Snow Leopard’s Expose = Bad!

Posted on 31 August 2009

Snow Leopard OS X 10.6First, let me start this post by noting that should you know a little about me, you’re already aware that I am a huge fan of Apple and OS X since making the switch to Mac’s nearly 6 years ago. Now that it’s clear this isn’t an Apple / OS X bashing post, I can get on to the business of my issue with Expose in Snow Leopard.

What is Expose?

Expose is a feature of OS X which scales down all window displays to make them simultaneously visible for easy / simple / quick application or window switching.

How did Expose work in previous releases of OS X (10.5 and earlier)?

Expose scaled down windows, maintained their aspect ratio and made sensible x,y coordinate changes to ensure that all windows were visible at the same time and somewhat close to where they started (as best it could).

How is Snow Leopard’s Expose different?

Expose in Snow Leopard does away with maintaining aspect ratios and forces the display of strangely sized windows into an odd and awkward grid pattern.

My issues:

By tossing aspect ratios out the window (pun kind of intended), Expose creates IMHO silly and useless displays of unrecognizable windows. As an example, when several windows are open and Expose is activated a normally tiny iChat window dwarfs what was a full screen browser or mail.app window.

Snow Leopard Expose

The reason Expose in previous versions of OS X was so successful, is that size was just one of the many visual queues that were used to quickly locate and switch between applications and windows. Now that Expose no longer maintains a size relationship for windows, this queue is gone and now a user is forced to visually hunt down a window by trying to recognize color patterns or worse, read each of the text displays under each window.

In addition to my complaint regarding window sizing and ratios, the new Expose forces windows into a grid pattern which again causes windows to be placed sometimes directly under your mouse or worse (and more often) at far reaches of your desktop. This may be fine on a 13″ MacBook, but this gets real old on 24″ or larger displays, when the two applications you are using are continuously thrown to opposite sides and corners of Expose.

Specifically for me, I can have a dozen windows or more open, of which half of them look similar when they are regularly sized. Throw this new Expose in the mix and its functionality is degraded to worthless as it takes immense concentrated effort to locate the window you want.

On any given serious day of Mac use, I may use Expose as many as a few thousand times. This is an enormous point of contention for me because Expose has become such a critical part of how I use OS X and my overall productivity level.

I will more than likely give Expose a few more days, and if it doesn’t grow on me (which I fear it won’t), then I welcome a clean install of Leopard on my primary development machine so I can get back to work without OS induced frustrations.

Snow Leopard has a significant number of very technical enhancements going on under the hood and several interface updates which for the most part are quite enjoyable, it’s just not enough to overpower my negative views of Expose. This particular machine didn’t really appear to benefit much from the performance gains in Snow Leopard as it was quick enough with 10.5 and was already running very well.

I will most definitely continue to recommend Snow Leopard to / for others, but for me it simply comes down to my particular personal feature usage patterns.

Last bit of whining:

…while I am crying about Expose, who approved that horrible blue glow around Expose windows? Seriously. It’s just bad.

“Change” I can believe in!

If you happen to feel the same way I do, or if you just feel bad enough for me to want some change, then drop Apple some feedback and let them know how you / I feel.

http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

~moses


10 responses to Snow Leopard’s Expose = Bad!

  • I totally agree with you. Snow leopard’s new EXPOSE. just sucks!.

    Better the old way. trully.i cant recognize , even read whats of the windows.
    and worst. the expose transition is rough ..leopards old expose was way smoother.

    and damn that blue square. i cant believe appl is using that !! is just so not apple’s

  • Totally agree. Exposé is much harder to use now. Sent in feedback, thanks for the link.

  • dehlz says:

    That’s funny, I wrote the same thing about Expose and stumbled on your blog from a Google search. I’m hoping more people write/argue this new change and it gets into Apple’s ear to at least give us an option. I’m struggling working with this thing.

    By the way, there’s a fix to the blue glow issue if you haven’t found that already, but it doesn’t really bother me much.

    http://www.indextwo.com/bring-back-the-old-expose/

    David

  • moses says:

    I ended up modifying my Expose, to use a gray glow rather than the standard blue. The hack wasn’t too bad, and it is much less annoying.

    I did hear rumors that Expose was changed to facilitate the touch tablet (rumor in itself).

    Now my more recent Snow Leopard complaint is with iChat and how horrible the video is pixelated since upgrading.

    One battle at a time.

    ~moses

  • Hubert says:

    Using the new mac trackpad was enjoyable because of the way it used to arrang windows in OSX 10.5. Apple send an update for us to be able to customize the layout of the expose to the old style or the new one.

  • Gideon says:

    I’ve almost stopped using Exposé since Snow Leopard and I HATE it. I used to use it all the time, I had assigned the middle click on my mighty mouse (and now Targus mouse) to open Exposé. Its current incarnation is completely unusable. I got rid of the blue glow at least.
    Exposé worked, why did they change it? Grr….
    I dropped Apple feedback but I doubt they’ll listen.

  • michael wilkes says:

    I completely agree. I used the size and shape of windows almost exclusively to choose the window i wanted out of expose. I feel like a beginner programmer designed this new expose. I feel bad that this small change has ruined my view of snow leopard. I love mac. They made an awesome expose feature. now they broke it. sigh.

  • […] Original post: http://www.loyalmoses.com/2009/08/snow-leopards-expose-bad/ […]

  • auser says:

    Haha. I feel your pain, but if I got a nickel for every time I’ve seen fellow Mac users tell switchers to put up or shut up… Turns out Windows users aren’t the only people who experience learning curves ;). The new _type the name of the window you want to select_ feature is awesome and beats the pants off of _select by window size_, with its mystery meat name popups.

    This is just another argument for the ability to tailor the OS to the user, and not the other way around. Sorting and sizing options would be pretty damn simple to add to the prefs. You should be able to have it your way, and I much prefer the new expose. If they switched it back with no prefs, your gain would be my woeful loss.

    Whatever. We should all go Ubuntu anyway.

  • Emmanuel says:

    the new exposé sucks sooo much

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