Why are overlapping windows considered crucial to productivity?
This is a X-post from /r/pcmasterrace as I’m curious what you’ll think of it.
A common criticism against the iPad is that it doesn’t allow for freely overlapping windows (ie only split-screen (and that 1 overlap)), but in my use of a normal computer, I’ve never felt the need for the ability to overlap in the first place.
Of course I can understand why having the ability to show multiple windows is important, but I don’t see why having the ability to freely overlap windows is super important; in the end you’ll probably end up using two or three windows side by side and maybe swapping them occasionally with background windows.
Even before I got my iPad, I always worked with spaces; either with one app per space (on a Mac) in full screen mode or 2 apps sharing the same space (before just positioning them side by side, now using the Mac feature). When I was doing school work, I would use three to four spaces with one space dedicated to a safari research window, another to a google doc for my project and the final one to a chat with my group mates (often 2 chat windows in split screen because they used differing apps).
For game dev, I had one for Tiled/Pixen (I would change it depending on what I was doing), then one for documentation, the text editor and finally the game and console.
To me overlapping windows always seemed messy and required a lot of effort to move around and adjust all the time just to use them, and it didn’t make sense when you could just have a few spaces maximising content and swipe between them.
To be honest, the thing that I feel really limits the iPad is the fact that the app switcher is rearranged every single forking time you switch app so it’s impossible to have layouts like that; the most one can reasonably do is switch between the current and last used space — unless you can remember the exact order in which you used each space. This means to switch apps you need to enter mission control almost every single time.
I feel like I’m really missing something about people’s workflows that allow them to take advantage of freely overlapping windows effectively