars – then squeezing my mouse to minimize the application and do whateva. 1 motion instead of 5 or so.

  44. 44

    I think my previous post may have been misinterpreted a little bit… I absolutely love the disk image, drag-and-drop installation type. Why? Because it allows me to try out applications I download on the disk image sandbox environment before actually running the application from the HDD. It’s just not explained very well to new users.

    Also, I’ve heard that Vista is improved over XP in this area (although I’ve never used Vista), I think the biggest usability benefit to OS X is Spotlight. Sure, it could be faster, but it’s my favorite service. Need to do quick math? Spotlight. Need to look up a word? Spotlight. Need to launch an app? Spotlight. Need to find a document? Spotlight. I’d be completely lost without it.

  45. 45

    This isn’t a particularly bad article. Compared to the other finalists I have seen thus far, it is better written and somewhat more applicable to smashing’s audience.
    That said, in terms of what Smashing normally delivers this article is not very good. Its subject matter has already been tirelessly spouted by tech columnists, and its insights are not particularly innovative. This article didn’t teach me anything, I would have liked it more if it showcased some of the more obscure features of OSX, the little things that make the OS shine rather than the really obvious stuff.

  46. 46

    Great, another Cult of Mac post, except it’s now infiltrated Smashing Magazine.

    Personally, I consider this another dull Mac-fanboy opinion piece at best. I thought SM was about design? As a designer I couldn’t care a less whether someone is using a Mac or a modified toaster to do the job. A good workman never blames his tools, so there should be absolutely no reason why any designer should have to use a Mac (or Windows).

    The only time OS’s matter in terms of design is getting whatever it is that you’re designing displaying correctly. If anything, the mark of a good designer is someone who uses both and understands the needs of all possible systems out there.

  47. 47

    #47 sorin: my guessing is that in case of FF and Opera there’s no real need of testing your sites under older versions, for these are browsers that inform their users ’bout updates constantly and they usually click “OK”. 6.201.804.26 downloads of FF3 at the moment, so I wouldn’t worry ’bout the rest. If they haven’t switched yet, they’ll certainly do. Same with Opera and Safari.

    In case of IE 6 and 7 – that’s another story. Google for something called “Multiple IEs” and install it. The only source available was down few weeks ago, so if that haven’t changed yet, lemme know, I’ll upload it for you. That’s a pack of all IE versions (6.0, 5.5, 5.0, etc.). Works well for me.

    For design purposes only you might find that site useful: – it takes snapshots of your site under every browser you pick. The only disadvantage of it is that you have to wait ’til they’re done and published, so it’s useless for monitoring little changes.

  48. 48

    @Daniel, re Fitt’s Law … Actually, by placing the menus against the top edge of the screen, they’ve made them essentially infinitely tall. The user can throw their mouse up and it will stop on the menu. Since Fitt’s Law basically states that the time to move to a target is a function of how large the target is (the larger the better) and how close it is (the closer the better), this larger target should – in theory, at least – result in quicker mousing to menus.

    In practice, after switching to a Mac at my current job from a lifetime on Windows, I can say that this does translate to quicker mousing.

    I’ve also gotten used to the contextuality of this single menu placement, though there is certainly some transition time from the every-window-has-a-menu world of Windows.

    (I studied Fitt’s Law at school, too, hence the high-brow pontificating :D)

  49. 49

    Parallels is your answer. You can run windoze an linux right along with osx.
    Great article. I use Windoze at work and a mac at home. Using both OS’s day in and day out my opinion is that the Mac is far superior in many more ways than was listed in this article. Don’t want to come across as a Mac fanboy, but just saying that’s the way it is for me.

  50. 50

    Well, when I have a lot of windows open in OSX and want to quickly find one I just press F9 and I can see thumbnails of all of them. If I don’t know what a particular window is a quick mouseover reveals information about it and with one click I can change to it. It’s pretty simple imho.

  51. 51

    i agree with 25. and 34.

  52. 52

    Everyone do me a favor and set your middle mouse button to activate exposé “all windows”– this single feature alone will never let me switch back to windows, I couldn’t live without it…

  53. 53

    Has anyone mentioned that Mac OSX search function really really sucks??? (at least it does in Leopard. To be fair, I have to give Apple some credits for search function in the previous OS version. It used to be OK)

  54. 54

    Nice article. As a fellow windows to mac convert, I agree with all of the topics you touched upon. I’m still using a PC for some items, but grow frequently more frustrated with windows each time I use it.

  55. 55

    A ‘lil bit more depth in each of the items wouldn’t have gone amiss, but I’ve got to be honest I am a Windows software developer and I use a MacBook Pro and wouldn’t change it for the world. Thanks to the Intel cores, work = windows; play = leopard

    Oh and incidentally, I’ve had mine over 2.5 years and I’ve never seen the Kernel warning (no crashes in all that time….)

    Nice tempo to your article – but you are bias ;)

  56. 56

    Gosh, if I could just switch to Mac OS *drools*. It’s really user-friendly OS.

  57. 57

    @lee I do understand that placing the links at the top are making them infinitely high, but that only works if the mouse travels in a direct horizontal/vertical line, from the source to the target. However this is not often the case, the window is often minimized into the centre of the screen. That combined with the behaviour of the mouse, if the angle is over a certain point the mouse pointer will start moving sidewards at the extremities of the screen, which causes the nullifying effect.

    Compare this with the big button in Microsofts Office 2007, that button is both infinitely high and infinitely wide. Plus there menus are designed so that the more important actions have bigger buttons. Something which is also lacking in Mac OS.

    Ideally buttons should be placed at the edges of the screen and as they get further away from the source (i.e. a dropdown) they should get logarithmically larger in the direction of the mouse movement.

    It’s been a long time since i’ve done Fitt’s law in that much detail, but i think i am right.


  58. 58

    Finally. I have been waiting for a Smashing Magazine to piss me off. Essentially I just read, in a nutshell, that OS X was designed for people who aren’t smart enough to use more powerful OSs (ya know, such as *nix or Windows (and dont point out that OSX is a *nix variant please))

    I have a 17″ MacBook Pro with 4gb and I run Vista on it. Sure, I left a little room on there for those times when I need to boot Leopard to test in Safari, but Vista all the way. By the way, my Vista PC has never had a single crash or anything. In my book, Vista

  59. 59

    Aww, come on, this is just propaganda!

  60. 60

    michel basilieres

    August 12, 2008 2:17 pm

    Try dragging a folder from the Finder to the desktop. Poof, it dissapears, and you’ve lost your files. There’s even an animated icon to go with this bug. Slickly designed, stupidly engineered. And the way the finder slides out to the right, hiding the folder of origin, makes it impossible to keep track of where you are. Couple this with high cost, incredibly slow performance and regular crashes on networked macs, and I gotta say, wake up, folks.

    by the way, “I can speak from my own experience quite objectively” marks this as the ramblings of an uneducated internet troll.

  61. 61

    What I like about MAC is no lock ups, no rebooting every other day, I can go on and on.

    Ultimate Anonymity

  62. 62

    Mac is pretty intuitive for newbies. But if you have to do stuff with mac, it’s a pain in the arse. What’s with this less crash BS? When programs on mac crashes, it just disappears not telling you what’s going on. I use a mac only because I have to at work. Windows XP is definitely the way to go.

  63. 63

    Ah, what a gushing and useless blog entry.

    Ya know, if you ignore the problems with something, they’ll never be fixed.

    Please see:

  64. 64

    rather than #8 being spotlight, i’d highly recommend you look into quicksilver. once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
    (and if anybody can suggest a good gtk clone of quicksilver for *nix/bsd/opensolaris systems i’d really appreciate it!)

  65. 65

    the only thing that really bugs me about the mac os is that you can’t fully maximize and lock the screen you are currently working on. minor I know, but it bugs me.

  66. 66

    Bullshit on #6. With a large, high-resolution screen, it’s a pain in the ass to have to go to the top of the screen every time you want to access the menu bar.

  67. 67

    I’ve used PC’s since Dos 3.0 was new, and Mac’s since OS 9 first came out. At first I didn’t like Mac’s simply because I couldn’t find what I wanted… e.g. Wallpaper is Desktop picture on a Mac. But within a few weeks of actually USING a Mac I ended up really liking them more than anything else. I now use Mac for everything, both at home and at work. My only complaint with a Mac that I think Apple should fix is that closing a window doesn’t always close the program. This is an inconsistency even within Apples applications e.g. open a window in preview, and close it and the program is still running – open system preferences and close the window – and the program closes (I know some would argue that’s not a true program) but it is the best example I could think of off the top of my head.

    I would also agree that clicking the ‘+’ or maximize button should maximize the window to fill the entire screen (except perhaps the area where the dock is showing, it it’s showing). Otherwise though, all of the other little features in a Mac that you illustrate here, really do save time. I get extremely frustrated now a days when I set down to XP or Vista and everything doesn’t ‘just work’ immediately.

    Also, to Y.Li – I have to say that if you were upgrading a ‘PowerMac’ or ‘Mac Pro’ you shouldn’t have had much trouble. The first new Mac I purchased was a Quicksilver 867Mhz in 2001. It now has a 256Meg Video card, 1.5Gigs Ram, a SATA card with 2 500Gig HDD’s, and a 1.8Ghz CPU. None of these upgrades were any harder than they would have been with a PC – and many upgrades are easier than with a PC. If you were trying to upgrade an iMac or Mac Mini – well they weren’t really ‘designed’ to be upgraded in any respect other than maybe a RAM upgrade and connecting add on’s to USB or Firewire.

  68. 68

    Umm, I’ve just tried that, and no you haven’t lost your files. My guess is that you just dragged a folder from the sidebars – those are simply aliases, that you can put there for quick access. The original folder is wherever the original folder was.

    If you don’t like the column-mode in finder (I’m not a great fan) you can always use list view. But command-click on the icon at the top of the Finder window will reveal the whole path to where you are now.

    Hope that helps.

  69. 69

    @matt: You can use expose to find your window, its alot better then alt tab on both windows and os x.

  70. 70

    Wow. Only an Apple customer could take a glaring failure of the operating system (kernel panic, a system wide crash) and somehow claim that it’s a great feature.

    Suck Jobs’ dick some more.

  71. 71

    You contradict yourself in #6. If “Fitts’ Law says that users are more productive with the mouse when they have less distance to travel and a larger target to click on to do their tasks.”, how then could having almost all application menus attached to the top of the screen, rather than to the applications’ windows improve the usability? You have to move right past the top of the application you are working in to get to the menu. This goes directly against Fitts’ Law. I hate apple fanboys.

  72. 72

    I’ve tried many times to explain to my Windows using friends the advantages and joys of using OSX and it’s often hard to put it into words, but this article sums it up nicely. Well done!

  73. 73


  74. 74

    The best thing about Apple products is that they help me get chicks. Nothing says “this guy has a lot of money and is easily parted from it” like a iPhone, Macbook and a schweet set of white earbuds. Q

  75. 75

    great, article except that when my mac crashes i get funny colours on my screen and it happens slowly, giving me at least some time to make sure everything is saved :P
    i have a 15″ macbook pro intel model :D

  76. 76

    for me half of these are the things that piss me off most about OSX and only 1 or 2 are features that would matter the slightest bit to me.
    i definatly agree with the windows=work, apple=play (except most games are out on pc months/years before mac if at all haha! :) )

  77. 77

    I’ve been using macs since 84 but primarily use PCs because I deliver content for the web.

    For something that should read like a sales promo for Mac it falls very short.

    Perhaps the writer was angling to win that mac book air by bobbing for apples?

  78. 78


    Its actually sad that people, like the author of this article for example, are only JUST NOW noticing just how SIMPLE the Mac is to use.

    ALMOST ALL of the 10 reasons listed above are features that existed all the way back to some of Apples EARLIEST versions of their operating system WELL OVER 10 years ago….

    #9 and #6 are features that existed all the way back even earlier to 1990.


  79. 79


    Not a word.


  80. 80

    I agree with #71 — the part about Fitts’ law is an obvious and boneheaded contradiction. Didn’t anyone at Smashing edit this piece? Didn’t anyone stop to think about what item 6 says and means?

    Also, I’ve always found Cover Flow to be pointless except for fun factor. I mean, who would actually look for an album by its cover design these days? Most people don’t even know what the covers to their albums look like.

  81. 81

    The position of the min max close are a major violation of Fitts’ law.

    The finder is ridiculous.

  82. 82

    Agree with #79 INTUITIVITY???? Intuitiveness.

    Crap article. Smashing is better than this. 9 is just idiotic.

    Mac Fanboy Plant.

  83. 83

    I would have to agree with Sonali.

    Macs are simply great…thanks to the wonderful OS and Steve’s marketing policy

  84. 84

    lnguyen asked: “Has anyone mentioned that Mac OSX search function really really sucks???”

    Yes, Spotlight was actually #8 in the article. Except the author used the words “helpful”, “versatile”, and “damn speedy”. Frankly, I agree with the author.

  85. 85

    I just got a (ridiculously overpriced) Mac Mini for iPhone development. I am a Linux developer but usually work under Windows (via ssh), I also used to have an Intel Macbook but didnt like it, but in general I feel the differences between Windows, Mac (sometimes even Linux), are all terribly exaggerated – they all do things in very much the same way.

    There are, however, several small things I don’t like about MacOS, but they are mostly minor and some I have been able to work around.

    1. Lack of support for back and forward mice buttons. I have always used them constantly. I had to install 3rd-party software to enable, this should not be necessary.

    2. Default implementation of Home and End keys. There is no way people would want to move to the top and bottom of a document more often then the front or end of a line – that doesn’t even make sense. Again, I had to install third-party software to enable.

    3. The inability to full screen apps, especially Firefox.

    4. The universal menu bar. The main issue I have with this is that it makes identifying what application a window belongs to by being able to see their menu bars – the windows all look alike, making switching between apps harder.

    5. The dock, which combines a program launcher and indicates which are running with a tiny blue dot, is just confusing. Also, the icons are large and are not able to show status information about the running program like Windows status bars (e.g. % complete) – all they can do is bounce up and down when they have a new dialog.

    6. There is no built-in support for Mac’s favorite compression, StuffIt, whereas Windows and Linux has built-in support for zip (and in Linux’s case gzip).

    7. Darwin disposes of enough conventions of Linux and FreeBSD that developing Linux or FreeBSD apps under MacOS is more trouble than its worth.

    8. Actually, the first time I was confronted with an icon to move a new application into the application folder, I had no idea what to do – it was not intuitive for me, since I could not imagine an installer needing the user to move one icon over another (I now understand this, but it wasn’t intuitive)

    9. Many Mac programs have a bad habit of not implementing the busy icon when they are busy (something any Windows user can experience on iTunes). I think this gives some users the illusion that things are faster, whether they are are not, but also frequently results in a lot of confusion as to what state your application is in.

    10. In general I find Mac gives the user a lot fewer options on customization than Windows and certainly KDE. For example, Apple allows you to change your desktop background to one of only 6 (?) colors. In some apps I look for preferences I would find on Windows but not Mac. I get the feeling that MacOS development is more difficult than Windows, which is why some apps dont go deep on features.

    As an aside, MacOS program installs are NOT drag and drop – most you download as an unintuitive dmg file, and after expanding them they become a mounted disk image – after that, you may drag and drop, but some have more traditional installer routines – also some come originally zipped, or stx’d, and as I mention need to have StuffIt installed beforehand – with Windows, in general, you double click the installer and go.

  86. 86

    Mac OS X is pretty darn good but it also has it’s cons.

    First of all, fanboys. Nobody cares how cool or shiny your OS looks, 120 fanboys already told us in the last hour.

    Second: people are actually paying for operating system updates.. they call them panther, tiger leopard.. but it’s the same damn operating system with some new stuff.

    Third: most people who are buying a mac are transitioning from a pc world where people use a right-click instead of a keystroke (right-click more usable and ergonomic?) and they have the application’s menu bar IN the actual application among other things, so intuitiveness? certainly not, at least not for me.

    Fourth: Lack of tech support from the almighty apple. People end up searching in forums where the thing they find the most is other people saying how apple tech support won’t answer.

    Fifth: “10. Even kernel panic looks nice!” Seriously? This is one of the things fanboys show off about their macs, it never crashes! (among other claims like “no virus!! yay”). Fail.

    “Think of it, do we really need someone to tell us when something goes the way it should?” It’s called feedback, like when you hover your mouse over a button and it lights up.

  87. 87

    Ever try Expose?

  88. 88

    I have to agree with Seth. As a long time Windows user, the Mac experience is very alienating to me. There’s a definite case of “information underload” going on, as I frequently get irritated at the Mac when things get sluggish and I have no way of knowing what’s going on… Or when I click on a button and there’s no immediate feedback, forcing me to wait like an idiot, hoping the program has indeed started working on something. This wouldn’t be half as bad if not for the fact that programs seem to go braindead on a regular basis; the interface “works”, in the sense that I can jump to different tabs and pull down the menus, but nothing happens when I click any action items. If there were some sort of feedback to let me know when the CPU is pegged or the disks are thrashing, I think that would go a long way toward earning my respect for the platform.

    Perhaps Apple could design a “power user” mode in future versions of its OS. Keep the default nice and simple for the common folk, but give me the hacker insights I need to keep my totalitarian mind at ease! Linux is king in this regard, and Windows medium-mediocre. It’s nice that they want to hide the computer wizardry from normal users, but it should still be accessible for those who want/need that info.

  89. 89

    Number 6: Yeah, going to the TOP of the screen sure is less distance than the menubar in Windows apps… please.

    Number 10: Rare event that the Mac crashes… lol. Funny thing is, I’ve never owned a Windows machine that was subject to all these CRASHES everyone talks about. Let me give you some advice – Cheap hardware/Failing hardware/Crappy drivers are responsible for MOST Windows crashes, not the OS itself. In other words – STOP BUYING CHEAP HARDWARE!

    In other news, every Mac I’ve ever had the misfortune of using has crashed. BAD.

    Macs are computers for stupid peop…. errr… I mean Mommies and Daddies.

  90. 90

    I got my first Mac just under 2 years ago and have to say I’m largely satisfied. I love the readability of the text. I like little things, like how most keyboard shortcuts use the ‘cloverleaf’ key vs. Windows where it’s a crazy mix of CTRL and ALT. I love how it is truly a *nix machine.

    But I have to say that one of the most important things about an OS – the file browser – is in many ways inferior on Mac vs. Windows. On a Windows machine, every file open/save dialog is a fully functional Explorer instance – I can quickly move, rename or delete files without having to back out and go to Explorer. On Mac, all I can do is create a new folder. There also is less support for the concept of picking files, then doing a cut or copy/paste with the keyboard. This can really be handy. Mac has ‘Copy’, but not ‘Cut’ (move) and it seems to lose your ‘clipboard’ selection.

    It may be cleaner and more pure, certainly, but not more productive. I get by, and believe me I hate all the Windows explorer cruft you get unless you revert it to ‘Windows classic’, but there’s a lesson in here.

  91. 91

    I use to be a windoze user. Had it with windoze, had it with windoze users, had it with spam, had it with viruses, had it with helping windoze users recover their system, had it with forever upgrading just to run windoze, Now, I don’t have it and couldn’t be happier.

  92. 92

    Good article. For once a Mac user has some positive things to say about Macs instead of bashing Windows with FUD.

    That said, I won’t ever move away from Windows Vista because I prefer it to any alternative.

    @Dave (above)
    Spam is bnot Windows specific.
    Viruses are pretty hard to catch these days on Windows unless you do something stupid
    System recovery on Windows is mostly a thing of the past. Vista is incredibly stable.
    Why would you ever upgrade to run Windows? Wouldn’t it be easier to keep the version that works best on your hardware? You shouldn’t upgrade your OS unless you have a good reason, such as new hardware or software.

    Writing ‘Windoze’ is very immature.

  93. 93

    The fact that this was the winner of the guest author competition speaks eloquently of the paucity of quality entries.

  94. 94

    I think the article title is misleading. The author only compare it to Windows interface. There many other operating system out there. If we’re talking about Gnome & KDE, many points of the article has already built in.

    I hope the author realize his mistake. Don’t say high usability OS if you only use 2 OS.

  95. 95

    Assuming this article was authored on a Mac, it seems spell-check should be instituted on the OS level. =)

  96. 96

    @ Crud O Matic

    I have to agree with you on the cheap hardware often used in Windows systems. My media center PC was crashing every couple of weeks randomly, and then eventually started crashing every time I used it (i.e. every day). In the end it turned out to be the cheap motherboard (faulty PCIe slot causing the video card to crash). I replaced it with a (slightly) more expensive, better brand motherboard and since then it has been 100% stable for a couple of months, and I actually get a little more performance out of the whole system.

    It’s funny how people will buy software and spend hours tweaking settings to get the same effect as simply buying better hardware in the first place.

    Mac has the advantage of strictly controlled hardware. Windows users have the freedom of choosing whatever hardware they want, but many people will choose the cheapest option and then blame any problems on their operating system.

  97. 97

    blue screen of death in mac rocks

  98. 98

    Really a great article.

    i never miss to read smashing magazine..

    thanks for posting the articles.

  99. 99

    Re point 5 “Hiding the technical details” I would agree that “Most users are not savvy and they have no clue how to take care of technical details”.

    So how can the UI icon be intuitive to most users when it shows a physical hard disk drive (which non-tech people are unlikely to recognise) labelled “Macintosh HD” (similarly, many non-tech people could interpret this as meaning “Macintosh High Definition”)

  100. 100

    Thanks for all the nice and constructive replies.

    First of all I’m sorry for any spelling or grammatical mistakes. English isn’t my first language, but I try my best to act like it is :)

    I’m sure some of you people might be ‘offended’ by how Apple and Mac-focused this article is. Really my intention wasn’t to be biased, to bring other OS’s down (I’ve used Windows myself since my childhood). But I tried to write it in a somewhat informal and loose manner and just pointing on the usability highs of the particular operating system. Number 10 is basically a joke.

    Someone mentioned this hasn’t anything to do with design? Well it does, usability design is also design.

  101. 101

    nice article, i’m Leopard user when i was a designer, but however i still cant living the MS Windows OS for college needs. its about software compatibility

  102. 102

    I agree with all of you that is doesn’t matter really what tools you use, but it matters what you get out of them. I really don’t believe using Mac makes you a better designer slash developer. However I appreciate the little things about it, some of them which I pointed out in the article.

    Again, this is about usability and how we might learn of it. Also when there was more space I could’ve added a top 10 of lows of usability design of the Mac OS as well. I think most of the 10 topics are valid and of course there are others as well.

  103. 103

    Sorry for double posting, but after reading back the article, I noticed some of my original contents to have been altered. I’m not sure all of it was for the good. And one or two spelling mistakes aren’t my fault :)

  104. 104

    Great usability article… !
    and the people here who think that this is a Apple VS M$oft, well it’s funny to see how Apple is becoming more and more popular because of MacOS X quality!
    I knew an OS that was very popular because it was preinstalled on 99% of the world PC’s, cheap and full of bugs! If you want to discuss about differences, you can start here… :)

  105. 105

    A big problem i have is with Number 9, it isnt a feature, its a real pain in the ass:

    “Mac doesn’t force you to focus on a single window”

    Sure, it doesn’t force you, but it doesn’t even allow you. I like to focus on what I am doing and nothing else. Why on earth do you need to see a whole bunch of toolbars and statusbars in the background, and no useful information?

  106. 106

    I am a recent Mac User & I believe it is all about habits. As expected first 1 month was a torture & then all seemed to fall in place.
    Things that rock – Color Coding Folders / Dashboard / Interface Simplicity / Pure Joy when you see your mac start & all the wonderful display
    Things that suck – Finder Finder Finder! (I am using OSX) (Check this Link – he has some ideas on how finder should be)

  107. 107

    I recently switched from Windows Vista to a Mac at work.

    There are some things in OSX that are downright crap.

    Maybe it’s because of working with XP and Vista for such a long time, but installing an app with the big icon drag and drop? Downright confusing.

    I don’t like the way windows of different programs lay on top of each other. It’s way too easy to accidentally click on a totally different program’s window.

    Getting to the desktop? I had to enable the active screen corners in Exposé, because for some reason alt-cmd-h (Hide all windows except this one) doesn’t work.

    The Function keys don’t work in Flash, which is a pain in the productivity. (They do now, since I turned off the Volume control etc.)

    Missing keys on the Keyboard that came with the iMac. (Where the hell are my curly and square brackets? I haven’t done any CSS coding yet, but that’s a big issue.)

    No “Home” and “End” button.

    Deleting files. Either you drag & drop to the Trash, or you have to use cmd-Backspace. Backspace only: Does Nothing. Delete: Does Nothing. cmd-Delete: Nothing.

    The Dock. I like the dock. It’s fantastic. It also gets in the way when I try to scroll horizontally in Photoshop or Firefox. (Same for the active screen corners)

    Oh and the last pet peeve: When a dialog box asks me if I really want to delete something? (This only happens when you use the cmd-Backspace keyboard shortcuts to delete a file) I have to use the tab key to move to the OK button, but then I have to hit the space bar to “click” it. The Enter-key? Does NOTHING.

    Good things: I haven’t crashed this computer yet. iTunes is faster on here. The screen is lovely (iMac). And a colleague installed Quicksilver for me.

  108. 108

    Ugh: The Link refers to “Quicksilver”

  109. 109

    To answer a few people who asked about breadcrumbs: you can get a full path in Finder by opening terminal and typing:

    defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

    Then type:

    killall Finder

    You will now have full paths viewable in the Finder title bar.


    Okay, and how is the workflow different from other operating systems? Being able to see windows in the background is a question of resolution, not operating system. The workflow is better, but it’s because you have things like expose, minimize/hide window options, one icon representing multiple windows, etc.

  110. 110

    I think the mac is elegant. I’ve used windows since 3.1 until vista and while vista is an improvement in design and ui from its predecessors its still not as tight in the design front and the functionality front.

    I’ve also used linux and there are certain features of it that i love, certainly not the ui but i’m very comfortable on a terminal so its not a problem for me.

    I feel like the mac is this royal princess who can perform impeccably but can also be bad and dirty if she has to hence have resigned to own one as soon as i can.

  111. 111

    I really like the point about kernel panics. In windows you get a blue screen with some memory pointers to help diagnose the issues, however with the Mac OS you are told to restart. When you next log into your account after you start the machine it presents and error report which you can read at use to fix the problem at your leisure.

  112. 112

    No.6 “I actually have real issues with the fact that menus are always at the top of the screen. I don’t want to choose my windows and THEN go to the menu bar. I like the fact that I can click the Edit (or whichever) menu of the window next to mine without needing to change to that window first.”
    Try this (DejaMenu):
    and it’s free. Get your menus from any position on the page in any app.

  113. 113

    @Mitch: very valid point. I think it’s useful when doing some multi-tasking, however I agree for example with applications like Photoshop you don’t want everything else to remain visible in the back. I remember it to be distracting, especially in the beginning, but you get used to it. I think both Windows and Mac aren’t perfect on this matter.

    A lot of points have pro’s and con’s to it, and some are also a case of getting accustomed to.

  114. 114

    Harv, just what is a UI with class? Oh you want more error codes and confusing messages about filetypes you need to be a programmer to understand? Or if you’re a Linux user, you like having a useless UI since you primarily run everything through terminal anyway? Is that classy? I’ve tried all three top oses and frankly, I see more intelligent design on the mac than anywhere else. The only thing second is the amazing implementation of the design. Judging from your opinion, you either don’t know how to use a mac, or you just simply spent about a day or two with one and didn’t really use it. I mean really, of all the things you could say in favor of windows, interface is hardly one of them.

  115. 115


    A nice typo!


  116. 116

    I’m sorry Tao, but I’m sure I didn’t misspell it myself. Some parts were edited by SM and thus out of my control unfortunately.

  117. 117

    Intuitiveness is a very hard concept. When I tried to install Skype on a mac, I didn’t manage even after 15 minutes. I just looked at the picture with skype on one side, an arrow and some sort of folder on the right side. Then I tried to find this folder in the finder and tried to move the downloaded file into there. I tried things like this for 15 minutes until I called for help.

    I didn’t find the UI for installing intuitive at all. It is intuitive if you know what it means, but it really is very ambigous.Personally I think they could have put just a little text there to instruct me what to do. But even more intuitive would be if they asked you “Do you want to install Skype?” and presented “Yes” and “No” buttons.

  118. 118

    “I don’t want to turn this article into some endless rambling about how great Mac is, but as the user of both systems I can speak from my own experience quite objectively.”

    I guess you didn’t totally contradict yourself with that statement, it did eventually end. Whew.

  119. 119

    I enjoyed this article , because unlike most windows users. I can embrace change and currently use a mac and a pc regulary. I use windows xp for coding , since visual studio is unparralleled and OSX for music production and regular internet use and occasionally the odd linux based work i need to do.

    I find it hillarious that most of the comments here are complaining about an article on useability on OSX when lets face it. Apple got it a lot more right with leopard than microsoft have with vista.
    But it seems most computer users are so stuck in there old ways that they can’t appreciate any other way of doing things which makes me sad.

  120. 120

    Q5 Grafisch Webdesign

    August 13, 2008 5:40 am

    Ofcourse everyone has it’s favorite. I still prefer Microsoft, but that’s probely because i work wit them for over 15 years now….

  121. 121

    Love my Mac, although have a PC at work. Nonetheless, I would like to point to some flaws in the Mac, particularly blatant to those that tend to use keyboard shortcuts (I suffered from a painful tendinitis and now try to avoid using the mouse as much as possible).
    Very often, the ESC button does not work
    Shame the Apple menu cannot be activated from the keyword, in the same way as the START menu in Windows
    You cannot move from one e-mail message to next/prior from within a message.
    To delete files, most often you have to drag them with your mouse and drop them in the Trash
    etc. etc.
    Some of these cases may have a solution if you install some plug-in (e.g., to flip from one file to another within the same application “à la ALT+TAB in windows), but generally speaking, I find it very irritating this whole Mac’s over-reliance on the mouse
    Besides that, I do love my Mac :-)

  122. 122

    While some are valid, these complaints are short-sighted and a lot of times wrong (or because no one took any time to learn about it in the first place – or such a preconceived notion on how it should work because they’ve used Windows for so long). Do you expect to know everything about the Mac in 10 minutes of use?


    “To delete files, most often you have to drag them with your mouse and drop them in the Trash”

    Move file to trash: Command-Delete
    Empty trash: Command-Shift-Delete?

    And this false statement from Grimmygrim:

    6. There is no built-in support for Mac’s favorite compression, StuffIt, whereas Windows and Linux has built-in support for zip (and in Linux’s case gzip).

    The Mac’s favorite compression is Stuffit? Back in the 90’s it was. Zip is built in on the Mac as well. Right-click (or Control-click) on a file/folder and choose “Create Archive of {file/folder}” (This is in Tiger, the menu name changed slightly in Leopard) And then there’s the terminal where you can use any number of compression commands.

    Installing an app non-intuitive? Do it once. Now you know how to do it again.

    Need to go to the start or end of a line?
    Start of line: Command-left arrow (or Command – up arrow)
    End of line: Command-right arrow (or Command – down arrow)

    And on and on…

  123. 123

    regarding point# 6, Fitts’ Law doesn’t make sense here. On OS X, for every window you have to go all the way to the top of the screen (=more distance travelled), so i don’t know what you’re trying to say here. As an example, the quicktime player window has all the playback buttons but for the menu you have to go all the way to the top of the screen.

    As for point# 9, I totally agree with you it’s about taste. That’s why in windows i have the option of doing what i want. Personally i’ve never maximized a window on my 2560×1600 dell monitor, i can see edges of inactive windows (I always have multiple windows open and i always see my gadgets on the google desktop sidebar). Talking about choice, maximizing windows on OSX sucks balls.

    Anyways i don’t want this to sound like a windows fanboy rant, it’s just that the rest of the article is well written and these two points sound like they were added for the heck of it (probably because a top 10 list sounds better than a top 8 list).

  124. 124

    As an interface designer, I have a few comments:
    I use both windows and macs, and I can agree with some of the comments, but then again, there is no perfect interface, as everybody thinks and works differently.
    Obviously the “techies” prefer windows as they like tinkering with the software and hardware, plus they are used to the operating system and feel is the right way to do things.
    On my personal experience, I have three windows computers at home (one is a laptop) and one macbook pro. My wife and kids prefer the mac, even when the other computers are similar or even more powerful. They don’t mind waiting for me to finish using it, when the pc laptop is available. “It just works” says my wife, Even my old father just purchased a mac after 20 years of windows usage, is a matter of “being able to do the work” instead of constantly having to adjust the settings or system. That’s the beauty of usability, and the mac does it best.
    When windows PC can be used by a 8 year old kid after 2 minutes of learning about it, will attain the mac’s usability.

  125. 125

    Check item 6 on the list. How exactly does the mouse travel LESS when the menus are FURTHER from the application window.

    Here are the reasons why I cannot switch to OSX (from Windows) despite the desire to have a more attractive computer setup:

    1. No richt click. I would need to change the mouse to get right click and change the keyboard to get something that actually lets your hands rest while typing. I execute probably 80% of all system functions that I need from context menus using the right-click. How can anybody claim that moving a mouse an inch onscreen is better than dragging icons to far-away droppoints?

    2. OSX does not communicate when something is happening. You click and icon and, well, wait. Then something opens or doesn’t. The cursor does not react to clickable areas.

    3. With windows the functions you need are always there where you need them. As a graphic designer I love clean design and understand the OSX design principles, but it just makes things faster to have functions repeated in different contexts in the system.

    4. The application menu is always far away from the application window itself. How does this make anything useable? Apple applications look nice in screenshots since they are missing the whole menu which is severed from the window. Insane.

    5. Font rendering. Fonts look messy in OSX. Microsoft has really taken onscreen typography to the level where it should be using subpixel rendering.

    6. The Dock. This is just ridiculous. I can’t find anything in the dock with all icons looking just as candy as the next. The Windows taskbar is just miles ahead in terms of usability.

    7. Browsing for files is a pain in the ass on OSX. With Windows there are dozens of different views and contexts where you can access files either using links, directory trees or other file-windows. You can type a path if you happen to remember it or even type FTP/HTTP addresses to access servers. With OSX what you have is a weird and unintuitive multi-column show with clipped filenames showing little or no useful file information.

    8. Programs do crash on OSX. And when they do, they just stop working. Or disappear. Atleast in Windows a crashing situation become obvious without having to search for a application gone missing of wondering why buttons have stopped responding.

    9. I use my computer to do work the way I think is best. So I want to tune by OS to work best with my style of working. I want certain directories to appear one way and others another way. I want to know what the computer is doing. I want to feel the machine working. I want to know what it is doing and when its done with it. I want to know when something has gone wrong. With OSX I am being treated like an idiot. The OSX understimates me as a computer-literate user. OSX is great for that low-maintenance toy in the kids room, not for work.

    10. Overall responsiveness. Windows is snappy, it responds fast to commands and operations. All extra animations can be removed to get that no-delay experience. Every time on OSX I get the feeling that I am not able to do things as fast as I could.

  126. 126

    quite interesting to see how stressful the debate is.
    Being a 1 week switcher to MacBook (15years of Windows+Linux), I can only say I’m very impressed with the overall system performance and layout.
    My principal needs are Firefox and any Multimedia player (VLC…), therefore any system embedding it that in a neat and tidy way will do it.
    Apple / Mac machines fill theses need hands down, and are actually just “enjoyable” to use, which is massive purchase argument, all in all

  127. 127

    i was just like you awhile ago. what i did was went out and bought one and forget about all the upcoming stuff. apple is lame with announcing new macbooks. if you’re going to keep waiting, you’ll never get one because of all the rumors.

  128. 128

    linux is going to be the best in the coming years… :)

  129. 129

    ahh, feel the love from all the Mac-haters out there! NO computer system or OS is perfect or ever will be, assuming the obvious fact that people have different taste in workflow. i don’t feel like this was an anti-Windows attack, but i believe it would have been more aptly advertised as a comparison of the two OS’ with a glowing review of the Mac platform.

    it seems this is a debate that will flame on forever. if you even mention that a feature is better in one OS or the other, proponents of the opposite OS will fire back with a (most times) angry retort!

    let me pose this question though…why does Microsoft have to trick people into finding the good points of Vista by nicknaming it “Mojave?” really, a taste test? is this Microsoft, or Carls Jr!

  130. 130

    @Mikael: I think those are all good points and I mostly agree. Obviously all operating systems have their highs and lows.

    Apparently, I (Vitaly Friedman) have misunderstood author’s ideas in some parts of the post. I am really sorry for that. (edited by the Editor)

  131. 131

    Uninstalling by drag and drop? What about all the preferences and shared resources in the /Library and /user/Library folder?

    You seemed to have not had to re-install Adobe Creatives Suite multiple times and run bash scripts in order to remove the left-over preferences.

  132. 132

    h-a-r-v –

    If it’s nice, fancy, and clear, how does it lack class? I would say those things together would pretty much exude class in a consumer product…certainly in an operating system.

  133. 133

    @Mikael You’d think with all the power user / programmers on Macs now they’d document this, but you can do command line Finder window by hitting “/” in the Finder window.

  134. 134

    Here we go again.


    1. No richt click. I would need to change the mouse to get right click and change the keyboard to get something that actually lets your hands rest while typing. I execute probably 80% of all system functions that I need from context menus using the right-click. How can anybody claim that moving a mouse an inch onscreen is better than dragging icons to far-away droppoints?

    Duh. Get a two button mouse. Or use the one you already have.

    3. With windows the functions you need are always there where you need them. As a graphic designer I love clean design and understand the OSX design principles, but it just makes things faster to have functions repeated in different contexts in the system.

    What you are describing is exactly the purpose of Apple’s HI Guidelines. Are you sure you don’t have this the other way around? Please describe.

    5. Font rendering. Fonts look messy in OSX. Microsoft has really taken onscreen typography to the level where it should be using subpixel rendering.

    This is obviously personal preference. I would argue the other way.

    6. The Dock. This is just ridiculous. I can’t find anything in the dock with all icons looking just as candy as the next. The Windows taskbar is just miles ahead in terms of usability.

    Oops. In point # 3 you said you were a graphic designer. Or do you prefer design that is not about candy? Maybe you could just replace your icons then? Check out CandyBar by Panic.

    8. Programs do crash on OSX. And when they do, they just stop working. Or disappear. Atleast in Windows a crashing situation become obvious without having to search for a application gone missing of wondering why buttons have stopped responding.

    Yes, programs do crash. Yes, they stop working. You mean they crash on Windows and still work? Isn’t that more confusing?

    Applications gone missing? Maybe you should check your system for ghosts.

    4. The application menu is always far away from the application window itself. How does this make anything useable? Apple applications look nice in screenshots since they are missing the whole menu which is severed from the window. Insane.

    Which application window? The first instance of Firefox you have running or the second instance or the third? ;)

  135. 135

    Lol. Did you ever attempt pushing the F9 (or Exposé button in leopard)??? F10 and F11 are quite useful as well.

  136. 136

    So many people in these comments just show over and over again, that they haven’t even bothered to try to use a Mac for more than 2 minutes. They just continue to believe pre-conceived ideas and don’t realise the so-called ‘missing feature’ is there all along, it’s just in a slightly different place.

    Most Windows to Mac switchers look for the hard ways to do a task. When I show them how its really done, they can’t believe how simple it was and completely overlooked the obvious.

    The Mac has supported 2 button mice for about 10 years, and been sold with them for the last few. Right-click contextual menus have been in the Mac OS since Mac OS 9 at least.

    For the people who are still living in the mid-90’s and believe that Mac’s are over-priced read this:,1985.html

  137. 137

    RE: 2. Intuitiveness (Application Install)

    What is the point of having a sweet drag and drop app install interface if there are dramatically less apps to install? You use Wine but its not the same as running natively.

    For every glossy Mac app there are dozens of Windows apps that have the same functionality if not more. Without a huge range of apps what use is an OS? Along with the apps there’s no games either, you say there no demand but every time one gets promised Mac fans go wild, even if it’s some made for Wine abortion.

    The reason for this is however much you think Mac is taking over there are so many more Windows users still, over 90% of the market. They are writing apps and buying software and until Apple can change this I can’t see things changing any time soon.

    For example they cater entirely for the well off, they don’t even have a proper budget range. In the developing world people will be buying a pc for the first time. With sub $200 PCs with Linux or Windows expensive propriety hardware/software like Apple Macs don’t stand a chance.

    Macs will continue to be a toy for the well off, ‘in crowd’ and computer illiterate.

  138. 138

    Why did someone have to write another Mac article that opened the whole Win fanboy vs Mac fanboy debate?

    @ubuntu user –

    RE: your inane rambling.

    dude… its a computer, not a religion, take it easy hater. Sounds like you dont like macs because you feel like you cant afford one or its for some elite class. I think you should direct your hate to all those LCD and Plasma TV makers that dont make cheap versions for the developing world…. what a bunch of jerks! Yeah! then go after Mercedez Benz… those dregs dont make a low end car for people of lesser means… HOW DARE THEY!


  139. 139

    I disagree with point number 6.
    I find that I have more space to travel when I have to go back to the menu bar at the top of the screen, ESPECIALLY in a multi-monitor environment.

  140. 140

    For Exposé in Windows, you could use a program called Desposé. It’s basically the same thing. I like Mac, but it’s just too expensive for me. I tried it once with a kalaway install but didn’t exactly like it. It’s got an okay UI and all but it feels like an OS made so computer illiterate people wouldn’t be able to break it. Besides, Windows gets way more free and open source apps than Macintosh.

  141. 141

    Hah, you just said ‘Windoz’ so ner

  142. 142

    Yes! Most of the people complaining that the Mac OS cannot do this or that simply have not learned how to do it on the Mac OS.

    Actually complaining about the non-intuitiveness of dropping an app. icon that is sitting next to huge text that says “DROP THIS IN YOUR APPLICATIONS FOLDER” and simply dropping the icon into one’s Applications folder that (if you were a more savvy Mac OS user) is sitting right there in your doc. It must simply be too easy for your Microsoft-conditined ways…

    Hello!, that Mac mouse has 4 (four) available buttons on it for customization. Just because you cannot “see” the left and right mouse button does not mean they are not both there. 3rd button is pushing down the scroll wheel itself and 4th button are the two on the left/right sides that one squeezes. All four buttons are customizable. If you need to actually see visible lines that differentiate the left and right buttons, I guess one could spend $15 and buy a different mouse.

    I have one machine that I can easily load os X, Windows (Vista or XP), or Ubuntu (Linux) and switch very quickly to any of them.

    I am sick of the analogy that because your Windows OS is more complicated to use, that it is more adult-like and that the simplicity of the Mac OS is equated to child-like. That analogy, in general, is child-like.

    Fonts look VASTLY better on Mac os. In fact the font actually looks like the font would look on the printed page with the Mac OS. All you Windows folks have been living with those jaggy, non-fonts for so long you cannot even remember what real fonts look like. I think this is one of the biggest/most fundamental issues with Mac vs Windows arguments. Fonts look like pure garbage on a Windows box. Whenever I need to load up Windows on my Intel Mac to test how changes to my website render in IE (another huge piece of garbage), I am forced to see how ugly fonts render in Windows. It is 2008, what is up with this! The only response I seem to get is: 1) Windows users are used to fonts looking like 1993 windows 3.1……or 2.) Windows clear type anti-aliasing techniques actually make fonts more readable that Mac OS, at the expense of the on-screen rendering actually looking like the font it is supposed to be representing. The answer to both has to be a resounding no-way!

  143. 143

    I became a fan of this magazine a few weeks back because of some sensible articles on web techniques. This article, however, is not sensible at all, and I advise some research should be done before spouting terms like Fitt’s Law. While the menu bar at the top of the screen makes an infinite target space, how often do you actually use it? And it’s much more demanding to use than a Windows machine if you happen to own one of those gigantic 30″ displays that only Apple popularises..

    Anyhow, I can’t say I’m a fan of the technical side of Mac OS X’s usability – it’s not consistent (can you say Brushed Metal?), keyboard shortcuts are numerous but often cranky (Adobe apps break HIDE!!), and the lack of true MDI interfaces is more annoying to my workflow than not. I hate being able to see crap on my desktop while I’m trying to click a button!

    I love OSX and use it daily, but in terms of pure usability I think it’s a dead heat between OSX and Windows.

  144. 144

    Mactards drink too much Kool-Aid. Apple is an overhyped p.o.s.

  145. 145

    As a very long-time Mac User, I would disagree with the application uninstall argument under point 2. While many applications are that way, a number of applications (particularly those ported from Windows) do not use the app bundle intelligently, or don’t put their files in the right places (I’m looking at you, ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/). Games are often the worst, because of their placement of media files.

    That said, even the worst-case apps are still just a matter of deleting a folder or three, if you can find them; it’s very rare that they’ll dump stuff on your Desktop, in the Dock, as a Startup Item, etc.

  146. 146

    I think there should be a Mac versus Windows version of “Godwin’s Law”. Instead of the losing side being the first side that mentions the Nazis, it should be the first side that mentions Fitt’s Law :-)

  147. 147

    Thank you…exactly right. The mouse must travel more on the Mac, a decided disadvantage than having the menus on the windows.

  148. 148

    The main problem I have with OS X is the inability to set a minimum font size for all applications – and the whole interface. Font sizes are all over the place. Especially in pro-apps. It kills my eyes. I have a 30″ LCD and would prefer a minimum font size of 18 point everywhere. And resolution independence wont help as it scales everything up including the graphic elements. Really!

  149. 149

    Apologies for bringing grammar into this discussion but I do believe it is relevant as more and more journalists write about Apple and the Mac. Does anyone else think that the use of the singular term “Mac” to start a sentence or in certain references sound incorrect without an article such as “The” or “A” preceding it? Despite Apple’s advertising, Mac is not a person and even Justin Long says he’s “a” Mac. My friends who own a Mac often say that it is a dead giveaway that writers using phrases like “I love Mac but my problem is…” don’t actually own one. Anyway, what do you guys think?

  150. 150

    The only thing I don’t like on a Mac is that you have to right click to delete files. On a PC you can just select and hit the delete button.

  151. 151


    Isn’t “a Mac” referring to a machine that has the Mac operating system running on it and simply “Mac” refers to the operating system itself? I’m not sure there’s a clear distinction, but that’s about how I use it.

    “I love Mac” is then grammatically equal to saying “I love Windows”.

  152. 152

    Nice article, but there are two things that I’d like to comment on:

    The first is item number 6, Fitts’ Law. The example stated is in my opinion a prime example of disobeying Fitts’ Law, since the menus are always at the top it means that the user will have to move the mouse a potentially long distance (if the window of the application is in the lower right corner) to a relatively small (in proportion to the resolution of modern displays) piece of text. Not good!

    My other comment is about item number 9, Workflow. It might be that I missed something but have not (nearly) all window managers since the the GUI was invented at Xerox PARC allowed this kind of workflow?

  153. 153

    Nice recap article for me.

    I’ve been using Mac OS X for 3 years now, and prior Windows for the rest of my life, and in all honesty I’ve had less problems with my Mac than any PC I’ve had. I love the little things that Apple does, I love the UI design, and overall stability of OS X.

    However, I’ve also worked in Apple Tech Support I know that they have problems as well, just a hell of a lot less than Windows!

  154. 154

    One big, irritating inconsistency to me is that some apps go away when you close their last window and some don’t. Close iPhoto and it is gone. Close iTunes, terminal or Address Book and they continue to remain actively loaded. I’m not how that fits in Apple’s guidelines, but it is definitely inconsistent.

  155. 155

    half of the Windows users who posted a comment here are complaining that you have to use the mouse more, and have less keyboard shortcuts when using a Mac. The other half are complaining that you cannot click the big X with one’s mouse to quit a program on the Mac OS…!?

    (hint: command+Q)

  156. 156

    Good points in your piece, though much more can be said about OS X’s virtues vs. Windows.

    I think what attracts me to Mac as a former Windows user (no experience with Vista, just 3.1 through XP) is the ease with which many tasks are accomplished, from connecting a printer to setting up a network to burning a disk. Simply connect a digital camera to a mac, iPhoto opens, photos are uploaded with a click. Drag a jpg and drop it on the iPhoto icon in the dock, it opens and the photo is added to the photo library. no opening of windows, no finding the right folder, no double clicking. Do the same with an mp3 and iTunes or a PDF and Preview’s icon, it opens. Drop any readable file on the MS Word dock icon, and even it will do the same. This is universal with all files and applications on the Mac, a huge time saver.

    The search function spotlight offers is so immensely superior and easier in comparison to Windows search as to be unfair to even compare them. You can actually find things and open them effortlessly.

    Reliability is also much higher. Far fewer crashes, glitches and shutdowns, which were a regular experience with my Windows machines. Installing applications and updates rarely requires restart on a Mac (the kludgy installer used by MS applications like Office being one of the few exceptions). Such little things add up quickly to a more user friendly and productive experience.

    Two points were made in comments I’d like to address.

    One commenter mentioned the mouse issue. It is absolutely true that the best mouse I’ve ever used on a Mac is the Microsoft wireless Intellimouse. I went through two of the Apple Mighty Mouse models, both failed after a few months — the little trackball gets gummed up and is impossible to clean. Never again. MS makes a great mouse.

    Another commenter mentioned that upgrading Macs is a nightmare, and this is absolutely false. I have been upgrading Macs for years. The older G4 and G5 towers are models of usability and upgradability. I’ve upgraded every component in them, including CPUs, and have replaced the ROMs on Windows Radeon 9800 Pro graphics cards for use in Mac. Nothing nightmarish about it. Most recently I’ve upgraded CPU, hard drive and optical drive in a Mac Mini, converting a weak 1.5 intel core solo mac mini into a 2 ghz core2 duo with superdrive and bigger faster hard drive. From start to finish, the upgrades took me 20 minutes to install. The Mac Mini’s are marvelously engineered and easy to work on.

  157. 157

    I fully understand. From the opposite point of view, I just experienced the switch to Vista on my work laptop. It is nauseating (boot screen looks like a curtain with algae dripping down from the top), dizzying (the translucency feature actually blurs the underlying window), and infuriating (space is used up unnecessarily, it is inconsistent, beloved easy-top-use features have been removed — anybody know why the easy to use “X” to delete a file in XP has been replaced by a drop-down and a contextual menu?) — and so much more. Closing the cover on the laptop usually does not result in sleep but in a dead battery the next morning. Oh, and shutting down, the obvious alternative, takes sooo much longer.

    My 4 year old home iMac, ancient by corporate standards, is a joy to use.

  158. 158

    I’m glad to see other folks who have issues with the “mile high menu” on Macs.

    I use both PCs and Macs equally and now that monitors have gotten larger than the old 15 inchers, Fitt’s law is obsolete.

    Add a second monitor to the mix and it’s downright horrible. Make those monitors 30 inchers and I want to tear my hair out. I have to pick my hand and mouse up and move it back two or three times just to get the mouse back over to the FILE menu.

    The fact that you can actually click between two selected items in Finder and it deselects everything is a real mystery to me. This is NOT user friendly in any way. Do the designers of software actually USE their software? Often it seems not.

    Both these particular issues are productivity killers for sure. I hope that more people complain about this so Apple finally sees the light.

  159. 159

    I have used both OS’ and I used to own a Mac…used to. People diss Vista, personally I find Vista to be an extremely fast to boot and fast to re-act OS. I do have my system maxed for Vista, which is something that WE Windows users can do easily. We do not Steve’s permission to make changes to our computers.

    X is pretty to look at, stable. Will never take that away from it. But after upgrading to Leopard, I felt let down. The OS sucked on my iBook, unable to click on my Desktop (Finder) until I closed the app that I was currently working on, what BS. It did not just happened on my iBook also on my Powerbook and also on my mini, again BS.

    I am using the same XP machine now upgraded to Vista and simply love it. “MSFT stole from X” yeah, you know what, they all steal from each other. Take the Dashboard do you guys remember Konfobulator ? Now owned by Yahoo. Uhm yeah, real original right?
    And why does it have to remain hidden? I like my widgets where I can use them not hidden below. BTW they are memory hog, no matter which OS you prefer.

    In the end I GAVE away my copy of Leopard because frankly it was a joke, did not feel that it was worth selling the copy since it was lousy and I would not wish that upon anyone. I may eventually switch back to X, but with the idea that Apple now and their precious iPhone has a kill switch, makes me wonder, do I really need or want anyone to be protecting me? No, I can handle things on my own. Mr Jobs needs to get off his horse and let people do their own thinking….wasn’t that at one time one of their Ads, Think…? Funny, how he doesn’t want you to think. Control PHREAK. My HTC Touch is frigging awesome and on Sprint it blows the socks of any of my friends on their 3G. Blah.

    Mac was nice, it’s starting to suck still overrated and overpriced. I went back to MSFT, it allows me to do things my way, not the way some ____ wants me to do things. After all it is mine.

    In this article 10 great things….where are they? Get real, get a clue.

  160. 160

    Duh! It’s called productivity. Every test done has clearly shown that people learn apps faster on a Mac and are more productive doing the same task on a Mac. Maybe because using a Mac is actually fun! using a Mac like working in a person-friendly office as opposed to an endless warehouse.

  161. 161

    @20.daniel: You’re actually giving apple a point. Think in the dock. The icons get larger as soon as you get close to them…
    Although the authors of the article could have pointed that. Instead, they preferred the stupid bar. You can even say ” you don’t need to click start -> all programs” . Since i suppose your favorite apps are in the dock.

  162. 162

    Willi E. Johnson

    August 14, 2008 5:03 pm

    YOU ARE AWESOME. You are the first website that gives the most comprehensive factorial reasons why Mac OS is great!

  163. 163

    i’m a mac user for a long time, but this article is no good at all. to get to the point:

    1) yeah, right. the ‘maximize’ button has his own function everytime in every application. no consistency there. also apps for leo and tiger are kinda different, so lack of consistency here

    2) intuitivnes? not much more than on XP. ok, you install just by draging, but its the same as installing on win machines. you still have to doubbleclick the package (install file in XP), drag it (or click 3 times next in XP) and eject it (click finis in XP). many programs prompt you after the install with the EULA, so no big difference.
    and uninstall? no way. you may think, that by moving it to trash youre finished – try AppZapper and youll see how much stuff the apps install into the library etc. nice thing in windows – the uninstaller.

    3) what effective about those metaphores?! linux and windows have the same amount of brilliant/crap metaphores, so???

    4) oh, error reporting! sadly – no. windows handles this way much better – bubbles on the taskbar. they may be annoying (and surely they are), but inform you about everything. instead the mac informs me about… well… mouse connection and… anything else? yeah, great.

    5) true, but wrong. its nice not to see much stuff, but without X knowledge you wont do ANYTHING in the whole system. atleast windows lets you to do (almost) everything in a GUI….

    6) yeah, great… if youre working on a 19″ or less monitor. but try 2×30″ (or even 24″) – youll find the bar reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally far far away. and with the crappy style macOS handles mice… baaaaaaaaad (thank god for USB overdrive!)

    7) ever changed something and wanted to click cancel, cuz it was a bad idea? now you CANT. back to the “consistency” – some apps/settings have the “ok/cancel/apply”, some dont… wtf?!

    8) yup, one of the greatest things in OSX. just damn that shortcuts and when you connect a new HFS harddrive full of stuff – forget for the moment, that you wanted to do something on the mac and get some coffee…

    9) effecient for who?! if you see 2091 windows on a screen – doesnt that make it a LITTLE bit chaotic?! surely it does (thank got for think!)

    10) uh…

    so please, think before you write something like this article…
    and dont get me wrong – i like OSX and i am really glad i dont have to use windows anymore, but the “facts” you published here are really pure blasphemy.

  164. 164

    As an old time pc user and Microsoft fan (i’m a Microsoft fan just because i see everyone seems to hate it), I sometimes seriously consider switching to Mac. But just a search on the internet and browsing around blogs and forums on the internet is enough for me to forget the idea. It’s not the Mac that disappoints me, it’s the fan base. It’s the snobbishness among the Mac users, from Steve Jobs himself to the normal user, that disgusts me.
    The fact is, OSX it’s just an ordinary OS, like others, which is optimized for a very limited number of Machines. It would have the same problems as Windows if it was installed on unlimited number of machines with so many faulty drivers.
    And the illusion of its security. Mac’s being secure it’s like a man being immune from rubbery because of living alone in an island where there is no one else. You want an evidence: Read about the history of Quick time and Safari on Windows. Safari’s security holes started being discover after just hours of its release.
    Don’t get me wrong I really like Mac’s and I am still in thoughts of a switch(although i fear greatly of missing some Appz). But come one be more reasonable and admit that with Apple’s way, not everyone in the world can have a computer.
    But damn the Macbook Pro’s are beautiful.

  165. 165

    Use Parallels or VMWare Fusion to run Linux or Windoze on your mac. Vista actually runs better on most Macs than on comparable PC boxes.

  166. 166

    dude, for once…when you click on “edit” on a window…in Windows….you SELECT the window…therefore its the exact same thing…and since windows in Windows take up the whole screen, it’s more time consuming than in OS X.

    Also, the “maximize” button on OS X isnt a “maximize to screen” button…its a “maximize window to ITS specified size”….for example…if a webpage is 800 pixels in width…it makes the browser 800 pixels in width

  167. 167

    At the end of the day a person happy with Mac will stick with mac, someone who likes Windows will stay with windows, and ditto for Linux. I think it is somewhat superficial to say ‘here’s 10 good reasons why xxx is better than yyy’. This is simply because, one can reverse the argument the other way and simply say, here’s 10 other features I like about Vista, or whatever.

    So just go away and find something more meaningful to write about, so we will have something more meaningful to ponder. I’ve already wasted time by responding here…

  168. 168

    Apple products are like a girlfriend; you need one as long as you don’t have one, and when you do, you realize it’s really no big deal and go back to normal ways.

  169. 169

    right on.
    that was the nicest comment I’ve ever read about Mac’s.

  170. 170

    I’ve had my Mac now for about 3 years or so, and I use it almost every day. But, I still don’t understand why the GUI is held up as a shining example of good design. Here’s my list of why the Mac is pretty poor. Not all these are GUI issues, but many of them are.

    To pre-empt anyone pointing out that I am a MS Windows convert or some such, I would like to point out that I am not. I am not comparing my Mac to Windows. I am comparing my Mac to common sense and pretty much every other OS out there that has ever had a GUI (Windows, Linux, BSD, Amiga (!), etc etc).

    I present my “Top 10 Usability Lows Of Mac OS”…

    * In order to move focus to a window, you need to click on it, which always brings it to the front, and covers up the other window that you were looking at and need to refer to (aka standard MS Windows behaviour). Horribly annoying, and because of the way the Mac puts the menu at the top of the screen, there’s not much you can do about this; no chance of an X-Windows type “non-click” focus option

    * Only one “resize” point on a window; in the bottom right. Quite frustrating at times

    * Pop-up (or rather, “roll-down”) dialogue boxes that cover up the window that you are using; a classic example is the spell check box on several applications; it covers up the text you are trying to check, and so you loose the context

    * When I don’t have my wireless router switched on, my Mac INSISTS on asking me if I want to connect to next door’s (unprotected) router. This is despite clicking the “do not ask me this again” box

    * The standard mouse movement is AWFUL

    * My icon for my email client insists on bouncing up and dound when an email comes in. I don;t mind it doing it a couple of times to let me know I have an email, but why does it have to do it for ever, thus forcing me to break off from what I’m working on just to shut the thing up?

    * Customising the desktop is pretty much impossible. I don’t like a white background to everything; it gives me a headache. But I have no options to change this. Pretty basic stuff really

    * When I close an application with the little red button, it doesn’t actually close it. It removes it from the desktop, but the app is still running. Where is the logic in this behaviour? The app should be either running and usable or neither; not running and (effectively) out of control

    * My Mac insists on writing .Data and .Trash files (or whatever they are called) all over the place. Very very annoying with removable media that is swapped between different OS’s. And despite what many people say, these files DO cause problems. But you can’t stop it happening (at least not without spending cash on some tool to fix it, which should not be necessary)

    * The Mac OS is (by default) case-insensitive. While inconvenient, this is not a major problem. What IS a problem is that some of the “standard” unix command line tools get confused by this behaviour (it looks like Apple has modified some of the tools to work properly, but it has missed some bits), and so don’t always work correctly

  171. 171

    linux is like being single – you have to do everything with your own hands.
    windows is like being married – you rather stick at work longer, just not to get home to your bitchy wife who just screams at you and doesnt do anything to please you.


  172. 172

    @Bob (August 12th, 2008, 3:59 pm)

    Nope, this isn’t fanboyism. You just didn’t understand Fitt’s Law.

    Fitt’s law states: “The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target.” (

    By putting the menu bar at the top the screen, a menu item has an infinite height (you don’t have to slowdown your mouse pointer to get the y-position right). So, even if the distance to reach the click target may sometimes be longer, the size of the target matters more in most cases.

    There are empirical studies on this subject, which you may want to consult.

    I said “in most cases” deliberately, because the advantage ot the size target may become less relevant in certain instances:
    multiple monitor settings with only one monitor displaying the menu bar or really really large monitors (I have 1920x1200px on my Mac and it’s definitely not yet detrimental with regard to Fitt’s).

  173. 173

    I’d love for Apple to make a merge option when copying folders to a location where one already exists by the same name. If you aren’t careful – you actually lose all content in the destination folder.

    The Finder got improved in Leopard, but Explorer on Windows is better at the job. Could not however live without Exposé and QuickLook, which I sorely miss on my work computer (that runs Windows).

  174. 174

    If Fitts’ Law says that users are more productive with the mouse when they have less distance to travel and a larger target to click on to do their tasks….WHY the hell did Mac’s design engineers have all application menus attached to the top of the screen, rather than to the applications’ windows where it would have context and ACTUALLY be less of a mouse movement. I know why…because it looks a little better with multiple less-than-full-screen windows..form over function.

    Mac applications have no useless “OK” and “Apply”…but have a fair few other “confirm” type buttons.
    All windows visible in the background ensuring a LESS efficient workflow as you cant focus on what you are doing. Unfortunately this is encouraged by the lack of a good way to view all open windows.

    Even kernel panic looks nice!..well on my girlfriends macbook it looked rather sad…what is kernel panic BTW…sounds rather technical

    Oh and my favourite piece of usability..the tiny little bit of the bottom right corner of a window that you have to grab to resize a window.

    And last but certainly not least..the most funtional thing of all is the packaging…something that beautifull just HAS to work well…doesn’t it?

  175. 175

    One of your top 10 is probably my biggest complaint about the Mac: “almost all application menus are attached to the top of the screen, rather than to the applications’ windows”, I find that this means it takes quite a bit of effort on my part to ensure that the menu I’m looking at is the one I want since all apps put their menu in the exact same place. I find the windows system, where the menu is on the app window, I never have this confusion.

  176. 176

    I agree with you. Its all pretty, I find OSX an Operating system with all the gloss but it feels like they treat users as being stupid when in some cases they are not.

  177. 177

    Great article,
    it shows many ways in which the Mac OS is intuitive and easy to use. I use Macs at home and develop for Windows at work. I find it humorous when people get so offended by Mac lovers like its still 1990. Windows is for work, get over it. Computers are everywhere and there’s no reason to be stuck using Windows everywhere you go. It is well known that Microsoft constantly looks to the Mac OS for inspiration (they paid $100 million for the right to do so) and that’s a good thing. And Apple isn’t getting into the SQL Server/Exchange/Big Hardware business. Macs just look better in your living room. Sorry if you can’t afford one. I can’t afford a Porsche but I’m not going to tell you my Corolla is just as nice to drive. And if you’re upgrading a Mac’s hardware, you’re missing the whole point. Windows is designed for that stuff. Macs are information appliances and will run for decades if you need them to. I have a Mac SE from 1987 and it still runs fine.

  178. 178

    Please, you’re making me vomit, that is so freaking biased, ooh, mac this, os x that, give me a break.

  179. 179

    I read a lot of criticism regarding #6. I just want to say this one has been added to the article by SM, so those aren’t my words. Personally, I would indeed prefer Window’s use of taskbars. One advantage of the Mac way, is the consistency. The taskbar is always in the same spot and has a similar structure.

  180. 180

    mac’s are only intuitive if you have been on them for quite some time.

    ex #1. when im at school and my thumb drive is full, i start deleting things to free up some space. I “delete the file”, try to move another file on, and weird, i still dont have space… how intuitive is not deleting the file till the trash is emptied?

    ex #2a. “users are more productive with the mouse when they have less distance to travel and a larger target to click on to do their tasks” how does this make sense? you have 2 screens, file open in screen 2, menu bar in screen 1?

    ex #2b. say you have your window not “almost maximized” as mac always does… and a window at 50% behind it, your menu bar is now much farther away than it would be in windows or linux… that is not intuitive at all… why would you want your operating systems menu bar to change at all.

    pretty weak article

  181. 181

    Matt (August 12th, 2008, 7:31 am)

    Are you aware of Expose’ (system preferences)? I’ve had as many as 30 windows open. All I have to do is move my cursor to the upper right hand corner and all my screens become visible at once. Then I just click on the one I want to go to.

    Or am I missing something in the way you work?

  182. 182

    Most of the times I’ve had a kernel panic (which have been I think twice in over a year, and it was with 10.5.0/.1) when I rebooted, the apple crash reporter was opened. You can get a basic idea of what happened if you look through the report.

  183. 183

    I agree with #160, the menubar is a real productivity killer especially with multiple monitors. Hey Apple, give me an option to keep the menubar with the application window.

    Another productivity killer is that you can only resize a window from the bottom right corner and move a window from the top.

    Yet another productivity killer is the not so Mighty Mouse which fails to recognize button presses reliably. How many times do I have to click the gosh darn thing to get it to respond!?

    Doesn’t Apple eat their own dog food?

  184. 184

    The problem is, my good man, it’s not a maximize button and never has been. The idea was to increase the size of the window as big as necessary to show all or as much as possible of the open document. It has ALWAYS been that way on a Mac. So saying the maximize button doesn’t work, only shows that you are a Windows user making uneducated remarks on the Mac OS interface.

  185. 185

    Justin Vanden Bosch

    August 15, 2008 2:32 pm

    One word for those who lose windows in mac and find it cluttered. Spaces.
    One of the greatest features built into OSX.
    I have used windows (since 3.1), Linux on the side for 3 years and recently OSX.
    OSX just works and its great. I’m currently dual booting my 24″ imac to OSX and Ubuntu. Allows me to use OSX most of the time and then whenever I need to use higher end professional engineering programs (unigraphics, hyperworks etc) I can just reboot into ubuntu.
    It’s great setup with rare crashes, unlike my lenovo T60 laptop with XP (I’m on my 3rd hard drive this year)

  186. 186

    Hey guys
    I never used Mac OS, so i can’t tell how good/bad it is.
    But, if i understand it well, its like my father owning a Mini Cooper(the “new” Mini).
    Its a well designed product, extremely expensive and it has some annoying things (like the speed meter in the middle of the car, not in the driver’s side).
    But its like being in a special club or having an unique style. Its almost a way of living.
    And then theres the addons ( John Cooper Works kit ) that fortify that feeling.
    In seconds you just want everything Mini.
    That’s how i suppose that Mac’s are. Apple Version:
    Its a well designed product, extremely expensive and it has some annoying things (like the bar always at the top of the screen).
    But its like being in a special club or having an unique style. Its almost a way of living.
    And then theres the addons ( iPod, iPhone and those little services that Apple offers ) that fortify that feeling.
    In seconds you just want everything Apple/Mac.
    That’s what i think it is to have a Mac in these days. And yes, the Mini sometimes gives me some headaches, but i suppose its something special and unique. Like Apple stuff.

  187. 187

    When will OS X stop violating Fitts’ Law and start putting the menu on the same monitor as the window? It is retarded that if I have four monitors and I am working in an app on the right most monitor and I need to do something that I haven’t memorized the key combo for I have to move my mouse left 2 monitors to get to the menu (I have the menu on the 2nd monitor from the left). Each monitor should have a menu that corresponds to the window on that monitor that most recently had focus or currently has focus.

  188. 188


    I felt the same way you did/do back in the late 90’s, when dotcom, apple, starbucks were all the rage. Who do they think they are? Always happy, hip, cool dotcommers! Curse you!!! Me with my spanking new, overpriced Dell 333mhz with (wait for it: 6BG HDD/64MB RAM!!!) I’ll show ‘em, they are far too whimsical for us ‘Serious’ Windows users, with our visible screw-holes, illegible texted stickers and rear-loading(!) usb 1.0 ports.

    I have grown to be a MAC guy, yes and as a business owner in the Architecture/Construction sector, I find that the lack of seriousness (as you call it) mitigates those hellish Monday mornings and scary Friday deadlines, where by and large, we work at a good clip, communicating between our two offices here in Brooklyn and in Southern Ireland often without a hitch.

    I have come to equate the visual ‘seriousness’ of a product with that of unreliability, visually, the lack of confidence (not the a Mac actually has a stream of consciousness, although some may disagree) that PC designs project is undeniable. You know you’ll need to crack one open when you need it most.

  189. 189

    I’m not sure if mac Finder is one of the usability highs. i use both windows and mac and i feel stupid using the mac’s finder. I don’t know why we can’t resize the columns in the column views without moving your mouse to the bottom of the window and drag that tiny icon. And why can’t the columns be resized to fit the names of the folders/files. this pisses me off everyday using it to the point that i just create as many shortcuts to the sidebar as i need to.

  190. 190

    While installing / uninstalling might be intuitive, and i think thats great for usability, from a security POV its actually the worst behaviour. The way OSX facilitates this behaviour is by statically linking the applications and bundling all the libraries with the application. This means its very easy to add / remove applications but if a particular library (that is not part of the default install) has a vulnerability, then every single application that uses that library must also be upgraded. Since not every application has an upgrading mechanism, this means every user has to be aware of the status of ever application they have installed on their computer and upgrade them manually. Note that this isn’t an OSX specific problem, MS Windows also does the same thing.

    The traditional UNIX model of dynamically linking solves this problem but it is much harder to mimic the install behaviour. FreeBSD / Linux use the ports tree / apt/ yum etc… which is probably slightly more work , slightly less intuitive to actually install applications but makes it easier / more intuitive to stay secure.

  191. 191

    I generally agree with the article, MACs are OK, but take a look at OpenSuse 11.0 – choose KDE 3.5.9 on installation and enjoy.

  192. 192

    web design company

    August 19, 2008 10:34 pm

    stop with mack loving. Windows is better anyway.

  193. 193

    I do agree that I don’t care for Spotlight in 10.5, compared to 10.4. When you open the results window, everything used to be nicely categorized. Now it’s a big list (yes, you can sort by type…).

    One thing I noticed when setting up a new Mac for my parents, is that some things may be a little confusing for a new user. For example, stacks in the dock. The strange icons of a stack of documents really doesn’t relate well to the concept of a folder of documents. I changed them to the folder icon.

    As a long-time Mac user and a 5-year user (daily) of Windows, I think the consistent placement of the menu in Mac OS is definitely better than the placement of menus in Windows. For those of you arguing about Fitt’s law–isn’t there something about having menus placed in a predictable place? I don’t always have my windows maximized. Plus, that’s what keyboard shortcuts are for!

    Also, I still haven’t gotten used to Windows’ files and folders being sorted separately.
    When I am looking for something, I usually know it’s name, but sometimes I don’t know if it is a file or a folder.

    And Spotlight kick’s the behind of Windows’ slow search function.

  194. 194

    Very nice article to summarize why I love the Mac and dislike Windows. I got my first Mac 2 years ago and since then it has been getting better and better. I finally wiped out my Windows systems.

  195. 195

    @ Matt (August 12th, 2008, 7:31 am) :

    That’s why you have expose and spaces, to have an instant overview of what application windows you have open, and if you make good use of spaces you have even more “space” to open them and have them organized……

  196. 196

    First, I have a Mac, and I like it better than Windows. I prefer Linux (Arch!), but I’m in school and waste too much time fiddling with bleeding-edge software on Linux. :)

    @#1, consistency is not as good as it’s fabled to be. Drag and drop?
    Finder > Sidebar = Add a shortcut
    Sidebar > Finder = *poof*
    Finder > Dock = Add a shortcut
    Dock > Finder = *poof*

    @#5, defragmentation went the way of FAT32 filesystems (RIP, 2001). All modern file systems defragment as a matter of course, unless you go above 80% usage or so.

    @#6, my problem with the menu in the upper right-hand corner is that I have to bring a window to front before clicking the menu. Also, windows will lose focus, and I will end up clicking the window for another application accidentally. I prefer the menus beneath the title bar for each window. Fitt’s Law is more of a suggestion for Fitt’s family and friends.

    @#9, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Window handling is almost identical in all major desktop environments. Expose is nice.

    To me, the strongest features of an OS X laptop are the warranty, the multitouch trackpad, spotlight (mmm, spotlight), and a fair deal of multimedia integration. Apple does the same sort of controlling-my-experience thing that Microsoft does, and I resent the hell out of that, though.

    Nonetheless, I tend heavily towards recommending Macs to people who ask, and only recommend Windows if their specific need requires it.

  197. 197

    If I could choose between a 5 dollar graphics card and a 150 dollar graphics card – i would put my money on the 150 dollar one any day.
    This article sums up perfectly what Macs are about – UI – class – Style.

    And the comment about trying to do a major upgrade is not part of a mac users vocab – they simply buy a newer better one. It beats the hell out of fiddling with some appaling bad pile of 3rd party bits and bobs simply to alleviate the pcs original shortcomings.

    Who would ever want to sit in front of some machine that spouts endless drivel when trying to use a new usb device – just plug it and and get on with it – dont tell ask me if i want to search the world for the driver.

    PC’s are for messing with

    Macs are for using


  198. 198

    That’s not strictly true

    More Windows users are now migrating to Mac – I dont know any Mac users who want to migrate to PC. Further I now have clients who need to run windows and they claim that it runs better on a mac.

  199. 199

    One of the best features is that Macs never respond to a virus. I understand that there has never been a Mac that has been infected with a virus. That is a comfort to me.

  200. 200

    I use a PC at work and and an old Mac at home.
    I’ll list the problems that I have with both staring with PC…
    PC Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 1.86Ghz, 1GB ram, about 1 year old

    -Outlook stop receiving mail, requiring me to relaunch Outlook a number of times a day.
    -When I print to PDF, the pages get split down the middle on random occasions forcing me to use another PC to create the files.
    -Word randomly goes to default mode with default fonts, sizing and page views. I have to re-set these settings once every two months (approx).
    -Automatically changes default printer on some programs but not others. I don’t find out until I go to print.
    -MS Access sometimes forgets where the server is. I have to restart the computer just so Access can find the server again.
    -Inconsistent loading times. Some applications will load in next to no time, but sometimes the same application will take much more time to load if it loads at all.
    -Randomly reverts to MS Internet Explorer as default browser even though I’ve selected Firefox
    -Restarting takes an between 5 to 8 minutes until it’s ready to use again.

    Apple Macintosh G4 Power PC 800Mhz 2003 model
    -The DVD drive takes a while to kick in (30 seconds) if the computer has been sitting idle for longer than 5 minutes.
    -Restarting takes about 1 minute 30 seconds until the computer is ready to use again.

    One small problem that is predictable and consistent versus a number of problems that crops up randomly.
    It’s proof that no matter how crappy your product is, if you have the right marketing you can sell any old crap to people eh Microsoft?

  201. 201

    I use a PC at work and a mac at home. My experience is that I can acheive things faster on a mac. The operating system lets you blast through work rather than hinder you, the crashes are less frequent and even though my mac is 3 years older than my work PC (which is more powerful and has more memory) my iMac is considerably faster and more stable.

    Windows is poor at best and I cannot see why people insist on using it unless they, like me, are forced to.

  202. 202

    great post :)

  203. 203

    I’m sorry but this is just a horrible article. Not only is much of it misleading but much of it is also just plain wrong. The inanity of some of the complaints and comparisons made me laugh out loud several times.

    By the way, “Ok”, “Apply” and “Cancel” buttons are there for a very good reason. When you make changes in a configuration dialog in OS X, you have no way of going back to the previous settings. Like you say, they are automatically applied. In complicated configuration dialogs, you might find that you didn’t want to make a change after all. In Windows, you just hit Cancel and you’re back to the original settings. If you like what you’ve done but want to try some more options, you can hit Apply. Otherwise, just press Ok and you’re done. I’ve found the lack of this obvious behavior in OS X irritating to say the least.

    “Mac doesn’t force you to focus on a single window, but keeps them all visible in the background ensuring a more efficient workflow. However this might be a thing of taste and getting used to.”

    What?!?!?! Have you not even used Windows? Why do you think that this behavior is somehow just an OS X feature when every other windowed operating system out there behaves like this?

    The single menu bar at the top of the screen is one of the most idiotic features of the Mac. At the very least, it should be optional. I pity people who work on multiple monitors with OS X. I’ve heard their complaints about this misfeature.

    If I didn’t have better things to do, I could lay waste to the rest of this ridiculous list.

  204. 204

    Johan Krüger-Haglert

    September 1, 2008 6:05 am

    What a bunch of bullshit, especially point 2. The lack of an uninstaller is NOT a good thing, thankfully there is things like cleanapp but it would be nice if they was there from the begining.

    Also programs can either be installed by drag & drop or by an installer.

  205. 205

    I apologize for my previous post (205). I didn’t realize that this article was satire. I’m usually pretty good about picking out sarcasm and satire. Dammit! Poe’s Law strikes again!

  206. 206

    Well I must say that this comments are funny to read. I am computer technician working with Mac OSX, Windows (all) and some Linux distros. I like things that just work for what they have been made and at first time please. So I must say that what is written here has a lot of mistakes. I have at home, Macs, Wins and Linuxs. I prefer Macs because it just works always, no problems at all. Also I have almost no calls from my clients with Macs, what is bad for business. But with Wins, oh yes, a lot of work. Do not misunderstand me, I like Windows, and I use it for some things, a beautiful system without internet. Security, the complexity of registry, dlls, virus, trojans….and some crashs. I like very much Linux, it is not yet perfect, a lot of terminal for putting some hardware to work, but I believe it will be the future OS for the PC market.

  207. 207

    “Macs” are just gaudy overpriced PCs and Mac OS is for drooling retards that are confused by more than one button on a mouse.

    STFU Apple’s bitch!

  208. 209

    Hmmm, after using Mac every day for 3 years for production (3D CG and film compositing) and Windows for as long as I can remember, I’d say this article is 50% crap, 50% kind of spot on and 100% pointless.

    Quite a few of the points made are personal preferences, hardly the definitive word in productivity.

    I love using my Mac, but it is not the be all and end all.

  209. 210

    As others have said, number 6 is bogus and is in fact an argument FOR the way that Windows is designed with an independent menu bar for each window. The Mac method of displaying menu bars was probably implemented for these reasons:

    1. Consistency. No matter what application is at the front, the menu bar is ALWAYS in the same place. The user doesn’t have to search for a menu, they simply move the mouse to the top of the screen.

    2. Simplicity. Only one menu bar can be active at any one time, so why waste screen area displaying the inactive ones? Having inactive menu bars displayed on background windows also increases visual clutter when the user is being required to locate a particular menu bar for the current app.

    IMHO these are far more important than Fitts’ Law, which is probably why Mac designers disregarded it :-)

  210. 211

    Just a note to those disputing the use of Fitt’s Law for the menu bar: the application of the law is still apt if not exactly for the reason stated. Fitt’s Law is also concerned with limits of movement such as the edge of the screen. Flicking the cursor up to the top of the screen where it stops is much quicker and easier than the more controlled movement required to hit a narrow band connected to a particular window. Putting the menu at the top of the screen effectively increases the size of the hit area (ten- or a hundred-fold), thus making it much faster to navigate to.

    This is why the Apple menu is in the top-right corners, Spotlight in the top left (and you can click in the very corner without being on the icon and still access them). Also why the Windows Start menu is in the bottom-left; though it doesn’t activated if you’re in the absolute corner (from memory).

  211. 212

    There are two three issues I have with OSX usability.

    Firstly, where is that window? If there are several windows running off a single application, the largest window tends to hide the others. Sure, I can “command + ~” , but I think windows 7 handles this much cleaner by popping up a list of window thumbnails above the taskbar icon. I hate having to use expose, in typical apple fashion they hide the window titles (just like dock has no labels). Apparently apple users find it hard to read. Anyway, this is useless when I have several similar looking windows (eg 3 finder windows).

    Secondly, usability people always go on about fit’s law regarding the menu bar. Fair enough, after all it is faster most of the time since the button is virtually infinitely large on the y-axis of mouse movement.
    However this totally falls apart when using large screens or dual screens(see comment 160). I haven’t done any calculations or testing but I’ll bet it’s faster to have the menus on the windows.
    Since, for some stupid reason, apple only put the menu bar on one of my screens. I have to move my mouse from the right hand corner of one screen the left hand corner of the other screen just to click on the file menu. Don’t forget you cannot directly click a menu item for an inactive window, you must first select it.
    In terms of efficiency this is quite slow compared with other operating systems.
    Fit’s law is affected by distance and target size, on a larger screen you have a larger distance than compared to clicking a menu inside a window. One must also account for any mouse movement after the mouse click to return to the window they were working in.
    I could go on, but you get the point, as the distance gets larger it becomes harder to use a mac. This problem will only get worse as large screens become more common.

    On those two issues both windows 7 and linux are far superior.

    Thirdly, the dock is a giant piece of shit. I can’t be bothered explaining this one, jsut take a look at this article. 10 Reasons the apple dock sucks

    I’ll put in a forth one, why not? Why on earth can’t I cut files, I’ve been doing this in windows/linux for years, but osx treats me like an idiot. I must bring up another finder window and then drag it.

    So there goes four reasons to consider an alternative to osx.

    BTW, If anyone knows of a way to place a menubar on both of my screens please let me know.

  212. 213
  213. 214

    I have spent a week trying hard to switch to Mac from Windows/Ubuntu Linux.

    I give up for Mac OS is the most stubborn and unfriendly operating system in terms of available usability settings:

    1. System font size is not adjustable (I have tried Tinker Tool & MacPilot, but they can not make ALL the microscopic Apple fonts grow larger).
    I am not the only one: the complaints are being posted in thousands over the Internet since 2003. Apple just ignores them.

    2. External monitor is dreadfully blurred. My Samsung SyncMaster 971P gives a crystal crisp picture when used with Ubuntu Linux or Windows (on the same Mac Book Pro hardware), but everything is blurred under Mac OS. The font smoothing color sequence adjustment is not available in Mac OS (SyncMaster 971P requires BGR, Mac OS seems to use RGB).
    And again I am not alone. In furious attempt to find a solution I have come across a fair hundred of forum threads where other guys screamed for help since 2005. Apple ignores us again.

    3. If Apple wants people switching to Macs, why an exact windows keyboard layout is not among the standard options? It is no problem to include for it is present under all X11-based Linux distributions I have been working with (Ubuntu, CentOS, Mandriva, Suse etc.). Therefore, it is again a reluctant ignorance from Apple’s side.
    I have found third party partial solution, but why a layout file (~7Kb) is not present in the “most user-friendly OS” by default?

    These are only the major problems. The first two will make me sell away a brand new MB Pro 13″ and return back to Windows…

    P.S.: Every year I give advice on computer choice to hundreds of people, now I will refrain from even noticing that there is Mac present in this world…

  214. 215

    Wow, talk about getting drunk on the koolaid.

    After using a Mac for almost a year now one of the things I dislike most about it is how *inconsistent* the Mac’s user interface can be (which goes against Juul’s first point.)

    Want to move a page up or a page down in an app that supports that behavior? No consistency to be found.

    Want to move to beginning or end of a file? No consistency there either, and in most cases it’s not even possible with one keystroke.

    Want to delete something in an app? I think I’ve come across at least 5 different keystrokes for that.

    Yes the Mac has some really nice aspects, many that I miss when I occasionally go back to Windows. But the Mac OS X designers made some REALLY BRAIN DEAD UI choices and all the rah-rah cultists who ignore those shortcomings merely give Apple a pass to continue to ignore them.

    And before any Apple apologists attack my comments here’s a case in point: In Finder to multi-select files with shift-up or shift-down arrow if you overshot the files highlighted and used the shift-{opposite direction} key to deselect 10.5 Leopard would not deselect but instead increase the selection on the other end. When I complained about the behavior many Macultists crucified me for it saying “That’s stupid”, “Nobody needs that”, “You’re using the Mac wrong” and more. However, Apple *did* see the stupidity in that approach and with 10.6 Snow Leopard they “fixed” it, i.e. they made it the way I suggested (and the way Windows Explorer has been doing for 10+ years.) Funny, I’ve not heard any outcry from the Mac faithful about how that change broke their beloved Macs with this change which is probably because few Mac lovers even noticed it (i.e. most of them don’t use their computers without a mouse, but most do defend and criticism prior to even considering if there is validity.)

    BTW, I’m a pragmatist and I happily criticize Mac and Windows equally for their respective shortcomings. My goal in criticizing is to see things improve, not to insult Mac users by invalidating their choice of computer. On the other hand, if someone is so insecure that they see any criticism of the Mac as a personal insult and thus mindlessly defend it against all criticism then all I have to say to them is “sucks to be you.”

  215. 216

    What a fight going on here……
    Well its just an article to show good aspects of Mac and denying other OSes UI. well both OS are for computers Literates but how about computer illeterate?where he/she may go?????both have professional windows environment a beginner who is forced to study in school when he is a kid and then have to train him self on any Win or mac plattform,are both of them serve the right UI for all humans,,,no todays OSes are for computer literates only and not taking care of those who dont know how to deal with simple computers environment.We are offering computer professional environement to both, who is professional and to that who is not.We are discusssing who is best n which one is worst..hey wait ! wait !wait….what is our target? to make computer usable for those who know usability,and we are saying other then this category that dont use it plz because you dnt know WHAT IS IT….then silence comes in my mind.


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