Raskin for Mac is an intuitive Finder replacement for Mac OS, and is the single best reason to go out and buy Apple’s new Magic Trackpad: it totally transforms the desktop experience.
Raskin for Mac uses a visual interface to present all your files on a single page, allowing you to view, arrange and open documents, applications, files and images without opening the Finder. It’s like a giant zoomable photo contact sheet, and makes navigating files and applications very easy and fast. It is inspired by the work of Jef Raskin — the legendary computer interface designer and father of the Mac computing experience.
What’s Good?: Paired with Apple’s new $69 Magic Trackpad, the application is really beautiful to use, easily navigating you to your desired area.
Once setup, everything is right there in front of you. You can browse to the artwork you are working on, skip to the last application you had open, or delve into a recent spreadsheet. A simple double tap will enlarge the file or open it depending on your preference. It really is a fun way to get around your Mac, and shows a refreshing user interface that Apple would do well to take note of. It also uses the pinch-to-zoom gesture more common to iOS devices.
What’s Bad?: Using the app with a Magic Trackpad is a joy — but the opposite could be said of using it with a mouse. Gone is the instinctive zooming, replaced by a combination of keystrokes and mouse gestures to achieve your desired action.
To be fair, from a user experience perspective, it’s not horrible with a mouse, but after using the trackpad it feels like going back to a piece of software from 2003. Even the Magic Mouse, with all its touchy goodness, struggles to make the experience a joy.
Conclusion: From a UX point of view, using iOS on my iPhone and iPad is a joy, but I have felt for a long time that the Mac OS interface is being left behind. Unless Apple starts bringing in features like those that Raskin add, OS X will be left for dust.
If you have a Magic Trackpad (or a recent Macbook with a gesture-enabled trackpad), then this choice is a no brainer – go and buy this app. It will change the way you use your Mac. In fact, if you don’t have a trackpad, go buy one and then get this app!
Raskin for Mac is available now direct from the developer website for $50 for a single user licence.