Beautifully Confusing UI

So today, after having used Lucid Lynx daily since about Alpha 2, I finally stumbled upon the fact that you can close the Empathy “buddy list” window without quiting the whole program just by hitting the close button in the window decoration rather than Chat -> Quit. I had previously stuck with Pidgin for my IM needs preciously because it provided a system tray icon that I could use to minimize this window to the tray. When I finally gave in to the new IM overlord I was quite disappointed that I had to keep Empathy in my window list even though the vast majority of the day I’m not using it.

So why am I writing about such a mundane thing? Well, it’s because I’m not sure what to make of these types of UI features and changes. How was I possibly to know that hitting the close button would keep Empathy running and not exit the program entirely? Frankly the thought had never crossed my mind to even try.

Do other people find this problematic? Is this kind of behavior unintuitive and undiscoverable or is it just me? I would really like to hear from the Canonical Design/Dx folks as to how we might be able to fix these inconsistencies between the window close button closing just the window and it closing the entire app. Perhaps there should be some visual queue that the window is actually being minimized somewhere.

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