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Re: RFC: fix summary text for lots of packages



Am Sonntag, den 23.11.2008, 01:32 +0100 schrieb Michael Schwendt:
> On Sat, 22 Nov 2008 18:56:59 +0100, Christoph Wickert wrote:
> 
> > [...] Thunar (which I'm not owning but only
> > co-maintaining) has the following summary:
> >         Thunar File Manager
> 
> Forget for a moment that package name and summary are displayed close to
> eachother -- or ought to be displayed like that.
> 
> Many, *many* people (except for fan-boys and people who are told to search
> for a specific brand) don't care at all about the name of a program when
> searching for a program. 

Sorry to interrupt you here, but this is an important point: Searching.
IMO the main problem in design is that PK only allows to search for
names, so unlike you said people _do_ care about the name when they
search something, just because they have to.

In a perfect world (TM) you could also search for "file manger" or "word
processor" and then select one from the results given. And then it would
IMO perfectly make sense to have the app name in the summary because
otherwise a search for "file manger" would most likely return a bunch
of ... well... "file managers".

> When they see the word "Thunar" it doesn't ring
> any bell. Instead, it makes them nervous as they don't know whether it
> matters to know what "Thunar". It could also be a special environment
> which they don't know and don't want. Adding the program name makes such a
> summary (and in turn the package) less attractive to these people. With
> the shorter summary "File manager" they are more willing to try out the
> software they don't know yet.

I don't think so. I don't think that a name or brand scares anybody. I
could argue that with a lot of "file managers" they are afraid of
choosing the wrong one.

> [This is similar to the design of desktop menus. Ordinary users would
> rather choose a "Web browser" menu item (and newbies even an "Internet"
> menu item) than a "Mozilla Firefox Web Browser". Sure, over time they
> will learn about the name of the program they use, but that doesn't
> make the original system user-friendly.]
> 
> [While writing this I remember that I need to look at the current state
> of the Fedora desktop file guidelines, because our menus are still a
> mess WRT Name/GenericName usage.]

+10!

> > So if we remove thunar, nautilus, pcmanfm, ... only "file manager"
> > remains and I have no idea how to improve this summary.
> >       * "File manager for the Xfce desktop environment"? Not really,
> >         because it's not Xfce specific.
> 
> Not specific, but its FAQ says "... with a special focus on the Xfce
> DE". And the first line of the description says:
> 
>   Thunar is a new modern file manager for the Xfce Desktop Environment.

<bikeshed> I guess we could argue about the words "new" and "modern"
</bikeshed>


> >       * "Lightweight File Manager"? No, pcmanfm is even more lightweight
> >       * "GTK based File Manager"? We have at least 5 GTK based file
> >         managers
> 
> IMO, it would be relevant to describe it as "File manager for graphical
> desktop environments". Or to mention Xfce: "File manager with special
> focus on Xfce".

Ok, I will discuss a new description with the owner then. Thanks for
your suggestions.

> > The three file managers are very similar in design and function, so
> to
> > me it's almost logical that the descriptions are too. Can you tell
> me
> > what to improve in this case?
> 
> Just "File manager" is fine, too.

But then we are over-simplifying the summaries. If we carry on like
this, one day we only have "text editors" "file managers" and "word
processors" left.

> >       * abiword 	The AbiWord word processor
> > 
> > We have a couple of word processors and having the application's
> name in
> > the description helps to distinguish between them.
> 
> Redundancy, which makes the package summary less clear unless you know
> already what "AbiWord" is. As explained above. Acronyms, brand-names
> and
> trademarks make ordinary users nervous. Have you ever met users who
> would
> ask "What is an AbiWord word processor?" while looking for a "normal"
> word
> processor? 

No, but I'm sure everybody recognizes AbiWord as a name and not as a
general term. We live in a world of names and brands, as Andrea already
said.

> Or users who know how to surf the Internet in a web browser
> that is started automatically, but the "Mozilla Firefox" icon on the
> deskop confuses them and they would not click it if they wanted to start a
> web browser manually (until they learn and remember the "Mozilla Firefox"
> name).

Most people I know _do_ (at least) know Mozilla and/or the
Internet-Explorer. I think that applies to 90% of all computer users and
99,99% of the Fedora audience. People who don't have a clue what Firefox
is are not our target audience, I guess they would have more severe
problems with our distribution than to remember and click the proper
icon.
Sorry to say that, but I think your examples are a very quixotic. I have
never seen someone who has been surfing the internet with web browser
that is started automatically. I know there are internet kiosks, but do
you think that someone who has never used a computer before will go up
to one of those kiosks and start his internet career there?

> > What is so bad in
> > having descriptions like "The exim mail transfer agent", "The postfix
> > mail transfer agent" and "The sendmail mail transfer agent"?
> 
> It's a matter of perspective. Do you think the branding is so important as
> to use it also in the summary? Does it make a package more attractive?

Not on the command line, but in the current PK UI, because you can focus
on the big bold text then.

> AbiWord is a trademark, for example. Users, who know that name, also know
> how to search for it in the Fedora package collection.

As I stated above: Only people who know the name can search in PK.

>   sendmail : A widely used Mail Transport Agent (MTA)
> 
> is the current summary for this MTA. Expand your list of examples of "The
> %name ..."  summaries. You can do it with all other packages for a bad
> precedent and decrease the S/N ratio:
> 
>   k3b : The K3b CD/DVD burning application for KDE
>   gthumb : The gThumb image viewer, editor, organizer
>   audacious : The Audacious GTK2 based media player similar to XMMS

If you list them that way it is indeed more noise, but IMO no one will
ever see the examples you mention listed together that way. I was
thinking of the PK UI (because it was the reason for this discussion),
for example when you select the "server" group and are presented a list
of available MTAs. Also you should keep in mind that app name not
necessarily is package name.

Regards,
Christoph


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