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I am all for usability. As a web developer and designer, I strive for this in all projects. And I applaud Elementary OS for doing so much to improve the typically inconsistent Linux user experience.

However, messing with the titlebar controls and UI standards from the two other main OSes makes no sense to me. Here's my issues:

  • having the controls inline with menu and other functions is straight-up confusing. More so when a piece of software doesn't support this; all of a sudden SOME programs have the controls inline, some don't. This is confusing.
  • Moving the controls to opposite sides of the window is just flat-out unintuitive. At best, it's awkward. At worst, it may cause someone to close a window they meant to expand or vice-versa.
  • Why hide the minimize? This is a convention both other OSes use and people understand. Removing it just adds to the clutter of the desktop and does nothing to improve adoption.

I get that you can change all of this using Tweaks. But I simply don't understand why an end-user should have to conform to an OS's quirks when the OS could easily conform to the standards - in this case, min/max/close, more or less established by OSX and Win literally decades ago.

Trying to mess with this to force your own agenda is either short-sighted or just ignorant. I love Linux in all its variants, but having to learn a new way to minimize an app (or not at all in this case) or figure out where the controls are is just ridiculous. I use a Mac at work and Win10 at home, so switching corners for the controls isn't an issue for me; completely changing the paradigm of how they function is.

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    Personally I like the integration they use in their own apps. And the button placement takes some getting used too, but once you do you might find it more efficient. – Pretzel Jones Feb 20 '17 at 19:33
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    I think these issues you have with the window controls might be subjective. For me the placement of the window controls felt natural from the first day, and I set the top right hot corner for minimizing the windows. I used Windows and Ubuntu before. – cristian mos Feb 20 '17 at 20:25
  • I think frankly, if you use the window manager, minimise is, in most circumstances ridiculous... However, if you use the gui for managing windows not the keyboard shortcuts, then I can see how you might want to. – SamMorrowDrums Feb 20 '17 at 21:51
  • I get that you can use the window manager, but to remove a function that most people expect is counterintuitive. Linux is fighting a battle for adoption (on the desktop), so why throw up barriers? And I agree, this might be a subjective rant, but I think my point - and question - still stands. What is the rationale? Changing something because there's a rationale to improve something that's broken makes sense. To do it just because "it looks nicer" doesn't. Function is inherent to form; design is experience. So why remove one control and splitting the other two? I don't get it. – oliverh72 Feb 20 '17 at 23:38
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  • having the controls inline with menu and other functions is straight-up confusing. More so when a piece of software doesn't support this; all of a sudden SOME programs have the controls inline, some don't. This is confusing.

Consistency on the use of (GTK3) Headerbars is also a problem on other distros. Elementary cannot force whether apps will feature a Headerbar or a plain titlebar as those will depend on the app developer's discretion. I agree that some apps' Headerbars become confusing once the dev try to clutter the Headerbar with too much stuff but native elementary apps seems to be modest with just the essentials.

switching corners for the controls isn't an issue for me; completely changing the paradigm of how they function is.

Historically, we have the close button to "quit" an app but on both OSes, but some apps simply "minimizes" itself to the taskbar/dock, some even just remove the dock/taskbar icon but hide on the systemtray/menubar instead. OSX/macOS's unified fullscreen/zoom button is weird. There are some apps that throw the titlebar out of the window altogether and implements their own (*coughs* Steam).

  • Why hide the minimize? This is a convention both other OSes use and people understand. Removing it just adds to the clutter of the desktop and does nothing to improve adoption.

I did miss the minimize button for a while but I can always click on the dock icon to minimize it just like what I did to minimizeless windows I have on Windows.

messing with the titlebar controls and UI standards from the two other main OSes makes no sense to me

There is actually no proper UI standards coming from those "main" OSes. But there is a set of real desktop standards that elementary adheres to.

For more info re:initially weird window control placement plus other things, they did provide their reasoning for such decisions:

Personally, switching between OSes (I have Windows 10, macOS, Arch+openbox, and elementary) has been confusing on the first few days but elementary have me use less clicks and keystrokes compared to others. Elementary, however, might not be simply everyone's cup of tea. You will always be free to install any distro (or build your own) of your choice.

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You can enable these buttons via terminal. I would also like to add your point is valid for a lot of users but most users in my experience get the hang of it within the first two days. I myself love it. Furthermore elementary is a Linux Distribution which means like almost all Linux Distributions it stands for freedom to do as you wish. You want the buttons add them. You don't you don't. I have played with elementary a lot and I can tell you it just doesn't feel the same and have the same elegance if you minimize the same way as Windows or Mac perhaps Steve Jobs said it best and this may or may not apply to elementary developers but think different.

  • I'm all for customization and thinking different. But some of these concepts simply don't make sense from a User Interface perspective. Most users can get accustomed to any quirk of interface design, but it doesn't mean that it makes sense. In this case, putting two primary window management functions on opposite sides of the window is unintuitive. For most users, this is frustrating, regardless of whether or not they can get used to it; this is why I was asking for the rationale.If Elementary wants to grow their users (indicated by their recent crowdfunding), this simply doesn't help. – oliverh72 Feb 23 '17 at 21:28

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