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Re: Lets take the worst of windows and make it the unchangeabledefault of linux

On Wed, 2004-02-18 at 16:25, Alan Cox wrote:
> On Mer, Chw 18, 2004 at 04:05:56PM +0100, Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > This has been discussed a billion times before. I'm not having this
> > argument again. If you want to see the rationale for it, read for
> > instance http://www.ometer.com/free-software-ui.html or google for some
> > of the discussions about this. 
> Or go read some stuff on both UI design _AND_ on product selection attributes.
> The latter of which is an established theory driving billions of dollars of
> marketing research and which in part strongly disagrees with the claims of
> that article.
> More specifically there are sets of attributes people use to pick product or
> service. Some of those attributes are more important than others. Certain
> attributes are sufficiently important that the user will avoid the product
> or switch given the opportunity. Others matter a lot to a user but aren't
> critical, and some attributes are ones that just come down to "I'd prefer if"

I don't pretend that I'm perfect at UI design, and I don't think that
all preferences are bad. Thats not even what the essay says, it says
that all preference additions must be carefully considered, and that
addition of a preference does have a cost (contrary to what many
believe). Does the theory of product selection attributes say that you
should add preferences without considering the costs at all? Or how is
it disagreeing?

However, I find it interesting that you are the person who argues like
this. How would you counter someone using your argument when he wants
support for system V streams or some other (in you opinion) horribly
ugly but used by important people feature in the Linux kernel. At some
point you have to stick by what you (as a developer) think is best
(considering input from other parties), instead of letting the opinions
of the person with most money decide.

> There is a lot of good argument for UI that doesn't throw 1000 options at the
> user, but the "remove everything" model requires that you know which attributes
> the majority of the user base consider in which light. Without doing that
> analysis of the userbase you don't know which attributes you can remove.

No, and since you can't do such an analysis you have to choose by other
means. Things like experience, feeling, user feedback, what the
competition do, research, etc. This is no exact science. We can't come
up with the 50 optimial preferences according to some well defined

> It is also often about presentation of an attribute. Gnome for example lets
> me set the desktop background. To most users thats firmly an "I'd prefer if"
> thing - so why hasn't it been removed ? - because there is a sane way to
> let the user set it without throwing hard questions at them.

Yes, background settings, while not important for productivity, are very
easy to explain in a ui, and experience has shown that people find it
very important to be able to personalize the look of their computer in
basic ways.

> Browse v Spatial mode seems to be an attribute which is important to users,
> so arguing for removing it by simplifying the interface is actually flawed
> when you remove your head from the cardboard box of purist-UI and look at
> the real world. 

I'm not so sure that Browse vs Spatial is more important than the set
desktop background feature. Don't you think we'd be mightily flamed if
we remove that feature? Don't you think its important to users?

I'm not arguing for removing browser mode. Its there, availible by
default in both the start menu and context menu (and you can easily drag
it to your panel). However, I believe that for the majority of people
who use a graphical filemanager spatial is better or as good as browser
mode, and for the times when you need browser mode its easily
accessible. Since both modes are easily accessible I don't think its
worth having a visible preference for which one to use as the default. 

Now, this is my opinion of course, and I don't have billions of dollars
of research to back it up, but so are all design choices I make in
Nautilus. There are lots of way a file manager can behave, and we don't
want them all in the preferences dialog, or all combinations of them
described in the docs. To avoid this I try to err on the cautious side,
because once a preference is in its very very hard to get rid of.

> So how to fix it - well one way at least would be to add "Make this my
> default viewing mode" somewhere so the user can "stick" the current viewing
> preference. Windows in particular makes heavy use of "Do you want to make this
> your default....." as does Mozilla.

Where exactly would this be? A dialog that shows up when you switch
mode? It sounds like a normal preference to me, except not in the normal
place for preferences.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl redhat com    alla lysator liu se 
He's a witless overambitious boxer for the 21st century. She's a blind 
Bolivian doctor with the power to see death. They fight crime! 

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