Monday, June 15, 2009

Concept: Corner and side click in desktop environments

There is functionality I always use when working with my desktop. I use them so often, I consider them granted. If the OS takes them away in the next version, I won't be upgrading until I have them back (one way or another).

Example of such a feature is when I throw the mouse in the upper right corner and click to close the current maximized application without aiming at the cross icon there. This feature got me thinking - "why don't we use this 'throw cursor at the end of the screen and click' functionality in other places too?". To illustrate my point I'll show a simple idea. It's about removing the "Start" button (or the "K" button in KDE) and use the space there for something more beneficial.

Here is what we have now (in Windows XP):
But why do we need a button taking so much space just to say "Start" or "K"? Here is how a new version might look:

Note the barely visible green triangle in the lower left corner. This is where you need to click to open the start menu. Even if you are new to this desktop environment, it should not take you more than 2-3 minutes to learn and remember where it is. The benefit is that this way you have more space for your task bar and when you need the start menu just throw the mouse pointer to the lower left corner and click.

This was just an illustration of this concept. It is not limited just to corners or to single click. Here are some more examples:
  • Single click in the upper left corner starts your favorite application
  • Single click somewhere in the first upper screen line (where your mouse stops) minimizes the current application
  • Single click to the lower right corner (where the clock is) does "Show desktop". I have this as a proof of concept application!
  • Double click somewhere in the most left screen column starts another application
All those are examples of the 'throw mouse cursor and click' concept. The click is important, because it eliminates the nagging of things showing by themselves when all you wanted is to remove the cursor from your desktop.

Note about my concepts: You are free to use the ideas represented in my concepts as you like as long as you don't present them as yours. Keep in mind that though those are my ideas, I don't claim (and did not checked), that someone else didn't come with the same ideas first. If you decide to use some of the concept ideas presented here, it's up to you to check for prior art, patents and so on.