To Maximize or not to maximize

21 Sep 2006 - 3:02pm
8 years ago
8 replies
629 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

http://forevergeek.com/apple/mac_vs_windows_its_all_about_the_maximize_button.php

Found this posting about the relevance of the "Maximize" button as a
single key differentiator between Mac and Windows.

As someone who's been swappin' around a lot, I do have to say that it is
a indeed a big differentiator to me.

What do people think about this. I especially can see how designers
would prefer NOT to have this maximized view b/c they are always
reaching for assets and use the "desktop" a lot more, as opposed to
other type of workers who's sovereign applications don't require access
to other parts of the desktop nearly as much.

Whatchya think?

-- dave

--

David (Heller) Malouf
Vice President
dave(at)ixda(dot)org
http://ixda.org/
http://synapticburn.com/

AIM: bolinhanyc // Y!: dave_ux //
MSN: hippiefunk(at)hotmail.com // Gtalk: dave.ixd(at)gmail.com

Comments

21 Sep 2006 - 3:40pm
Nasir Barday
2006

This reminds me of some research John Stasko and Dugald Ralph Hutchings did
in 2004:

http://www.cs.bgsu.edu/drhutch/papers/hutchings2004revisiting.pdf#search=%22maximizers%22

They identified three types of users:
-) Maximizers - maximize each app they deal with
-) Near-maximizers - resize windows to take up almost all of the desktop but
leaving some desktop icons visible
-) Careful Coordinators (me) - constantly size their windows manually to
make them fit

While the Maximize behavior is different between the OS's, the behavior
patterns they found were agnostic to users' window management systems.
Perhaps the "optimize for content width" behavior of OS X just makes the
lives of the Careful Coordinator and the Near-maximizer easier?

- Nasir

21 Sep 2006 - 4:49pm
niklasw
2005

I'm a WinOS maximizer I think mostly because of some derivate of Fitts
law. I use the screen edges for ramming the pointer against it and
then focusing in when I'm in the region I want to get to like tool
palettes or scroll bars.

The classic Fitts example of the infinite menu bar at the top in MacOS
gets even worse in WinOS if you don't have your windows maximized as
it then can be in all sorts of places. Though for dual screens this
actually works better in WinOS because of that very reason... the menu
follows the main app window. But i migth be wrong here...

I've actually found Exposé-clones for WinOS really heping me out for
the overall picture and switching between apps. Especially when I have
more then 8 to 10 apps open. Also I use copy/paste or the task bar
buttons for moving stuff between apps... not the desktop :)

--Niklas

On 9/21/06, Nasir Barday <nbarday at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> This reminds me of some research John Stasko and Dugald Ralph Hutchings did
> in 2004:
>
> http://www.cs.bgsu.edu/drhutch/papers/hutchings2004revisiting.pdf#search=%22maximizers%22
>
> They identified three types of users:
> -) Maximizers - maximize each app they deal with
> -) Near-maximizers - resize windows to take up almost all of the desktop but
> leaving some desktop icons visible
> -) Careful Coordinators (me) - constantly size their windows manually to
> make them fit
>
> While the Maximize behavior is different between the OS's, the behavior
> patterns they found were agnostic to users' window management systems.
> Perhaps the "optimize for content width" behavior of OS X just makes the
> lives of the Careful Coordinator and the Near-maximizer easier?
>
> - Nasir
> ________________________________________________________________
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21 Sep 2006 - 7:02pm
Chris McLay
2005

I started designing on a 512x384 screen (which constantly amazes me
that I got anything done), and now work on a 2560x1600 display most
of the time. As the screen has grown, my habits have changed, and
I've had to make them change at time to take full advantage of the
larger space.

Obviously everything had to be maximised and this stayed that way
right up through to a 17" screen for me. I was also very careful
about how many windows and applications I had open, and would
routinely tidy up my screen. This continued until recently. Now I
just go about my work doing as I please with what ever documents and
windows I like. If I tidy up, it's usually at the end of the day when
I quit every application I have open (sometimes more than 20).

I still maximise a few project windows - PhotoShop, and double A4
spreads - but everything else is windowed around the screen. I
regularly hide every other app, if I need to focus on something. When
you get in the habit of using Expose (or equivalents) and understand
it's flexibility it makes a huge difference to your workflow and
frustration level. I recommend using a mouse with - or tablet in my
case - with expose keys programmed in, as it makes the whole process
much more intuitive.

I'm looking forward to trying out "spaces" (Apple's implementation of
virtual desktops) in full production as I've never found this type of
system useful to me before, but this implementation looks more useful.

- Chris

On 22/09/2006, at 5:49 AM, Niklas Wolkert wrote:

> I'm a WinOS maximizer I think mostly because of some derivate of Fitts
> law. I use the screen edges for ramming the pointer against it and
> then focusing in when I'm in the region I want to get to like tool
> palettes or scroll bars.
>
> The classic Fitts example of the infinite menu bar at the top in MacOS
> gets even worse in WinOS if you don't have your windows maximized as
> it then can be in all sorts of places. Though for dual screens this
> actually works better in WinOS because of that very reason... the menu
> follows the main app window. But i migth be wrong here...
>
> I've actually found Exposé-clones for WinOS really heping me out for
> the overall picture and switching between apps. Especially when I have
> more then 8 to 10 apps open. Also I use copy/paste or the task bar
> buttons for moving stuff between apps... not the desktop :)
>
> --Niklas

--
Chris McLay ...// interaction & visual designer

Email chris at eeoh.com.au
Web http://www.eeoh.com.au/chris/

21 Sep 2006 - 7:45pm
Esteban Barahona
2006

I maximize but mostly because of the resolution size I use (1024x768) and
how the desktop looks with many windows opened (mostly I use GNU/Linux, but
Mac OS X looks more "native" using many windows ...hehe, Windows should be
called "window" or "screen").

I like the idea of workspaces, but most implementations aren't that
comfortable to use (probably Xgl/Compiz's cube is one of the best ...but
still, I find it distracting).

I have never owned a Mac. But I'm saving for one (an iMac 17" with a
dedicated video card), and the time I calculated to get it is around the
launch of Leopard :D

2006/9/21, Chris McLay <chris en eeoh.com.au>:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I started designing on a 512x384 screen (which constantly amazes me
> that I got anything done), and now work on a 2560x1600 display most
> of the time. As the screen has grown, my habits have changed, and
> I've had to make them change at time to take full advantage of the
> larger space.
>
> Obviously everything had to be maximised and this stayed that way
> right up through to a 17" screen for me. I was also very careful
> about how many windows and applications I had open, and would
> routinely tidy up my screen. This continued until recently. Now I
> just go about my work doing as I please with what ever documents and
> windows I like. If I tidy up, it's usually at the end of the day when
> I quit every application I have open (sometimes more than 20).
>
> I still maximise a few project windows - PhotoShop, and double A4
> spreads - but everything else is windowed around the screen. I
> regularly hide every other app, if I need to focus on something. When
> you get in the habit of using Expose (or equivalents) and understand
> it's flexibility it makes a huge difference to your workflow and
> frustration level. I recommend using a mouse with - or tablet in my
> case - with expose keys programmed in, as it makes the whole process
> much more intuitive.
>
> I'm looking forward to trying out "spaces" (Apple's implementation of
> virtual desktops) in full production as I've never found this type of
> system useful to me before, but this implementation looks more useful.
> (...)
>

22 Sep 2006 - 12:39am
cfmdesigns
2004

I maximize on Windows, but I don't on Mac, and the reason why is very
simple. It inherent difference between MDI and SDI apps.

On Mac, each document is it's own window. I can swap between docs
and between apps at will, and never have to worry about getting the
whole doc.

On Windows, all documents for an app live in the same master window
(generally). If I don't have the master window maximized, then some
of the docs in it may be "off-screen" (at least in part), so when I
swap out of one doc into another app, I may have to do further
manipulations to get to what I want. Further, things like the
Taskbar make it easier to access in and out of an entire app, to know
just what you're getting into. The Mac didn't get anything so
convenient until the Dock.

I'm not saying that either is "better" (although each is better in
some cases and worse in some). I think I prefer the Mac and thus not
maximizing -- there's a bit more power there, at the cost of more
confusion.

Jim Drew
cfmdesigns at earthlink.net

22 Sep 2006 - 4:06am
peter sikking
2006

> http://forevergeek.com/apple/
> mac_vs_windows_its_all_about_the_maximize_button.php
>
> Found this posting about the relevance of the "Maximize" button as a
> single key differentiator between Mac and Windows.

No, it is presented as _the_ single key differentiator between Mac
and Windows.

And that is a massive case of not seeing the (architectural) big
picture and focussing on an atomic detail.

Like the only difference between the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou
is the doorknobs.

It is hard for me to focus on a doorknob discussion after this opening
statement.

--ps

principal user interaction architect
man + machine interface works

http://mmiworks.net/blog : on interaction architecture

22 Sep 2006 - 7:37am
Michael Albers
2005

Last semester I had my technical editing students perform an online
editing task using Word's track changes. I intentionally had the
window properly sized (for me anyhow, since I'm one of the Careful
Coordinators). Some of the students maximized it as their first
click and other waited until the first edit. In the end, I think
only the only ones who didn't eventually maximize the window were a
couple of power user types and a couple who where clueless.

>
> They identified three types of users:
> -) Maximizers - maximize each app they deal with
> -) Near-maximizers - resize windows to take up almost all of the desktop
> but
> leaving some desktop icons visible
> -) Careful Coordinators (me) - constantly size their windows manually to
> make them fit

-------------------------------
Dr. Michael J. Albers
Professional Writing Program
Department of English
University of Memphis
Memphis TN 38152

23 Sep 2006 - 1:40pm
jbellis
2005

Mike,
This is all about visibility.

I had started to craft my previous question, to you, around the issue of
horizontal line breaks then decided that that was silly, since you mentioned
Word... where, unlike peculiarities of email editors and their multiple
format issues (txt, html, etc), I believed line breaks (which are automatic)
to be moot in the context of viewing.

To answer the original post, those students of yours maximized the window
for the exact same reason as me... the same reason that we replaced our 15"
monitors with 17's and our 17's with 19's. While "helping one to focus"
might motivate some users, that's not what's going on here.

One maximizes windows for a few reasons that all involve seeing more:
context, efficiency, precision (in graphics and some text work), faster
scrolling. Your experiment seems to validate my analysis, in that only a
couple of users didn't maximize. It's a curious but separate matter that the
exceptions were power users. Analysis: their discipline, over years of
efficiency-seeking, prevented them from wasting an action until a payoff was
established. If you tasked them with reviewing a long document, I suspect
that they, like me would maximize. I even turned a 21" monitor on its side
(and used a software pivot-er) to review a 300-pg doc when I didn't have a
rotating monitor.

Dave's point about design work emphasizing more multi-tasking makes perfect
sense, but Windows simply does not offer compelling features to justify
simultaneous windows on any but the largest monitors.

We are not replacing our 19's so fast, are we? Why? Cost vs. benefit. I
shopped far and wide to pay my own money for the best, new, big LCD I could
justify. The best salesman I crossed paths with, a Mac guy, confirmed that I
probably wouldn't work differently. So I'm still using a Dell 21 that,
unlike LCDs, doesn't render discrete pixels but blends a continously
variable (analog) luminosity smoothly from one pixel to the next. When we
routinely use monitors roughly 2/3 the size of our office desks, the average
user will stop maximizing. Not before.

-Jack
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Albers" <malbers at memphis.edu>
To: "jackbellis.com" <jackbellis at hotmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2006 1:05 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] To Maximize or not to maximize

> To fit the width of the text, without the huge amount of white space
> on the right side. Height tends to be most of the screen.
>
> I was actually interested in seeing how many would maximize the window.
>
> Mike
>
> At 9/23/2006, you wrote:
> >Michael,
> >You size the window carefully to make it fit precisely what?
> >Thanks, Jack
> >
> >----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Albers" <malbers at memphis.edu>
> >>Last semester I had my technical editing students perform an online
> >>editing task using Word's track changes. I intentionally had the
> >>window properly sized (for me anyhow, since I'm one of the Careful
> >>Coordinators).
> >
> >> > -) Careful Coordinators (me) - constantly size their windows manually
to
> >> > make them fit
> >
>
> -------------------------------
> Dr. Michael J. Albers
> Professional Writing Program
> Department of English
> University of Memphis
> Memphis TN 38152
>
>
>

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