Dock Positioning

In the default setting, the Dock lies at the bottom of the screen, and contains 18 applications, a folder and the trash can. In this state, icons are clear and bubble numbers are easy to read. However, this default placement robs the user of vertical screen height, which is the axis that the user has least of. On a large iMac screen, the Dock can get away with living at the bottom, but consider the laptop user; space for them really is at a premium, and so it doesn’t make sense for the Dock to live at the bottom of the screen. This lack of vertical space is compounded by the various toolbars that applications have, almost all of which are displayed as an extra horizontal bar across the top of the application.

By default, on laptops, the Dock should be attached to either the left- or right-hand side of the screen.

OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

Illegible Number Bubbles in the Dock

Unless you’ve got a lot of screen space, the number bubbles on applications in the Dock can be hard to read, particularly if you have a 12″, 13″ or 15″ laptop. With the Dock in its default position at the bottom of the screen, it’s easy to read the number in the bubble.

Default Dock with Horizontal Number Bubbles
Five and six items, easy to see.


Keeping the number of items in the Dock the same (the default count is 18 applications, a folder and the trash can), I’ve moved it to the left-hand side of the screen (I’ve already written about why to move the Dock to the left- or right-hand side of the screen). Is that 5 or 6 or 8 or 9 in the bubbles?

Default Dock with Vertical Number Bubbles
Five and six items. Would you know if I hadn’t told you?

Remember, this is the default state of the Dock, just re-positioned, except now impossible to read without using the magnifying option, which is too awkward an experience for everyday use. Even on a 24″ iMac, reading the numbers inside bubbles can be difficult.

The solution is to have an option in System Preferences > General to increase the size of the bubbles. Currently this is only possible using DockStar, which at $20 is a bit steep for what is an OS X accessibility issue.

OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

Safari Search Fields

UPDATE: From Safari v. 10.0 this annoyance is fixed. Search bars are now located in the top-right corner of the viewport. Yay \o/. Original entry below.

A search-box in OS X applications is almost always found at the top-right of the viewport. But Safari does its own thing when it comes to searching bookmarks and history. It has the search-box at the bottom-right corner. Even though I know this is where the search-box is, every time I want to search my bookmarks or history I automatically look at the top-right of the viewport and expect to find it there. Then, brief moment of confusion over, I remember to look at the bottom-right of the viewport, and wonder, yet again, why the search-box is there.

Safari. Search Web Page.
Where it should be
Safari. Search History.
Not where it should be
Safari. Search Bookmarks.
Not where it should be

Safari 9.1.2 (11601.7.7); OSX El Capitan 10.11.6.

Safari Tooltips and Favicons on Tabs

A Safari window can get crowded. This means the tabs get shrunk down to a width of 120 pixels. That’s about enough room for 12 letters and the elipsis, which is sometimes enough text to divine the contents of the tab, but oftentimes not.

Safari. Tooltips Would Help.

What would help is a Tooltip on hovering. Chrome does this:

Safari. Tooltips When Hovering Over Tab in Chrome.
Chrome shows tooltip of tab page name

Chrome also trumps Safari in showing the website’s favicon, as can be seen in the two images above. I guess that favicons were removed from Safari tabs (version 8 onwards) because they can be ugly and don’t fit the monochrome greyness of OS X’s graphite theme. Like colours in the Finder sidebar, I think this is a case of form over function.

Safari 9.1.2 (11601.7.7); OSX El Capitan 10.11.6.

Finding a Hidden Tab in Safari

I’m a big user of tabs in browser windows. I probably have around 100 tabs open at any one time in Safari. However, in its current incarnation, Safari makes it difficult to find a tab that I know is open but is not the active tab of a window. The Window menu item doesn’t help. This is what I see at the moment:

Safari. What I See.

Many of those windows are windows with multiple tabs. This is what I’d like to see:

Safari. What I'd Like to See.

Safari 9.1.2 (11601.7.7); OSX El Capitan 10.11.6.



Square-Cornered Window Found in iTunes!

Looks like the View Options window in iTunes didn’t get the rounded corners upgrade message.

Here’s the Equaliser window (rounded corners):

iTunes—Rounded Corners

And here’s the View Options window (square corners):

iTunes—Square Corners

iTunes El Capitan.
Update: iTunes still has a squared View Options window, though it’s been vastly expanded to show many more view options. (MacOS Sierra).