Saturday, March 26, 2016

Trying to be a Mac User--Decision to Give Up

In November I went all-in on switching from Linux to the Mac. Linux quality is ever-declining, and I had a laptop on which Linux Mint was almost completely unusable. But Mac usability is surprisingly poor, and I expect to return to Linux, mostly completely.

This is the first of a series of short articles on Mac usability deficiencies. From Wikipedia,


Fitts's Law

Fitts's law can be used to quantify the time required to perform a point-and-click action.
T = a + b \log_2 \Bigg(1+\frac{D}{W}\Bigg) where:

  • T is the average time taken to complete the movement.
  • a represents the start/stop time of the device and b stands for the inherent speed of the device. These constants can be determined experimentally by fitting a straight line to measured data.
  • D is the distance from the starting point to the center of the target.
  • W is the width of the target measured along the axis of motion. W can also be thought of as the allowed error tolerance in the final position, since the final point of the motion must fall within \pm\frac{W}{2} of the target's centre.

Why is this important? Regardless of where a window is on the screen, OS X places the menu in the far upper left. Mousing to the menu is more time-consuming than if the menu were attached to the window itself, putting OS X at a disadvantage compared to other popular desktop operating systems, especially those with large screens.