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Usability and experienced people [was Re: Bug#167297: ITP: gnome1 -- The GNU Network Object Model Environment (version 1)]

On Fri, 1 Nov 2002 18:40:42 -0600
Steve Greenland <steveg@moregruel.net> wrote:

> On 01-Nov-02, 17:13 (CST), Nick Name <nick.name@inwind.it> wrote: 
> > [gives a very good explanation of the differrence between viewports 
> > and workspaces]
> I'm going to throw your "terminology is important" phrase back at you,
> because you are correct: terminology *is* important.
> What you've missed is that features you've explained so well are not,
> in fact, GNOME features. They are *window manager* features. Metacity
> doesn't support viewports, and I think Havoc has said it won't.
> Sawfish used to, as you note: I think that they haven't been removed,
> just hidden because the sawfish maintainer has decided he'd rather
> support some features well rather than a lot of features badly.

Surely I know that it's a window manager feature, but sawfish should be
considered part of the gnome1 desktop. Anyway, there must be support for
viewports in the gnome pager. In gnome2 there is no support for

I have not found an official answer in some FAQ, but many e-mails from
the gnome2 development community tell us that "what you want is edge
flipping, not viewports", and that viewports won't appear in gnome2

Edge flipping can be a workaround, not a complete replacement. However,
it's highly probable that 99% of people will just surrender ;) and use
gnome2 anyway (it's really better, I agree). And I am sure that someone
(maybe I myself) will make viewports work again, but gnome2 developers
don't like them. 
> That's because people confuse "ease of use" with "ease of learning".
> The unix command line is hard to learn, but easy to use and very
> productive for a proficient person.

That's true, but this behaviour has to be corrected in debian, which is
one of the two or three good distributions left around.

I've read half of the gnome usability tests. One interesting point is
that newbies don't understand what "home directory" means. They're
right. Let's suppose to call them "my objects". This will clarify the
concept to the users. Now they put many things into "my objects" and
then they feel the need to group them in subdirectories (I let my mother
learn the "subdirectory" concept this way and it worked). They still
don't know what a directory is, so put a big button in the window called
"group my objects" wich creates a new "group" and prompts for a name.

I am sure this would be considered elegant and easy to use. A newbie
would really understand by need what a subdirectory is. 

But now one debian developer, wich is an experienced person, has to
teach something to the newbie, like copying a file from a floppy. He
goes to the computer and looks the interface. He doesn't see the home
directory, only "my objects" which could be the home directory, or
equally an arbitrary subdirectory of it. Usability is not so high here.

Now, switching to a virtual console and sending an ls command he
discovers that "my objects" is the "home directory". Now he has to
create a subdirectory into "my objects".

What would you think seeing "group my objects"? I would think "this
could be sort of an automatic grouper, based on the file name, those
things that lusers love and I hate. Don't let me risk to make a mess".

And he would never discover that the button is made to create

This sort of "experienced person hangup" happens to me every time
someone makes me use OSX or winXP. 

I am sorry for the long post, to clarify such a simple concept that
maybe everyone knows. Just wanted to talk to debian developers about
this now that debian-desktop is starting.

>     The irony is that Bill Gates claims to be making a stable
>     operating system and Linus Torvalds claims to be trying to take
>     over the world.       -- seen on the net

Nice signature ;)



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