Re: Preferences [Was: a whole lot of other things, too]
- From: Anna Marie Dirks <anna ximian com>
- To: mjs noisehavoc org
- Cc: hp redhat com, jdub perkypants org, desktop-devel-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: Preferences [Was: a whole lot of other things, too]
- Date: 26 Apr 2002 19:07:19 -0400
On the subject of preferences (and in turn, of menus), I have done quite
a bit of research and have arrived at a proposal for reordering the
Gnome2 preferences/settings and menus.
To begin with, please turn your attention to the following spreadsheet,
which compares the organization of preferences and settings in several
different systems, including KDE, Windows XP, and OSX.
I did this comparison to see what terms and groupings other systems are
using-- which provides a) a picture of what people new to gnome will be
familiar with, and b) a set of different groupings to borrow from.
To give you with a more concrete sense of how these are organized, I
have screenshots of each system in the directories below:
(Note that they allow their users the option of using a task-based
(The screenshots in the "controlcenter" subdirectory are meant to
demonstrate the sheer power and friendliness of the three different
control center tabs (Index, Search, Help). Ah, to have something
The screenshots in the "preferences" subdirectory detail the
organization of each of the preference submenus.)
(This is a reprint of Jeff's screenshot from earlier this week, put
in a handy-dandy place.)
Then, to remind you of where we are coming from, I have some screenshots
of the gnome1.4 menus (both from a standard Debian installation and also
a set of ximian-ized menus).
So. What is the problem with the current Gnome2 menus and preferences?
1. As Havoc pointed out in an earlier message in this thread,
they are too many levels deep (ie, more than two).
2. They bear almost no resemblance to the gnome1.4 menus (making
upgrading a PITA). I am not saying they should be identical,
but trying to retain some of the good things about the
gnome1.4 menus would make the new ones easier to learn to
3. Some of them contain entirely too many items. For instance,
look at my *35 item long* system tools menu:
Items highlighted in yellow are settings/controls and don't belong in
that menu, items highlighted in blue are either duplicates of other
items, or are deprecated. Both of these groups should be removed from
The applications menu suffers from a similar problem:
Again, items in yellow are settings which don't belong in this menu.
Finding settings all over the place in my menus led me to wonder why, if
all the other systems I investigated provided a centralized place for
these settings, Gnome2 should be different. Taking the sets of
settings/controls from these two menus, and the list of preferences from
the "desktop preferences" menu, I set out to organize them with the
following goals in mind.
Preferences/Settings should be organized into groups which:
1. Are not more than two levels deep
2. Do not contain more than 10 menu items
3. Use terminology which is common between the systems I
investigated (including gnome 1.4)
This turned out to be pretty easy, so I looked at all of the stuff left
in my menus, and ordered it too, using the same criteria. Therefore,
finally, below is my proposal for how the gnome2 menus, and settings
should be organized.
Please review it, and let me know what you think. If there is some
interest in this approach (and if it isn't way too horribly late for
such a change), then I would be happy to keep working on it, in the form
of usability tests or a patch.
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