Tuesday, March 18, 2008

To maximize or not maximize

For the life of me I can't remember what article I was reading where either the author or a commenter talked about how stupid it was for people, especially those with large displays and high resolutions, to work with their windows maximized. I found this intriguing, because I'm specifically one of those people.

In fact, the lack of proper maximizing is one of my bigger gripes about the OSX user interface. As regular readers know, I'm a sucker for maximum viewing/reading/working area, and maximizing is the easiest way of doing that. If you have dual monitors, you can maximize two windows at once, and more so if you have programs like instant messaging apps that can dock to one side of the screen.

Meanwhile, early on I found it frustratingly annoying accidentally dragging away a window because it wasn't maximized. I also hated having them not maximized, but nevertheless stretched all the way out, and clicking on a border to do some fine adjustment, only to find I'd accidentally clicked on the border of a nearby window, bringing that window into focus and throwing me off.

I understand that with large, widescreen displays, having Firefox maximized seems like a waste of space, but that's why I've taken steps to balance the weight out (mainly having my bookmarks folder vertically on the left).

I've even started experimenting with using my Windows taskbar vertically on the left side of my screen (I'll write about this soon as soon as I get more mileage on it).

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you like to keep your windows maximized when you work, or do you arrange them while floating?

p.s. - if you know the article to which I was originally referring (probably found in one of the blogs I link to on the right sidebar there), please let me know!

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Anonymous said...

I'm with you--I keep all windows maximized.

The only downside I've found is having to do a lot of alt-tabbing through the seven application windows I have open at work all day. Or worse, going to the mouse to click on a taskbar button (yechhh!). It's gotten old, so I'm about to install Autohotkeys and assign hotkeys to switch to each application: Alt-1 will switch to Firefox, Alt-2 to Outlook, etc.

Thanks for the blog!

Anonymous said...

I don't "Maximize" most windows, but I do keep most non-explorer windows adjusted to the largest possible size. (17" monitor) I think it's distracting when screens (even the desktop) show behind a program I'm working in. Not using "Maximize" allows me to easily move windows around if I want to see more than one window at a time. I've never experienced accidentally dragging a window, but it is a little aggravating when I grab the wrong screen edge and unintentionally bring a covered window to the front. That doesn't happen much because once I get them right they stay that way until I (infrequently) have to resize something temporarily.

Like you, Arvin, I keep my bookmarks (pretty well organized with collapsed folders) showing in FF. It makes for quick access to frequently accessed pages and I agree that having FF sized as large as my monitor is a waste.

Yawar said...

I've always maximised my working windows, but I've also always worked on pretty small screens--17" was the biggest so far, and usually it's a 14" or 15" screen. And yes, I too find it distracting to see other windows than the one I'm working in.

I figure I'm always going to be switching with Alt-Tab, whether the other windows are visible or not, so might as well keep the others out of sight until I want them.

Tobbe said...

I'm also one of the "maximize everything" users. I've been using a 12" laptop screen as my main monitor for a long time, and I feel I have to maximize all my programs for them to be usable.

A few months ago however I got myself a 20" widescreen monitor (1680x1050) and for the first time I found my self wanting to have more than one program visible at once (like a .pdf with development requirements on half the screen and my development ide on the other half). To simplify this I found the great program GridMove (http://jgpaiva.donationcoders.com/gridmove.html). It splits your screen in many smaller screens that you have have your programs "maximized" in. (I say "maximized" because what it does is the resize the program to fit that "screen", you can still move it/resize it by draging its borders)

Yawar said...

Hey, you're welcome and definitely, I've been following your blog in my feed reader for a while now and find the articles very informative. I hope you're keeping an offline record of them as well--who knows, maybe someday you'll get the chance to collect them and publish them in a longer format. Peace

Anonymous said...

well, of course i keep things maximized.

what sets me off from the others here i think is that i use a program called always-on-top, which basically forces a program to show itself on top even when it loses its focus. absolutely amazing when you are multitasking, or trying to copy some text :]

11matt556 said...

I maximize anything that I will likely be using for a while or involves reading text (word documents, PDF's, web Browsers, etc) but leave files, documents, and ESPECIALLY chat clients/conversations in windows. Infact, my main gripe with skype is that I cant make its windows small enough, and thats why I rarely use it.