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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Task or tray?

Now that Windows 7 has a cool new task bar (ok, a complete OS X rip off…) it’s probably a good time to set some order on the task versus tray.

Though probably not a rule set by Microsoft, in my vision we should:

  • use task bar for applications
  • use tray for system, services, utilities and notifications

As a corollary of this rules I’ve just made up, I’d propose:

  • we should never put an application both on task and tray bar

This got more important now because of the new Mac OS like task bar. Applications that hide themselves when minimized may confuse the user more then ever. So my advice is: disable “hide when minimized” from all apps.

Now that we’re talking about that, let me share my experience with Outlook 2007. In my opinion it shouldn’t reside on the tray icon, I’d rather see it to represent the presence of unread mail. Anyway, when the “hide when minimized” is set and upon minimization it looks like Outlook is not running (ok, we can always check the tray bar). More, we can no longer take a thumbnail peek on the opened windows.

I’ll end this post with a suggestion: double-clicking a task bar windows could restores all opened windows. All I can do for now is hitting Ctrl when clicking: it will circle each of these windows.

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