creating simple interface for low-power users
I'm trolling for ideas and guidance. I'm trying to help my parents
enter the electronic age. They basically know nothing about computers.
They're 80 and I'm stubborn. This means that things have to be super easy
for them, and I'm hoping to avoid windoze.
So far I have set up a 486 with Deb 1.3 for them. They are starting
with xpat2 to learn how to use a mouse. The mouse part is going OK. Typing
commands is proving to be quite a hurdle.
For example, I've set up a couple of aliases so they can invoke
xpat2 (they'll never remember that) and shutdown the computer (using
sudoers). The notion of a command line and shell are proving troubling, but
it is not just the command line where keyboard commands are difficult. One
of my ultimate goals is to get them using e-mail. They've seen pine and
mutt. Control key command sequences are discouraging them. I think my only
hope of keeping them interested is by pointing and clicking.
I thought it would be great if I could set up their accounts so that
when they logged in a button bar greated them. They could invoke xpat2,
logout, shutdown, or call up a graphic mail user agent (maybe xfmail or
netscape) just by clicking the appropriate button. Here is where I need
ideas and guidance.
I think this should be feasible. I would make this button bar their
login shell. All that would remain would be to create the button bar.
I don't know where to go from here. I have taken some programming classes
and diddled with various languages, but have never done anything graphical.
I have heard of various widget sets like tcl/tk, motif, lesstif, etc., but
don't know which might be the most appropriate. I would love to delve into
this but I need a starting point.
Any feedback ? Is there a better way to go ?
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