Panther: Problem with behaviour of Close/Minimize/Maximize buttons

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 8th, 2004 • 3:21 am

The following problem in Panther is particularly serious in my opinion, because it goes against intuition.

Whenever you take your mouse to the top-left corner of a window and hover over the three buttons (red for closing, yellow for minimizing, and green for maximizing), Mac OS X changes the visual aspect of the buttons in order to indicate what will happen when you click on them:

Hovering over 3 buttons

This happens regardless of the exact position of the “hot pixel” in your mouse pointer, i.e. the exact position of the mouse click if you decide to press the mouse button. Even if the hot pixel is somewhere between the buttons, as it is in the image above, the state of the buttons still changes.

But if you then click with the mouse while the hot pixel is located between the buttons, nothing happens.

In other words, the Panther interface uses a “mouse over” type of behaviour for these buttons, but breaks one of the fundamental rules of operations of such “mouse over” behaviours: Normally, if when the location of the mouse pointer causes the state of a button to change, it means that, if you stay in this location and press the mouse button, this will be registered as a click on the corresponding button on the screen.

Not so with these three buttons. There is an empty area between the Close and the Minimize buttons and another one between the Minimize and the Maximize buttons, and if you place your mouse pointer in one of these two areas, it causes a “mouse over” visual effect, but nothing happens if you click with the mouse.

I am afraid that this is rather counter-intuitive. In all the web sites I know, whenever the location of the mouse pointer triggers a “mouse over” visual effect, it means that the location is “clickable”.

It might sound like a small detail, but I frequently end up clicking in this empty area between the buttons, obviously with no effect.

If the “mouse over” visual effect was limited to the actual areas covered by the three buttons and didn’t include the empty space between them, it would make more sense.

3 Responses to “Panther: Problem with behaviour of Close/Minimize/Maximize buttons”

  1. JoeriPruys says:

    Taht annoys me too! I really like the way the GUI looks nowadays, but these small things keep getting in the way of my being able to say that osX is the best system ever built. I think these things are really important. Have you already made a bug report for Apple? I will. I think if everybody who notices such things files a report, they will have to do something about it. The same thing applies to the finder windows not refreshing until you click on them. I still can’t believe that they would leave such a stupid glitch in te system for so long…

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    I don’t indicate it every time, but yes, most of the time, when I post an entry about such an issue, I also submit a bug report / enhancement request to Apple. Kind of time-consuming, but I’m trying to do my bit :).

  3. Lemonice says:

    You have one at the waffels!

    No one could use minimize, close, maximize seriously, if it would have been solved your way.

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