This article worshipping at the temple of Mac OS usability has garnered a lot of attention recently. While I agree that the Mac is generally pretty easy to use, it’s by no means perfect. So in the spirit of rational debate – and, frankly, because I’m a bit grumpy this morning – here’s my top 10 list of Mac usability disasters (in no particular order):
- Menus unforgiving of mouse slip-ups. A menu disappears if you accidentally click the separator bar between two menu options. Grrr.
- Dialogs hard to use with the keyboard. Not being able to type a shortcut key for all of the buttons in a dialog (a la Windows).
- Terrible keyboard control in general (try using iCal with just the keyboard).
- Horrid mouse acceleration. First thing I did with my new Mac was whack the tracking speed up to the max, and even then it’s not as nice as in Windows. And no way to control the acceleration either.
- Only one menu bar on multiple monitors. Results in frequent RSI-inducing mouse marathons from one display to the other. (Though you can at least choose which monitor displays the menu bar.)
- Nasty keyboard navigation of text documents. Having to use the fiddly Command-Left and Command-Right keyboard shortcuts to do the extremely common tasks of going to the beginning and the end of a line. Yet the easy-to-press Home and End keys jump you to the start or end of the document without moving the caret, which is next to useless in my book. And I don’t think this is a “coming from Windows/Linux” thing either, as I switched to the Mac 2 years ago and this behaviour still pisses me off. Windows and Linux have simply done it better.
- Hamstrung open/save dialogs. Why can’t I do even basic things like rename a file or folder?
- No cut-and-paste in the Finder. You can only copy and paste stuff. Uggg.
- Non-intuitive Print dialog. How do I print multiple copies? Oh, I have to click a little arrow to the right of the currently-selected printer – which you’d have thought would change printers, but no, it brings up the hidden print options. And talking of the Print dialog, why can’t you move focus to the “PDF” drop-down menu with the Tab key?
- Shift-clicking to select a range of files in the Finder doesn’t work in Icons view. You have to switch to one of the other views to do this.
There we go! That’s set the world to rights.