Keyboard Shortcut Consistency

John Nack on the dilemma faced by Adobe regarding shortcuts like Command-H in Photoshop: Photoshop has been using Command-H for “Hide Selection” since the early ’90s, but starting with Mac OS X 10.0, Apple established the same shortcut as the system-wide standard for hiding the current application. Stick with tradition and the app feels broken to new users (who expect Command-H to mean hide); switch and you break the habits of loyal long-time users.

Bare Bones solved this problem perfectly with BBEdit, which traditionally used Command-H for the Search → Find Selected Text command. What they did is intercept Command-H the first time you used it on Mac OS X, and presented a dialog box that asked which of the two commands you wanted to use that shortcut for. A one-time interruption, everyone is happy.

Monday, 2 June 2008