Thursday, January 15, 2009

Windows 7 Superbar

OK, I'm a little confused by how many people are unable to see the differences between non-running apps, running apps and apps running multiple instances when using the new Superbar in Windows 7.

If you look at the image above, there is an item (Media Player) that clearly has no box around it - that' because it is a shortcut and isn't running. There are items with a box around them (Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, Pidgin, Mozilla Thunderbird and Outlook) because they are currently running. There's an item (Pidgin) with what looks like 2 stacked boxes - because it has 2 windows open and there's even an item (Internet Explorer) with multiple stacked boxes because it has multiple instances (in this case, both tabs and individual instances) running.

All it takes is a nanosecond to look and see what state the application and/or shortcut is in. I cannot understand why this is so hard for so many people to work out!

And how does a user perceive the shortcuts/icons/whatever? They want to access some program and they click on it - if it was running, it is brought to the front, if it wasn't running it is instantiated and brought to the front - and don't (generally) care what it was previously doing. Nor should they. And the way the icons are handled in the new Superbar makes it really easy and clear to see what state they are in. I cann't honestly see why people find this so hard to comprehend. Maybe they just don't like change, even when it is definitely a change for the better.


The Outspoken Wookie

4 comments: said...

Can you ctrl + click an icon that is running to open a new instance? Or some other key combo.
For instance I want a clean IE instance. I already have one open.
Do I have to bring current to focus and then File - New Window? Or can I somehow fire a new window directly from powerbar?

Hilton Travis said...

G'day Yan,

Right-click the icon and choose the Program Name (Internet Explorer in this instance) from the bottom section of the list, just below the list of running instances (which will, in IE's case, show all tabs that you have running).

Hilton Travis said...


Another way to open a new instance is to drag the shortcut icon up a little and you'll see then menu appear. Nice, eh? :)

Hilton Travis said...


Yet another way is to click on the shortcut/icon with the third mouse button (usually the scroll wheel, when pressed, not scrolled).