Apr 27, 2016 — by: E. Werner Reschke
Categories: OS X

Mac Os X - Cheeta BoxOS X has been my favorite OS since its launch way back in 2001. I find it easiest to use and most flexible for what I need to do. That said, like a best friend who has all sorts of great qualities, there is always one or two things you wish you could tweak and make different. Here is my main issue with OS X. For many this may seem mundane but far too often this causes me an “Oh Shoot!” moment, and there is an easy fix.

Around the time of OS X Mavericks, OS X lost its 3-D look and became more of a “flat” OS like iOS. Many people did not like this. For me it was not too big of a deal, but one artifact that came about during this transition was being able to easily distinguish between an active window (the one you are working on) and inactive windows.

My set up has a laptop monitor and an external 20" Apple monitor. I then have 8 virtual desktops. The difference between an active window and one lurking off to the side is very hard to distinguish as to which one is active. I’m switching through apps all day long, coding, refreshing browser, recording, refreshing browser, reading mail, responding to a text, etc... My eyes are constantly moving back and forth, hoping that OS X will provide enough of a difference between this window and that so I know when I type or close a window, I'm doing it to the right one. More and more often I find I have closed windows that were not the ones I wanted to close — because at a glance they looked like the active window. This brings about frustration, which makes my good friend, OS X much less friendly.

Apple could easily fix this. Give users the ability to adjust the amount of shadow/depth an active window casts on other windows. Users should also have the ability to blur non-active windows or make them translucent if they choose. Or just go back to making the active window’s title bar darker than any other title bar. 

The fixes are simple and many, but for whatever reason Apple wants all windows, active and inactive, to appear the same. Unfortunately that makes OS X a little more difficult for this user to work with than it should be.

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