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Summary:

Okay everyone, I want to know what all of the Mac users out there think – drawers or no drawers? Drawers are those panels that slide out of a larger window in some Mac OS 10 apps. For instance, Mail has one in Panther that shows […]

Okay everyone, I want to know what all of the Mac users out there think – drawers or no drawers? Drawers are those panels that slide out of a larger window in some Mac OS 10 apps. For instance, Mail has one in Panther that shows you all of your mailboxes. The trouble was, many loyal Mac users hated it with a passion. Do they hate all drawers, or just the ones that aren’t in an appropriate place?

I’m working on a big app, and I want to know: am I angering my potential market if I use a drawer? Sound off in the comments section below.

  1. Why would anyone not love drawers?

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  2. I prefer not to have them – especially not for functions needed regularly. The fact that an application expands “out of its box” disturbs me, but that might be because of my Windows history. If you need a column nearly all the time, why not integrate it into the windows?

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  3. The only thing i’ve got against them is that, say, i’ve got the app’s window sized to take up most of the screen; when the drawer opens it resizes my app’s window so that the drawer is visible, and then when the drawer closes, it leaves the app’s window at the reduced size…

    Worst offender in my opinion: iCal’s event info drawer – forces me to leave the info window open pretty much all the time, which annoys me.

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  4. I’m with Florian on this. If you’re gonna have the need for an extra column…just integrate it into the design.

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  5. I’d say use them for limited purposes only like in an “options” pane. That’s really about the only time I can tolerate them, though Mail’s drawer never bothered me.

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  6. I’m not wild about them. In particular, I’m not crazy about the fact that they slide out either on the left or right depending on where the window is on my screen. I mean, yes, I appreciate the consideration. But there’s also force of habit. If I keep my options drawer on the right and one day it appears on the left, I’m annoyed.

    In general, I prefer that something which could be done with a drawer be done with a split view instead.

    Lee’s example of the iCal drawer is a good one; it could be easily replaced by a split view, just as the list of to-do items appears in a split view and the source list appears in a split view.

    I’m also a huge fan of the new mail.

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  7. I prefer the new Mail UI. I have lots of mailboxes, so I always want the mailbox list to be visible. In the old version, the drawer would occasionally close, which I found very annoying since I couldn’t navigate between mailboxes easily without it.

    For something that you need to use most of the time, it should be integrated into the main window. Drawers should only be used for something you need to pop up occasionally and then dismiss.

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  8. NO DRAWERS!

    They are a clumbsy UI element. They are unpredicatable. Sometimes they open on the left, sometimes on the right, sometimes even off the screen depending on where the window is placed.

    I’ve always disliked Mail’s drawer because it always seem to be not open enough to see items. I’m always having to adjust it.

    If an interface seems to be missing important functions, I now have to hunt around… maybe there’s a drawer somewhere…

    If you really want to use a drawer, don’t make it critical to the function of your application. Make it optional, so those who don’t like them don’t have to use them.

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  9. brotherStefan Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Why do drawers have to open outward? Could they behave like the pop-up windows from OS 8 and OS 9 in the finder?

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  10. If the drawer is going to be visible 60% of the time or more then it shouldn’t be a drawer is what I would say. I have always thought they drawers would be a decent replace for separate preference windows in single window applications. I remember using a word processor that used drawers instead of separate palette windows and it was a mess.

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