Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Why moving my taskbar radically improved my computing experience

If you’re a heavy browser user like myself and have tended to switch to mostly web-based applications then I’m willing to bet you’ve become very accustomed to looking towards the top of the screen where your browser tabs are, when making navigation decisions.

In fact, I think its largely down to this habit and the fact it has become so counter-intuitive for me to look to the bottom of the screen that I’ve developed such an aversion to using desktop apps of late.

For example, I used the “application shortcut” feature of Google Chrome (which also can be done with Mozille Prism) to create application-like versions of our MediaConnect web portal and a couple of my favourite web apps but despite the fact that these make really effective use of screen landscape, I found I was still launching them in the browser because of my preference for having all my tabs aligned together at the top of the screen.

Then it struck me that I didn’t actually have to have my taskbar at the botttom. I unlocked it and dragged it to the top – and suddenly my desktop started to make a lot more sense again. I started re-using a couple of desktop apps I’d shelved and my whole computing experience just seems a bunch more intuitive now. I was frustrated initially that I couldn’t swap my Taskbar buttons around like I do my browser tabs but then I installed a little shareware application called Taskbar Shuffle and those buttons now behave pretty much the same as my browser tabs.

I now wonder why on earth the decision was ever made for the taskbar to run at the bottom of the screen. The popularity of browser tabs have shown that’s a much more intuitive interface – and it makes more sense for the eye to drift to the top of the screen.

So if you’re like me you’ve become used to jumping around all day in your browser tabs, shift that Taskbar to the top – you’ll never go back.

Filed under: AJAX Challenge

2 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    I did the same thing about a year and a half ago on my work PC. It makes a huge difference. I took it a step further though and used True Launch Bar (http://www.truelaunchbar.com/) to add custom Programs and Locations menus that contain all my common apps (with the most common staying in the quick launch toolbar) and drives/folders respectively.

    It’s revolutionised the way I use Windows. So much so that I wish I had the same in OSX on my mac at home.

  2. brista says:

    I agree with both of you. I moved my taskbar to the top because…well, it looks prettier up there. On my work computer, I did the same thing. And I just think it’s better up there now.

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