What I love about a good Operating System (i.e.: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc) isn’t necessarily the user interface (although that certainly helps), but it’s all the little things that are built-in to make my life and workflow easier. When I say little, I mean little. I’m not talking about major utilities that should be a stand-alone application by itself, but something that’s so small, that it does one thing... really well.
Mac OS X is a great Operating System for many reasons, and the mass collection of little things is part of what makes that true to me. There are so many little things that when added, make a great, user-friendly system. Let me give you an example: keyboard shortcuts. That may seem really insignificant, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Unlike Windows, keyboard shortcuts in OS X are consistent across all applications (ok, there are a few exceptions, but they are very rare).
Here’s another great example... something I use daily: dictionary. Again, I’m not talking about a full-blown dictionary application with embedded video, audio, images, etc. I’m talking about a very simple dictionary that you can use in any application. Why do I love this particular one so much? To be honest, I sometimes have difficulty with spelling words correctly when there are multiple ways to spell the same phonetic word. Miner vs. minor, councilor vs. counselor, etc.
When composing an email with such words, I do a quick dictionary check, to make sure I don’t sound like an idiot to the recipient (seriously, I’m letting you in on a little secret here). To do this, I hover the mouse over a word, then press Control+Command+D (D for Dictionary). The result will look something like this:
￼This feature works across all applications in Mac OS X. It also includes a handy thesaurus.
It’s the little things.