When it comes to an ideal TouchBar, my priorities are clear.
Balance. I want the default strip to be relatively symmetrical, predictable, and logically organized. We have two hands on each side of the keyboard at all times, it makes sense for the majority of similar types of controls to be mirrored on opposite sides. Not all on one side or the other—just... balanced.
Visibility. My main issue with Apple's default implementation are the multiple taps required to access frequently used triggers. I don't want to tap to access the sliders, I just want them there at all times.
Predictability. Muscle memory is a powerful tool with keyboards. If items move all over the place from app to app, it will be very difficult to maintain the speed of use that any power user on this forum is accustomed to.
No Duplicity. If something is better done on the main screen, it doesn't belong on the TouchBar. I don't want Safari tabs in the TouchBar when I could just click the tab on the screen. The function strip of old prioritized particular functions that belonged above the keyboard rather than in settings on the screen, such as brightness, volume, media controls. I want to preserve those priorities, while expanding on their capabilities, and adding a few additional key functions that I could imagine would be frequently accessed.
Beauty. A minimalist aesthetic serves the rest of the principles.
After exhaustively searching through many different GitHub presets, it became obvious what I was searching for didn't exist exactly the way I wanted it to. I finally said,
"Fine... I'll do it myself..."
Thanos TouchBar.bttpreset (1.5 MB)
Introducing—Thanos TouchBar. It pulls elements from various other presets and the default BTT options, prioritizing the aforementioned principles.
In the interest of balance, we'll start at the center. Spotify Now Playing. Tap, and the music starts and stops. Long press and Spotify opens.
No play/pause button is necessary—the information is the play pause button. So balanced on each side are the skip backwards and forwards tracks.
To the right is your volume slider and to the left your brightness slider. Always visible, always fixed, reliable and balanced.
To the far side of each slider are two buttons. In choosing these buttons, I wanted actions that required multiple steps on the main screen, so that all four are truly time savers. The left most button is a new finder window, which previously would require opening finder and then command-N. Now, just a tap. Next, the emoji button activates Apple's default emoji slider, which if you use emojis whatsoever is actually far better suited for a touch screen than it is for a Mac. I imagine some may replace this with a more useful option, but for me it will prove valuable. On the other side, a new screenshot button replaces command-shift-4, and finally, new with Mojave, a "toggle Dark Mode" button. I image that one will prove most useful of all, considering the option is buried deep within system preferences.
On the left side, is the day/date/time. While this information is on the toolbar, I often want to know the date and find myself clicking to view. Now I can just look down below. On the right side is the remaining battery time. Again, the battery percentage is on the toolbar above, but requires a click to view remaining time, so this is another addition the TouchBar that removes steps from frequent processes.
I added a couple hidden shortcuts to both these information displays. They are not related to the information displayed, but both certainly come in handy. On the left, tapping the time of year will take you to the desktop and back. On the right, tapping the time of battery will activate Siri.
Finally, on the far left you have the escape key. Because of course. And on the far right, a system sleep button.
While I may make modifications over the course of long term usage, I'm very confident in Thanos TouchBar as a balanced, predictable, useful, non-redundant TouchBar option for the level-headed MacBook Pro users who value order and stability in their tech workflow. I hope half of you find it useful, and look forward to half of your impressions and feedback.