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Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 5, 2012 23:17 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
In reply to: Seeking Enlightenment (The H) by ovitters
Parent article: Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Now you are trivialising. It is not a dislike (which would suggest something subjective).

Objectively, when a user wants to start an app, dash, expose, workspace switcher (placed too far to be useful) and animations are not necessary. Also, changing every single pixel on the screen (twice) is not necessary either.


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Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 0:15 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

An interface is subjective, not objective. To you the animation is unneeded. But in fact the animations give usability hints. E.g. if you put your mouse in the corner it highlights via the animations that the mouse triggered a hot corner.

Saying such an animation is objectively not needed: it was done as a usability hint. Basically to guide the user. I don't see how you can state that such a hint is not at least in part subjective.

Technically you are right: animations are not needed. But a user interface is more than implementing technology.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 0:29 UTC (Tue) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

He was not saying that animations are bad, that is subjective

he was saying that animations are not needed if the user already knows what to do without them.

That's a very different statement.

If the user needs the hint, they can be good. If the user doesn't need the hint, it's hard to see what value they provide at all.

The suggestion that you hold off on the animation until the user gives some indication that they need help (by not doing anything for a short time) is a pretty good one.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 2:30 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> An interface is subjective, not objective.

So, I take it this is all subjective nonsense as well, right?

http://developer.gnome.org/hig-book/

Seriously for a second, take my mobile phone (Samsung Galaxy S2), for instance. If you wanted to display a list of applications in its own dialog or menu over the running app, you could probably do that, but each of the buttons/icons would probably be too small to press. So, this is done in full screen on that device. This is a purely functional decision and is not subjective at all.

A different example. Fast forward to Galaxy Note 10.1 and you'll find multi window mode. Two apps, one next to the other. Enough space to do both, especially when using the pen. Something like this would probably not work on my SGS2.

And then there is the desktop, which uses mouse/glide point as a pointing device (very precise) and has a much, much larger screen. And yet, Gnome insists to treat this as a tablet or a phone by overlaying kitchen sink over my work every time I decide to do even the most trivial "something else". It changes my view (twice) in the process, forcing VNC to repaint large areas. It moves my windows around (expose), although I never wanted to do this. These are nonsensical usability regressions for a _desktop_ UI.

PS. If you wanted to see how a pretty good UI for one device is terrible on another, download Profimail for Android. I used Profimail on Nokia's Symbian for a long time and it was pretty much the best IMAP capable mail client on that platform. On an Android phone with no keyboard, it is pretty clumsy. The UI is all wrong.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 14:47 UTC (Tue) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

The one area where I can understand people wanting to employ large areas of the screen is precisely that of the applications or "start" menu, mostly because when you navigate inside that you aren't usually wanting to look in there at the same time as look at something else, although there are obviously exceptions. For example, you might want to drag something out of such a menu onto the desktop to make a shortcut to an application. That would be difficult if the menu were full-screen. (It also appears to be difficult when Nautilus doesn't like the drag operation, but anyway.)

Here, GNOME 2.x and KDE 4.x are suboptimal just as GNOME 3 and Unity are presumably suboptimal. Indeed, as I have publicly noted previously, KDE 4.x has an annoying iPod-like start menu that seems to confuse people, all to be able to squeeze a menu into a ridiculously small portion of the screen. Clearly, that isn't a good solution, either.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 15:33 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

I did not say it was nonsense. I said it is not objective.

For instance, you bring up something on a mobile phone. There the text would be too small if not full screen. Something objective would state such criteria exactly and that criteria would be based on something subjective.

Obviously defining that e.g. a 4pt font is unreadable is quite easy. But when does it become readable? That is subjective. You can define e.g. 10pt and measure such a rule objectively, but rule itself ("10pt") was still based on something subjective.

I've read reviews about (IIRC) the Galaxy Tab, which is 5" or something. It also allows multiple windows (or something). Some reviews hate it (too small), some love it.

Note that GNOME is not very usable on a tablet. I suggest trying it before suggesting that it is a tablet interface.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 20:54 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> I did not say it was nonsense. I said it is not objective.

Wow! If it is subjective, it is automatically nonsense. Otherwise, why should anyone follow design guidelines that someone found nice for himself only?

> You can define e.g. 10pt and measure such a rule objectively, but rule itself ("10pt") was still based on something subjective.

Surely, you have to be kidding. You obviously do not think that it is possible to measure at which font size majority of people can easily read the text, at which size majority of people can comfortably hit a button with their finger etc.

> Note that GNOME is not very usable on a tablet. I suggest trying it before suggesting that it is a tablet interface.

I did not claim Gnome was usable on a tablet. Only that Gnome developers insist on making my desktop behave like a tablet/phone. Which is unnecessary, because my desktop is neither of those.

PS. You have just reduced decades of usability research to nothing more than someone's whim.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 22:18 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Wow! If it is subjective, it is automatically nonsense.

In the definition I looked up, it states for nonsense: "Subject matter, behavior, or language that is foolish or absurd.". I was not claiming that what you said is foolish or absurd, I just don't agree with you.

Surely, you have to be kidding. You obviously do not think that it is possible to measure at which font size majority of people can easily read the text, at which size majority of people can comfortably hit a button with their finger etc.

You claimed you could measure similar things objectively.

I did not claim Gnome was usable on a tablet. Only that Gnome developers insist on making my desktop behave like a tablet/phone

So GNOME is not usable on a tablet. I'm a GNOME developer, and I don't insist on making your desktop behave like a tablet/phone. I don't really care what you use on your desktop actually.

I'd like to see some reference of those developers. Actually, a few designer would be more appropriate.

PS. You have just reduced decades of usability research to nothing more than someone's whim.
No need to get personal or to claim you're an expert on usability research. Seems like two different fallacy arguments.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 23:34 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> You claimed you could measure similar things objectively.

> No need to get personal or to claim you're an expert on usability research. Seems like two different fallacy arguments.

I did not get personal. I was arguing that by your reasoning (i.e. that usability issues are purely subjective), you have reduced objective, scientific research to someone's whim.

I did not claim I could measure such things. Usability experts claim they can.

> I'm a GNOME developer, and I don't insist on making your desktop behave like a tablet/phone. I don't really care what you use on your desktop actually.

I think this just about sums up the attitude many feel is coming form Gnome developers' camp. I have been using Gnome for many years and helped with fixing of many bugs. According to you, for this I should just get scorn.

I'm not that easily dissuaded.


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