In February, I wrote OS X Lion and motion sickness from full-screen animations and transitions. This outlined a problem I have with OS X Lion, in its full-screen transitions between full-screen apps making me dizzy. I’ve since written to Apple, practically begging for the company to bring in an option in OS X Mountain Lion to turn the transitions off, or at least change them to something less likely to fry my brain (such as a simple cross-fade). My thinking: if Apple can provide largely aesthetic alternate Dock minimisation effects, a checkbox in Mission Control’s settings that either enables a full-screen cross-fade effect or just turns off the slide isn’t too much to ask.
Based on the response I got on Twitter, I’m not alone in terms of OS X Lion and motion sickness, and today’s seen the article picked up by The Code Project. I hope, if nothing else, it might help the message get out there, and perhaps someone from Apple will even take note and become interested in solving the problem. The company, after all, makes a big deal out of universal access, and so I would hope it would attempt to reduce motion sickness in a sub-set of users.
In the meantime, Lukas Mathis earlier pointed me in the direction of ReSpaceApp. (Update: The app has now joined Binary Age and has been renamed TotalSpaces.) Currently in beta, the app aims to recreate the 2D Spaces grid functionality that Apple ditched from OS X Lion. But what Mathis pointed out to me was the app’s Transitions settings in the preferences—with a single click, transitions can be turned off, and user-definable hot-keys can be used to switch between spaces and to full-screen apps.
ReSpaceApp isn’t specifically designed to solve the problem I have—it’s an add-on for bringing Spaces-like grid functionality back to OS X. However, the settings nonetheless work much as I’d hoped. Command-tabbing to a full-screen app immediately switches to it, with no delay and no animation. It’s also possible to use shortcuts to move between full-screen apps. Currently, you cannot turn off the grid entirely, thereby forcing you to use at least two desktops along with full-screen apps; however, the developer tells me this will soon be fixed. (Update: This is now fixed.) Also, ReSpaceApp doesn’t affect Apple’s own code, and so the odd and—in my case—dizzying morphing effect as an app becomes full-screen remains.
Despite this, I can already recommend OS X Lion users suffering from motion sickness when working with full-screen apps at least check out ReSpaceApp. And while I wish the developer well with his product, I also hope someone at Cupertino is listening. Although transitions can be useful in providing direction to where things are located spatially, that’s no good if some people cannot use them at all, because the transitions make them sick. The transitions should certainly remain on by default, but Apple should also enable you to disable them.