Under The Microscope

Archive for August 29th, 2007

Apparently No One At Apple Uses The Dock On The Side

Better minds than ours have commented on the Leopard Dock, including Craig Hockenberry and Rory Prior. We’ve privately shared in their disgust with many of the unnecessary changes which represent steps backwards in usability, but haven’t felt the need to comment ourselves.

However, I was ranting to a friend about 10.5, and used the screenshot to the right to demonstrate the problems.

I’ve yet to see any other comments on the Dock being used on the side of the screen. This may be because those who’ve tried it have been stricken instantly with vertigo and had to go lie down for a bit. I’m powering through the nausea, however, in an effort to make you sick too.

It really isn’t an exaggeration to say that it may make you dizzy. Like an M.C. Escher acid trip, there appear to be several perspectives at once. I have lots of questions, including:

• What’s keeping those icons on (in?) the Dock?

• How did they simultaneously make the “Currently Running” lights so difficult to see, and yet so distracting when you do notice them?

• Is that a crosswalk in my Dock?1

• Did they nail the Trash to the wall?

• Why is the Dock reflecting the desktop background?

• For the love of pete, why is it reflecting a window? How does that help me?

• And finally, what’s the keyboard shortcut to turn on Dock hiding?2

In a word, it’s just awful. I really can’t find anything redeeming about the new Dock and I can only hope someone at Apple will notice just how bad it is. This has been snarkily filed as Radar Bug ID#5446676 (“Expected Results: The Dock should NOT look awful on the sides.”). You can submit your own duplicate!


1. It’s actually the separator between Applications and Folders/Documents.

2. That shortcut is Command-Option-D. I’ve kept my Dock visible for years, but this might finally convince me to hide it.