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Re: debconf dilemma

>> Scott Dier <dieman@ringworld.org> writes:

 > Case Study
 > ----------
 > 'lilo' on the Open Projects Network came into #debian-devel puzzled
 > as to which X server he was running, and if it was even a 4.x
 > version.  Later, it was figred out that he didn't choose the correct
 > XFree86 server in the debconf questions provided.  He didn't know
 > that the "xserver-xfree86" server is a 4.x server, and that the rest
 > of the "xserver-*" servers are 3.x servers.  This led to user
 > disconnect as to which server to pick for his card and he chose the
 > 3.x server that matched his card instead of the 4.x server, which he
 > would have chose with the proper knowledge.

 Quoting Shneiderman, "Designing the User Interface":

    ``"However, just because a designer uses menu selection, form
    fillin, and dialog boxes, there is no guarantee that the interface
    will be appealing and easy to use.  Effective interfaces emerge only
    after careful consideration of phrasing of items, sequence of items,
    [...]" (Norman, 1991)

    Restaurant menus separate appetizer, soups, salads, main dishes,
    desserts, and beverages to help customers organize their selections.
    Menu items should fit logically into categories and have readily
    understood meanings.  Restauranteurs who list dishes with
    idiosyncratic names such as "veal Monique," generic terms such as
    "house dressing," or unfamiliar labels such as "wor shu op" should
    expect that waiters will spend ample time explaining the
    alternatives, or should anticipate that customers will become
    anxious because of the unpredictability of their meals.´´

 Later he talks about how alphabetical sorting of entries lead to a
 faster searches in a menu, with exceptional cases where placing the
 most frequently used entries at the top is meaningful.  He also
 mentions how the naming of the entries can help, because users tend to
 read the first couple of words of an entry before proceeding to the
 next one ("Set the type size" vs. "Size of type").

 As relevant as it is, I'll refrain from quoting the entire chapter
 here.  I think the bit I quoted above is convincing enough.
 Basically, making the user select an X server is the wrong approach,
 but debconf allows for an interesting possibility, namely, another tool
 can present the user with a more sensibly designed list, which AFAIUI
 avoids the need to present the menu in question entirely.

Marcelo             | "Maybe you should loosen her clothing or something."
mmagallo@debian.org |         -- Gaspode the wonder dog
                    |            (Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures)

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