Optimizing Window Layouts in a Widescreen World
Slashdot posted this link to a preview of the next KDE release. Its a nice upgrade from previous versions. Looks great.
Functionally this is the same window design that's been around for ages. Specifically the title bars at the top of the windows.
Title bars have been there doing nothing since since the first versions of Mac and Windows. Their original use was to help get the idea of a "windowed" interface across to early use. It's an idea that no longer needs these vestigial appendages.
Their location obviously works, as every popular operating system currently uses this layout. But in a world where 90% of monitors sold are in the 16:9, 16:10 or other wide-screen layout, its a terrible inefficient use of space. Why do we need a bar that spans the complete width of the window dedicated to (usually) just 5 words and 4 buttons? It's absurd. Some programs are taking it upon themselves to remedy this issue. Apple's Safari browser tested the idea in their beta versions, but abandoned it for the full release. It was a brilliant implementation, and I'm not sure why they didn't go with it. Just look at the efficient use of screen real estate.
The Windows OS can't break away from title bars. Too many corporate users with too much reliance on the old ways. However, Window's programs can ditch the bar. Paint.net recently updated their UI, but they didn't displace the title bar. Their design lends itself to ditching the title bar, and I think they should. Here's my horrible mock-up.
KDE has a great opportunity to break the standard. It's users are generally technically savvy. They understand the concept of a window. They don't memorize button locations and blindly rely on them. The programs in the Linux environment adapt quickly to change. Go for it KDE, innovate. You've got my support.