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- Poll . 

Your oppinion about settings and usability?

Posted by Frank on Mar 7 2004
remove settings in favor of usability, choose defaults5%5%5% 5%
move settings to advanced dialogs35%35%35% 35%
move settings to an external application3%3%3% 3%
improve usability by reordering/restructuring settings34%34%34% 34%
settings should stay where they are13%13%13% 13%
vi and ~/.kde is all I need10%10%10% 10%
Votes: 770
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 Hmm... worlds apart?

 by Aurelius on: Mar 11 2004
Score 50%

Gentlemen, I believe what we have are two poles apart when it comes to desktop environments.

One pole is GNOME, coldly efficient and devoid of most configuration options in favour of "sane" defaults. While their defaults are not bad - and GNOME 2.6 will be much better in that department, and yes, the file chooser will be fixed - tweaking those defaults IS a pain, or is almost impossible. Sometimes it is not a big problem, since the default is okay, other times... well, let us just say that I find GNOME approach - despite the fact that I happen to like the DE itself - somewhat arrogant. It seems as if the users were way too dumb to decide how things should look, piece by piece. It is frustrating after longer use.

The other is KDE. With configuring options galore AND a staggering amount of tabs and switches. Yes, I understand SOME love to tinker with each and every piece of their system, the amount, especially when thrown into a newbie (seen that happen) is downright frightening. Not to mention the fact that some options NEVER get touched, unless someone is into nitpicking. I am not, and far too many people - at least those I know - are neither.

My point is: first, not all "popular" features are usable. Not all options should be available at-a-glance. Some things can be left in the back room for further tinkering. KDE needs sane defaults first (the looks department is a pain with Keramik IMHO, Plastik looks way better), restructurization of menus and config windows later. And "Basic/Advanced" switch at the bottom of every configuration window that would add more tabs to it and enable more configuration options.

I suppose both environments will slowly gravitate towards that. GNOME will get more options, KDE will trim some and restructurize others.

That's just my 0.02 $. Neither right, nor wrong, just mine. Flame away if you will.

Reply to this


 Re: Hmm... worlds ap

 by djworld on: Mar 12 2004
Score 50%

I can just agree. I think KDE should have less options, but without falling into the "unconfigurability" of Gnome. The "Advanced" button would give everything a tweaker needs and for the rest of the users the default settings should be the most optimous. We could do usability studies as the Apple and M$ guys do with their products to see what settings give the better usability and commodity for the final users.

Right now, I think the main priorities are to remove options from the toolbars and right-click menu-popups and see which options are the most used by the final users. Advanced users have the option of adding icons in the toolbars and there could also be an option to add/remove icons in the right-click menus so they have a few common options and advanced users can add more.

Also, I'm glad to hear the KDE Control Center is going to be redesigned for easier usability. This was needed too much!

Anyway, the KDE guys are doing a good work. Congratulations for that!

Reply to this


 Re: Re: Hmm... worlds ap

 by leinir on: Mar 12 2004
Score 50%
KDE/Amarok, KDE/Gluon

After thinking about it some more (and reading your and the above message), it has hit me that we actually already have one dialog that employs a possible way of doing this. Have a look at the KDE Printer dialog. This dialog has a button which reads "Expand" on it, which is not an insult to anyone's intelligence, and also makes perfect sense (at least it has to everybody I've spoken to about it).

And yes, we really do need to let the KDE Usability Group do their work, and accept their findings. I am convinced that they are only interested in doing their job, and if you yourself believe you can do it better (all these "you"s are not aimed at anyone specific), you should sign up to the group and join in the discussions. I myself am just hoping they will find my ramblings (as they often are ;) ) interesting and hopefully also insightful :)

..Dan // Leinir

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 Expand, not Advanced

 by Yaba on: Mar 12 2004
Score 50%

As Leinir has written in the thread above, there is a different concept: The "Expand" Button as seen on the print dialog.

Yes!!! Exactly this "Expand" Button is what I like way more than an advanced dialog. E.g. it's a pain to find settings like the shadow of the icon text on the desktop, or the option to fade out the applet handles. Why? Because they are on such additional Advanced dialogs.

Soon we will have something like Windows, where you have to click 10 times to see the TCP-IP settings. I hate these click orgies in Windows and I always thought KDE is about the best from all DEs and not about the copying Windows (including their flaws).

This is also what I meant by a global "Advanced" mode. When you are not in the advanced mode, dialogs have an "Expand" button that shows all the options. When you are in the advanced mode, the "Expand" button is gone and all dialogs are always shown expanded.

To mess up a Linux box, you need to work at it; to mess up your Windows box, you just need to work on it.
- Scott Granneman, Security Focus

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