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5. Dashboard Widgets are Modal

At present, there are more than 1,500 Dashboard widgets available for download from Apple’s web site, but despite this plethora of programs, I despise the Dashboard (see Figure 3). Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s neat that mere mortals can now create useful little programs, but for the most part, widgets are just glorified desk accessories, and I haven’t seen any widget compelling enough to make me want to switch into Dashboard mode on a regular basis.

Figure 03

Figure 3 Forcing users to switch to the Dashboard to access widgets is confusing.

Ever since the Mac’s introduction back in 1984, Apple has been preaching the evils of modality. But 20 years later, apparently it’s okay to force users to enter a special mode to access certain programs. Another thing I don’t like about Dashboard is that it’s too easy to invoke by mistake, either by pressing F12 when you really want to eject optical media or by clicking the Dashboard icon in the Dock when you intended to click the Finder icon instead.

Modern Macs are complex enough without adding a new class of programs that are installed, removed, and accessed in an entirely new way. Fortunately, EGO Systems’ free Widgets preference pane simplifies widget management and allows you to disable the Dashboard entirely or use widgets outside the Dashboard environment.

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