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Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

der Standard interviews GNOME co-founder Federico Mena-Quintero. "The latest thing is that now things have to go through the design team first, and I don't think that is a good thing; there should not be a central body of control that decides how things are done, because that simply doesn't scale. And it also doesn't teach people in how to do design properly. I really would like to move to a model where, instead of having a central body of people who can veto things in or out, we can have a shared understanding of what constitutes good design and implementation. And then, we can evaluate proposals on all their merits and modify them instead of just saying, 'Oh no, I don't like this, because it doesn't follow my design criteria'."
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Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 16:25 UTC (Wed) by aday (guest, #81411) [Link]

Maintainers are still the ones in charge of their modules, and they certainly don't listen to the GNOME designers all the time. Furthermore, the GNOME design team isn't an official organisation. It's just a group of people who work together on design. We're always encouraging new people to participate in GNOME design and to get involved.

There is absolutely nothing to stop someone new coming along and developing their own designs within GNOME, and that does happen. What we want to ensure, however, is that designs for the 'GNOME core' fit in with our existing work, because we are aiming for an integrated and coherent system.

We also put a lot of work into helping new designers develop within GNOME. New contributors are encouraged to take up design tasks, and several of us are mentors on schemes like Google Summer of Code, Google Code In and the Women's Outreach Programme. I'm also currently working on writing a new version of the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines, so we'll have better documentation for people wanting to learn to design for GNOME 3.

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 16:56 UTC (Wed) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Indeed. Maintainers are #1, and design team already mentioned at desktop summit that current practice doesn't scale, not seen as ideal, etc. It will take some years before it is perfect. HIG 3.0 would also help.

Still, I value the designers. I'd frown upon ignoring them because of disagreement.

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 17:54 UTC (Wed) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> I'd frown upon ignoring them because of disagreement.

It should rather be the other way: designers should never, ever, ignore disagreement with their decisions.

If someone doesn't agree with your design, that is a clear sign that the design is not good enough. Think of it like a compiler warning.

But it happens that designers are often not very open to criticism. This is akin to developers ignoring (or worse still, disabling) all those warnings: it ends in bad code that breaks in funny ways and makes user's life miserable.

Design is really something very unbalanced. Creating an excellent design is very difficult, but evaluating it much, much easier. So easy that most people can do it. In fact, the best design is the one which is easiest to spot. It becomes self evident. It makes you wonder why nobody thought of it before. And here lies it's beauty.

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 18:28 UTC (Wed) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

Design is really something very unbalanced. Creating an excellent design is very difficult, but evaluating it much, much easier.

this is not entirely true. it may be true for really great designs, but let's be honest: those don't happen every day. it's really hard to evaluate a design proposal — or even a mockup. it takes time to deconstruct the intent, identify the good parts and the bad parts, and reinforce the former against the latter. it takes time, it takes iterations, and it takes effort. and everything has to be done in the open.

So easy that most people can do it.

that is an illusion; most people cannot even discern a design from a lack of design.

In fact, the best design is the one which is easiest to spot.

again, an illusion. or a self-delusion. the best designs still have flaws, or they may have multiple layers and multiple side effects. not easy to spot them at all.

evaluating, and creating user interaction design takes training — and a culture of iteration and consideration for the users and the process that has to be nurtured and developed. it cannot just happen, and it cannot be deferred to anyone.

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 17, 2011 18:01 UTC (Thu) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> it's really hard to evaluate a design proposal.

Agreed, but I never mentioned proposals. In theory everything looks nice, but when you have a something working and actually use it, flaws become apparent. A design flaw (in the sense of "design" we are using here, which I dislike, but that is another story...) cannot be hidden. If it doesn't bother you, then there's no such flaw.

> that is an illusion; most people cannot even discern a design from a lack of design.

_That_ is an illusion. The only things that are not designed are those generated by random algorithms. Every code monkey has to design, even if informally and unconsciously, before creating anything. We can discuss if you want if the design has more or less merit, but there is design in everything we do that is going to be used by somebody, be it ourselves or other people.

> the best designs still have flaws.

Read my previous comment. To reiterate, a hidden design flaw, so hidden that I cannot see it, is no such flaw. A flaw that is very difficult to find is of very little importance. The worse ones are, by their own nature, self evident.

> evaluating, and creating user interaction design takes training — and a culture of iteration and consideration for the users and the process that has to be nurtured and developed. it cannot just happen, and it cannot be deferred to anyone.

That's true only if you mean creating many great designs, fast. Picking good proposals (or rather, turn down inappropriate ones) require good taste, some experience and imagination. But anybody _can_ do a good design, it only requires some common sense, and certainly everybody can tell a bad design from a good one once the thing is built. Long before there was any "designer" in the software industry there was user interaction design -even great design- happening.

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 19:45 UTC (Wed) by bjartur (guest, #67801) [Link]

The most common computer problem my father has with his diskless HTTP client is downloading images from Flickr or GMail and reuploading them to Facebook.
The only means of IPC are selection buffers and drag'n'drop, and neither works with HTML forms in Firefox.

He has to fetch the image allocate the image a temporary but unique identifier, open Facebook's HTML form, feed it the identifier for it to retrieve the image and then manually deallocate the identifier. s/identifier/file name/.

While either a journal or drag'n'drop would solve most of the problem, neither solves it completely. We need to create a typed graphical shell for the masses: the user provides input, and the computer provides a menu of applicable processes. The user selects a process, yielding output for the computer to cache and use as new input for the next iteration.

If all commands/processes that output data can be kept functional, selecting a file can be reduced to recreating the pipeline that produced it. And while this may sound cumbersome, this does not require any extraneous memorization and becomes easier as the computer learns what processes and process sequences you use most often (with recently used pipelines being highly relevant, followed by often used building blocks consisting a few stock processes and most used processes). The computer would even automatically create scripts for your convenience when it notes that the output of A is almost always fed to B. Stock processes such as mktorrent, vi and man should be tagged e.g. "share," "edit," and "view," respectively, for when there are too many options.

Labeled files will of course always exist. In special, files created by others will be titled for your convenience, and devices have to be disambiguated somehow (even if mass produced). But labeling should be strictly optional (albeit recommended), and completely separated from identification for which IRIs/URIs are the correct tool, not filenames.

Of course, this should complement a journal as suggested by Federico.

Just my $.02

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 20:32 UTC (Wed) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164) [Link]

The use case you mentioned was once upon a time fixed in KDE's Konqueror: you could just add an image from a web page in the open file dialog from a variety of websites. Konqi would download it to a temp location, upload it again and it'd be all fine.

A similar thing was drag'n'drop of files into the file location fields of upload forms - doesn't work in any browser except for Konqi.

I believe these things no longer work and more importantly, who uses Konqi anymore? I'm quite surprised other browsers never picked up such simple yet awesome features...

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 16, 2011 22:34 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

Seems to work find in Chrome.

Federico Mena-Quintero talks about the Document-Centric Desktop (der Standard)

Posted Nov 20, 2011 17:10 UTC (Sun) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

HTML5 allows this too. Drag & drop from one anywhere to a webpage (with or without uploading), but creators of a website need to add a bit of the code for it. I would guess their might be something re-usable for it already, I haven't checked.

This is not a Firefox, Konqi or Chrome problem. The problem is with the 'receiving' website.


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