The little “X” Button is meant to close, not to minimize!

One of my pet peeves is minimizing an application to tray. As you know there are three buttons in a standard Windows toolbar: Minimize, Maximize, Close. Minimize usually minimizes to the task bar. So there is no official button to minimize to tray. That leaves three usual options:

Have the minimize button minimize to tray
That seems to make most sense to me. If your application can minimize to tray, why would you want to alternatively minimize it to the taskbar as well? The downside of this is that for novice users it may be confusing ("Where did my app go?").

Have a separate button to minimize to tray
Some applications have a new button for minimizing to tray:

Minimize to Tray

That seems to be a good balance between "do not confuse new users" and "offer a way to minimize to tray". It's just not consistent as different applications use different buttons, and some programmers do not seem to be able to do this properly, causing weird behavior (i.e. Classic Windows-Style Buttons in a Windows XP Screen).

Use the X Button
Minimize minimizes to taskbar, and the X minimizes to tray. To Exit, right click the tray icon and select "Exit". That is braindead, sorry. The X Button is meant to close, and nothing else. Also, as the Systray (or Taskbar Notification Area) is usually set to auto-hide icons, closing an app is now a 4-Click Action: Click X, Click to expand Tray, Search Icon (and hope you find it before the Tray collapses again), Right Click Icon, Click Exit.

The reason why I am posting this is because TweetDeck just implemented that behavior, and I think it sucks. Really. If I click the X, i want it to close, and not find out later that it's happily still taking my API Requests (Bad when working on a second PC) and using 126 Megabytes RAM.

X marks the spot to close, not to minimize.

Thank you.

Comments (2)

John SheehanSeptember 23rd, 2009 at 16:49

I don't mind if X minimizes to the tray if there's an option that allows me to explicitly set that behavior (in some rare cases that behavior is preferable, less often on Win7 for apps that properly support the new taskbar features). It should never be the default.

Anders SandvigSeptember 24th, 2009 at 10:23

"If your application can minimize to tray, why would you want to alternatively minimize it to the taskbar as well?"

The way I see it, wanting to minimize to the tray and to the task bar are two different use cases.

Sometimes I want to minimize to the task bar because I want quick access to the application via Alt+Tab, or I am just temporarily switching focus. Other times I want to minimize to the tray because I want to "get rid" of the applications, typically when I will not be interacting with it for a while.

Locating an application in the task bar is (to me) much quicker than finding it in the tray, so where I want it to appear depends on when and how often I will be switching back and forth between that specific application and other applications.