Don’t Lock the Taskbar


UI Designer mentioned that he has moved his taskbar to the top of his desktop rather than leave it in the default position at the bottom of the screen.

I tried this out myself a few years ago and have stuck with it ever since –  less mousework to do since all the other apps I use have their menus also positioned at the top (I was a mac user during 80’s and early 90’s, so was used to this already).

He (does have a name but I can’t find it) makes a good point that UI designers need to consider all the possible permutations of an interface if you allows users to personalise (prompted by a balloon message gripe he describes but isn’t quite clear to me). I don’t seem to have any usability issues with the config he describes.

I disagree with his view that Microsoft shouldn’t have allowed the user to move the Taskbar (hey UI…you like it right?).

He points to an amusing movie clip by Adam Kontras, ‘Lock the Taskbar’ (.wmv), written to the tune ‘Rock the Casbah’.


Comments (8)

  1. Chris McEvoy says:

    Alex, I wrote the post and the ballone message comes points to an icon in the taskbar and says "Click the windows update icon below".

    Of cource the icon in question could be below, above, to the left, or to the right.

    The ballon know how to draw itself in the correct position for any taskbar, but the person who wrote the copy for the message obviouslt didn’t take this into account.

  2. I’ve got my Taskbar docked to the right, for a few reasons –

    1) I typically have a multitude of windows open at a time. Having the taskbar to the side leaves more space for taskbar buttons without having to group them.

    2) I make good use of toolbars – my quick launch bar is set up so almost all apps I run are represented; additionally I have the "Admin" toolbar with links to IE, cmd and VS.

    3) My main application is such that height is more important than width.

    4) It’s amusing when others need to "quickly check something" and can’t find the Start menu…

    The only annoying thing is that if the Taskbar is narrower than a certain size, every time you log on thereafter it will shrink slightly until there’s nothing left – lock or no lock.

  3. Louis Parks says:

    I logged that balloon text issue as a bug with SP2 months ago. It was closed as not important enough to fix. Oh well.

  4. Alex Barnett says:

    Thanks Louis, I’ve let Chris know on hs blog.

    Alex.

  5. robdelacruz says:

    Also, the wrist motion in moving the mouse to the top is easier than moving it to the bottom.

    I hate that extra mouse-click to ‘All Programs’, it just seems so unnecessary. So I put everything I use on the Quick Launch, or better yet as a command-prompt shortcut batch file.

    That said, I keep the taskbar at the default position (the bottom) so that when I use another person’s machine, the desktop stays familiar.

    An idea, how about having the Start button/All Programs accessible from a mouse button right-click anywhere on the desktop, that way there’s no wrist movement at all.

  6. Lucas says:

    One advantage I’ve found of keeping the taskbar on the bottom is that I don’t have to be so precise. When closing a maximized window, I just fling the mouse up and right and click. This would work fine with the taskbar on the left, too. Moving the taskbar to the top would mean having to actually look at what I’m doing, and that’s just wrong.