Easy win: Mac OS

Being an interaction designer means you’re aware of improvements that can be made in the things you use every day. This one is about copying and pasting in Mac OS. Hey, Apple! Here’s an easy win.

So you’ve copied a couple of files in Mac OS and you need to paste them in a folder with a lot of other files. You navigate to that folder, which you like to keep in list view, and right click to get the contextual menu where you expect to see a paste option.

But there’s no paste option. What the…? Oh. I see. When I right-click on what looks like a background, the OS looks at the row, selects the corresponding file under my cursor, and presents contextual options for that file, which I wasn’t really thinking about.

So, OK, that’s not a background. But…there’s background behind the Cover Flow elements above. Right click that? Nothing happens. No, to get to a right click option, you have to switch to the icon view. (Column and list views work like the flow view, unfortunately.)

In this view you can right-click on the background and get the paste options. It works this way on the desktop, too. But why should users have to switch views for this common function?

Here’s the easy win.

There is another background in the Cover Flow view, and that’s the dark area behind the 3D views of the files. Let the user click there to summon the contextual menu to get folder-level contextual-menu options.

So there it is, make the backgrounds in Cover Flow work the same way that they do in icon view and the desktop. A few lines of code, and you increase consistency and save a little work for your users as they perform one of the most common OS operations. Easy win!

Chris Noessel

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