I’ve been thinking a long time about how bothersome windows have become. I’m not talking about the Microsoft OS, I’m talking about the windows you use in any modern desktop OS. They appear on your screen in an arbitrary fashion , and often, there are too many of them. We try to use things like Expose or Aero Peek to manage these windows, but it’s becoming too much. Modern day computers have so much power, that they can keep many applications and many windows running at once. This was not always so. One of the original purposes of windows was to simulate multi-tasking in computers that were not so powerful, like the original Macintosh.
I find trying to navigate the myriad of windows on my desktop frustrating. It’s been driving me a little bit mad.
I’ve been listening to Minimal Mac’s fantastic podcast Enough and Patrick mentioned an application called Lite Switch X. This program hides all other applications but the one you have selected. In this way, it creates a more iOS-like experience (even though, this particular program has been around since OS 8).
One of the great design problems in modern computing is the metaphor in desktop operating systems. It’s an old metaphor that needs to be done away with; it’s stretched beyond its limit. There’s a reason people still have trouble learning “computers,” but can pick up an iOS device and master it relatively quickly. It will be interesting to see, as we head into this new decade, the kinds of solutions that will come up to solve this problem that has been around since the late 90s.
Already, we have possible solutions popping up: