18 thoughts on “Default”

  1. Daniel says:

    You feel the urge to either:
    1) Revert to the default keyboard settings and thus disable the hard-to-grok keyboard navigation of all input fields, or
    2) buy a Windows license, install it, and live happily ever after

    1. Joen says:

      1) Revert to the default keyboard settings and thus disable the hard-to-grok keyboard navigation of all input fields, or

      Oh but I have to be able to tab! Apple just needs to hold a spectacular marriage between the focus rectangle and the button highlight.

      2) buy a Windows license, install it, and live happily ever after

      But then you get the Windows File Explorer. That thing is full of stupid UI like this.

      1. Daniel says:

        Yeah, I know it is not optimal. So my point was, spelled out, that users who enable tab navigation probably know the difference, but I agree that it would be nice to have a “unified” solution. In this example it would be simple to have the shutdown button be the initial “tab selected” input field and ditch the highlighting. In “larger” examples it would be very annoying for the “confirm / submit” button to be the initial input field in the tab order. I guess it works pretty much the same on most web pages, except they typically do not have more submit buttons per form, like the shutdown example. To differentiate between the cases would introduce non-consistency, so I guess that is why they are keeping it like a “normal” input form: enter to “submit” the default or tab to select another action.

        Windows File Exploder. Let’s not even go there.

        1. Joen says:

          Yeah, I know it is not optimal. So my point was, spelled out, that users who enable tab navigation probably know the difference, but I agree that it would be nice to have a “unified” solution. In this example it would be simple to have the shutdown button be the initial “tab selected” input field and ditch the highlighting. In “larger” examples it would be very annoying for the “confirm / submit” button to be the initial input field in the tab order. I guess it works pretty much the same on most web pages, except they typically do not have more submit buttons per form, like the shutdown example. To differentiate between the cases would introduce non-consistency, so I guess that is why they are keeping it like a “normal” input form: enter to “submit” the default or tab to select another action.

          Good points.

          They could also just have restart and shut down buttons switch place.

  2. Daniel says:

    You want the default action to be restart – or?

  3. Enter for Shut Down, Space for Restart. (& Esc for cancel)

    It’s not immediately obvious, but it is nice to have a quick way to choose the two most common choices in the menu.

  4. Matt Thomas says:

    I see how this is confusing if you don’t already know how it works, but this is one of my favorite things about the Mac OS. Outlined buttons are activated by the space bar, blue buttons are activated by return. As James mentioned above it’s pretty handy.

    1. Joen says:

      I see how this is confusing if you don’t already know how it works, but this is one of my favorite things about the Mac OS.

      Right, I agree on a fundamental level, I even think “tab to select” should be enabled by default.

      That said, it’s an interesting UI issue, isn’t it? We want the focus rectangle. We want a button to be selected by default. It’s when the both are disparate like shown here it becomes bad UI.

      Ideally, I’d like to see the focus rectangle be married with the blue highlight — what is that, anyway, how did these two ever get disconnected?

      But a half-assed solution to improve the UI, keep tabbing, and have tabbing start topleft, could be this:

      1. Lloyd Budd says:

        Joen, but then are you up the same nasty creek as soon as you press [tab]?

        1. Joen says:

          Lloyd Budd,

          I guess, unless Apple were to marry the two and have the blue highlight follow the tab.

          In any case, once you pressed tab in the above configuration, you’d know which style is the focus rectangle, and which is not. Halfassed, yes. Better, I think so.

  5. First of all, there’s a reason it isn’t enabled by default. Secondly, in your mockup, you’d have to move the button to the right, the default button is always on the right on OS X, because that’s where the enter key is on the keyboard. And thirdly, most ‘normal’ people never use the keyboard, they use the mouse, so…

    1. Joen says:

      Michael Heilemann,

      Well yeah, but that’s just throwing in the towel. The point is, it’s an interesting usability problem, and it’s not quite optimal in its current state.

      1. Joen,

        Optimal for who though? By default, in the guise that bar far most lay people will see it, it’s a blue button that is activated on an Enter press. So either press enter, or use the mouse to click the button you want.

        Otherwise, you have to go in and find a rather obscure setting to change that, a setting which if you’ve found it and changed it, makes you an ‘expert’ user. You can argue that assuming that most people will be using the mouse to click any buttons that need clicking is throwing in the towel, but I also think it’s a fair assumption.

        I know the idea would be to combine the two, but you’d lose the ‘Enter is always default’, which I think is the reason it is the way it is now.

        1. Joen says:

          Optimal for who though? By default, in the guise that bar far most lay people will see it, it’s a blue button that is activated on an Enter press. So either press enter, or use the mouse to click the button you want.

          I don’t know, I think perhaps we’re overlapping taste country here, and are unlikely to come out of this in complete agreement.

          From your side of the argument, there’s logic and usability because tab-to-select-form-elements is disabled by default. No argument there.

          On the other hand, it’s my strong opinion that keyboard shortcuts can augment accessability, if not usability, and so that feature should’ve been enabled by default in OSX from the very beginning. From that point of view, I do think the first screenshot is bad usability.

          Sure, in my quick posting of this, I did not have a solution to the problem, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Here are some ideas:

          – Screw “tab”. Screw “start at the top left”. Have button focus be selectable using the arrow keys. You could keep the shutdown button blue, and press “left” three times to move the blue focus to “restart”.
          – Screw that Enter is on the right, and have the blue focus be married to the focus rectangle.
          – Kill “Restart” and “Sleep” because they’re no longer necessary.

          Yeah, I don’t know if either of these is a good solution. But what’s there now isn’t worth defending, in my opinion.

  6. Well, we don’t have to come to a consensus; usability is less a science and more a matter of hitting the largest segmentation 😉

    – Screw “tab”. Screw “start at the top left”. Have button focus be selectable using the arrow keys. You could keep the shutdown button blue, and press “left” three times to move the blue focus to “restart”.

    I like using arrowkeys to move the focus.

    – Screw that Enter is on the right, and have the blue focus be married to the focus rectangle.

    That’s giving up one strong pillar for another. I prefer it the way it is, but I can see the value in the other option, which is what I believe Windows does, yes?

    – Kill “Restart” and “Sleep” because they’re no longer necessary.

    I don’t think that’s quite the case yet, besides, that doesn’t solve other dialogs.

  7. Lloyd Budd says:

    You might think that customers that need this accessibility feature are particularly sensitive to poor usability, though I suspect they are thankful for any usability.

    This “obscure setting” is now essential for those dinosaurs that still use desktop Macs and have battery powered mice particularly as on occasion the Magic Mouse doesn’t reconnect on wake or launch.

    I’m also surprised by how many apps are dependent on this accessibility feature.

  8. By the way, there’s a reason for splitting up the ‘focus’ and the ‘default’, which I hadn’t thought of before just now. Some dialogs have no default for Enter, to ensure that you don’t accidentally react to a dialog.

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