> And I'm also telling you that those of us here are not the subset
> to shoot for. We are not the mainstream, our preferences will
> never be the mainstream, we are a very poor design target.
There are plenty of mainstream interfaces that I use daily with great satisfaction: Android, Chrome OS, Maemo...
Over the past year I even considered going back to Mac OS X out of frustration for the sorry state of the Linux desktop. But in the end I love free software and I'm going to stick with it a little longer in spite of the miserable user experience that I'm getting these days.
I think we should stop hiding behind the belief that Gnome Shell appeals to a wider audience than just geek. At least, not until we have data showing that the market share has been growing since GNOME 3.0.
> Yes indeed, this really hilights one of the points I made previously
> about the perception of usability design. As an audience I do no think
> we appreciate what trained designers actually bring to the table.
> You clearly do not. Anyone who stands up and basically says ah that
> stuff is easy, anyone can be an expert at that, clearly has no idea.
> I really feel for the people who have actually been trained in design
> in our community for that reason. Constantly having to fight with
> people with no training who think they can do it better.
> Demoralizing really.
I'm not saying that UI design is easy! On the contrary, I'm saying that being trained in UI design and usability doesn't make you a good UX engineer any more than studying CS automatically make a good software engineer.
The only way to verify whether a UI designer did a good job is asking users to vote with their feet. We don't have solid data, but by now there are a some hints that something might have gone wrong with Gnome Shell: lots of bad reviews, critical blogposts, forks, major distros switching to other desktops and, last but not least, lots of negative comments in user surveys.
> We absolutely need more of the _trained_ designers to step up and
> explain some core concepts to us, so we, the larger participatory
> community, can better appreciate the effort being made (even if we
> still don't like the final outcome).
Sure, I'd be eager to hear detailed explanations from the trained designers backing some of the decisions that seem arbitrary.
I understand that part of the design was meant to make our UI more suitable to tablets and smart phones. However, so far we've failed to steal any significant market share from iOS and Android, while at the same time we've lost the largest Linux distributions.
> We must gain confidence in the skillset and the training as a
> profession. But in order for this to happen we are going to have
> to make a safe space for these people to start communicating out
> in the open without having to deal with you and the rest of the
> "I'm not an expert but I can do better than that" crowd.
Sure, let's give them some time to try their ideas, but at what point do we verify the actual results and make a decision to change strategy?
We don't have the luxury of infinite time and resources. If you do believe in history repeating itself, take KDE 4's fall: the initial release was such a gigantic fiasco that large portions of the user base switched to Gnome 2. Afterwards, the KDE developers put an admirable effort at fixing the bugs and polishing the interface, but the project did never fully recover.