Resizing Windows

User Experience Newsletter #10, October 2005

Dear User Experience Forum,

this newsletter discusses three approaches to resize computer windows on screen. Macintosh and Windows are fairly common and in everyday use. Nonetheless, there is a third way that made me utter a "Wow" – like Neo in The Matrix.

Apple uses the most consistent way to resize windows.The bottom right corner of a window contains the resizing area to drag the window to the desired new size. Easy. Simple. You can even call it 'intuitive', because the design hasn’t changed over decades. The way to display the resize box is even the most redundant way you can think of. (cf. Information Theory by Tog, 2004)

Some problems remain. How do you resize just the width or just the height of a window without screwing the other dimension? And second, how do you enlarge a window that is located at the far right part of the screen? Strange but true </personal opinion>, Windows offers a better solution. You can grab any corner and any edge of any window to change its size. A simple better design to resize windows as you like. The only drawback, you have to search and hover over the 1-pixel window border until the mouse cursor changes to start resizing.

I am dreaming of a combined design of Mac and Windows in this area.

Wow. What was that? Hope you have a Windows system to "try this at home". Go and install Michael Herf's VJPEG. It is a tiny application to display images right as you expect. No tools. Just the image without any window chrome or menus. Question is, how do you resize such a beast? Michael's solution is still astonishing to me. Just drag the image against the left or upper edge of the screen. It snaps in and you can resize the window. Wow!

Now I am dreaming of a combined design between Mac and Michael’s VJPEG for all windows.

Don't stop dreaming!
Matthias Müller-Prove

User Experience Forum on Xing

User Experience Forum



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