An alternative macOS Dock

5 min read

6 days ago

Mac with “Mission Control”

Desktop + Dock + Mission Control + Full-Screen = 😪

When using apps on macOS’ Desktop, Mission Control — the place to find opened apps — quickly becomes cluttered and arranges the windows differently each time.
Using apps in macOS’ full-screen mode has the advantage that all open windows are displayed in an organized overview in Mission Control’s full-screen bar at the top. Their order can optionally be fixed so that you always have your apps in the same position.

And since full-screen apps are arranged linearly, you can quickly switch between apps with a swipe gesture — without having to call up the Dock or Mission Control. (Command+Tab is not a substitute here, as it is used to switch apps based on the last use. Apps therefore also do not have a fixed position.)

„Windows were great back in the 80s, but they don’t feel relevant anymore in the post-iPhone era. When I work on my MacBook Pro, I never use my apps in window mode, I always go fullscreen. It helps me organize my workflow, optimize readibility and it feels more natural to go from one app to another thanks to the 4-finger-swipe on the trackpad. When my apps are fullscreen, I know where they are in my digital space, I only need swiping to them to get where I want.“ Kévin Eugène „Redesigning the macOS desktop experience“ UX Collective, Medium

When there was no full-screen mode in macOS, the Dock was enough to switch between open apps. However, if you use many apps in full-screen, you will use the full-screen bar a lot.

This bar competes with the Dock, which also provides the function of giving an overview of the open apps and allowing you to switch between them. The duplication of an app in the Dock and in the full-screen bar unnecessarily complicates the user’s mental model. The full-screen bar has the advantage that a window thumbnail is easier to recognize than an app icon, as it is the window you see when you use the app. However, the Dock is necessary because also holds often used, pinned apps that are not opened.

So the question arises: What would happen if you merged the Dock and Mission Control’s full-screen bar?

Categorized as UX

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