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Ubuntu debates usability changes

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 5, 2009 5:29 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
In reply to: Ubuntu debates usability changes by jwb
Parent article: Ubuntu debates usability changes

Users often need confirmation from the system that it has recognized and is responding to the operation they are performing. Talk to non-technical users more.


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Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 5, 2009 5:36 UTC (Thu) by jwb (guest, #15467) [Link]

That's just BS. My Mac doesn't do anything when a USB device is attached, and that's the most non-technical user population in existence.

If there's any uncertainty that the computer has recognized the peripheral, then THAT is a major bug in the operating system. You only need confirmations when you have to constantly worry that the computer has failed.

A better notification would be "A USB device was attached, but the computer doesn't recognize it. Sorry." But to pop up a notification for success of peripheral attachment is just dumb.

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 5, 2009 6:43 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

This is 100% correct. It not very unix-like to output needless messages: http://www.faqs.org/docs/artu/ch01s06.html#id2878450

It's going to take a big change in mindset but I do hope it happens. One day Linux developers are no longer going to be surprised when a hardware device just works like it should. :)

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 5, 2009 10:45 UTC (Thu) by NAR (subscriber, #1313) [Link]

If there's any uncertainty that the computer has recognized the peripheral, then THAT is a major bug in the operating system.

That's wrong. There can be many problems in attaching an USB device (broken cable, not working USB connector, turned off device or simply someone forgot to plug the cable), so it's useful to have some feedback even on success.

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 5, 2009 11:11 UTC (Thu) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167) [Link]

I'm dubious about this in principle, but even if we accept for a moment that notifications are an appropriate solution, the example provided is terrible because it's so vague, particularly when you realise that an ExpressCard can appear to the kernel as USB, so the user's experience is "I plugged in my FooBaz card, and Linux said I'd connected a USB device - but the FooBaz is a modem not a USB device".

If someone's excited about notifications for USB devices, let them first go solve the case that's agreed to be a problem, which is when a user plugs in their USB Foobaz, and Linux doesn't have a suitable driver. udev (with perhaps a small tweak to the kernel) can figure out that nothing uses this device and /that/ is worth telling the user about. "Vender Inc Foobaz connected but you don't have a driver for it [Don't show me this again]".

Once /that/ works, it is extensible in a good way ("Connected device needs firmware file FooBaz-1.28.bin. Please install firmware and re-connect" and "The FooBaz webcam you've connected has an unsupported Baz controller") which tell a technical user what they need to know, and provide the non-technical user something useful to report to their tech support.

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 6, 2009 0:27 UTC (Fri) by maney (subscriber, #12630) [Link]

+1, with bells on.

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 6, 2009 6:46 UTC (Fri) by cpeterso (guest, #305) [Link]

Windows does this, but it rarely works. If Windows does have a generic driver for a device, I've never seen it successfully find a new driver from Windows Update when I plug in a new device.

Fortunately, I could imagine a Linux notification system using (something like) apt-get to download new drivers might actually work correctly. :)

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 6, 2009 6:48 UTC (Fri) by jwb (guest, #15467) [Link]

Probably the only reasonably accurate message would be "USB device not recognized. Wait a year and try again."

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 5, 2009 12:06 UTC (Thu) by ctwise (guest, #10952) [Link]

It's ironic you mention the Mac since this particular notification and this particular implementation
are lifted directly from Growl on the Mac. You're correct. Mac's don't natively show any notification
for hardware changes. If you install Growl and the Hardware Growler on the Mac then you'll get
notifications for hardware changes. It's actually quite useful. It tells you when the wireless drops
signal, when you have a network drive disconnect unexpectedly and so forth.

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 6, 2009 6:51 UTC (Fri) by cpeterso (guest, #305) [Link]

Growl solves some of the qualms have with Canonical's design:

* Growl is a single application, reducing memory usage
* Growl has an extensible notification API, so application developers can write new application-specific notifications
* Growl is a one-stop-shop for the user to control all (system and application) notifications. Each notification can be independently disabled, made sticky, or a timed message.

Ubuntu debates usability changes

Posted Mar 7, 2009 0:48 UTC (Sat) by dmag (guest, #17775) [Link]

The grandparent is pointing out that the message in the screenshot is not specific enough. It *might* be useful to say "new USB drive found", but then again, putting an icon on the desktop might be enough (that's what the mac does).

I want to route all the silly pop-ups to my IM program. That way I can scroll thru them, etc.


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