Re: Location of Desktop Preferences menu (was Reducing the number of special uris in gnome)

initial comments:
  - neither 'Joe and his grandma'[1] nor 'average Linux user today'[2]
    are useful abstractions if used independently.  Combined with the
    'animator' you mention they can be used to construct the dimensions one
    wants to use to define the target audience.
  - thinking about possible changes, communicating about them, let things
    settle down a little and then implement the best we can come up with is
    an approach I like, and the opportunity to works this way rarely exist in
    modern times :*)

On Wednesday 03 July 2002 03:33, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> Daniel McKee <daniel netcom mine nu> writes:
> > But something to keep in mind, is, do we want Gnome/Linux/X to become
> > like a Mac? Too worried about "ignorant" people

Keeping 'ignorant people' cozy and warm is a waste of time. Thinking
about how to empower them is the key (I'm an idealist dreamer, sorry).

> Well I don't really see your point. In what way does calling the menu
> "Preferences" or "Actions" instead of "GNOME" hurt the traditional
> Linux user. I don't see how it does. There is no tradeoff here.

The central trade-off is between what presentation is most
adequate to the underlying (abstract or specific) mechanisms
and what presentation is most comforting to the user, aiding
his/her needs. It's probably not a trade-off here, but there is
a trade-off.

Hmm, actually I did't get the point about "Actions" but maybe that's
because English ain't my native tongue! Who is the subject? What are
the objects ? For me, it could have been called "Misc." just as well
(which is likely due to my own poor understanding and still using 1.0;
beat me over the head!).

But now some considerations (and brief summary):

"[<action menu>] [Applications]" vs. "[Applications] [<action menu>]" ?
What ordering represents the semantics best, what historical conventions
play a role?

[GNOME] vs. [Actions] vs. [<GNOME vendor name or distributon>]

Having a knowledge representation of "the GUI environment/shell" is
of advantage to the user, just as someone driving a turbo should
know enough about the engine of his car not to go 100mph on the
highway right away after starting![3]

"Actions" may well be good if the concept conveyed
enables the user to be more happy and productive working with
his/her computer.

[Applications]+[Actions] vs. foot menu

could someone point me to a whitepaper (or the mailing list archive position)
where this is discussed ? I've been unsubscribed from the list until a couple
of weeks ago, to my shame.

> Even if there were, the menus are editable and hackable if someone
> really cares.


> But aside from that, your idea of the average user is completely
> off-base. The average user _definitely_ does not know what GNOME
> is. I'd go so far as to say that 95% of users don't know and would
> never understand even if we had huge marketshare and tried hard to
> educate them.

Educating people is the _only_ way empowerment stands a chance![4]

> Smart people such as the animators that make Star Wars,

They are privileged to be expert users of one of the best, most
powerful and thought-through GUI applications known to exist (Maya) IIRC.[5]
That's the place to learn from. Building GUIs for smart people! Looking
at 'average' as well as vi users alike for cues.[6]

> or hard
> science grad students, have usability problems on the level of "how do
> I add a launcher to the panel" and "can't find things in the menus"

Had a hard time with it myself. But the button to launch Konqueror is
up and running! (ok, it has a question-mark foot on it but what else
is perfect?)

> and "not finding the non-default pages in a notebook control." These
> are not dumb people. They just don't care about computers.

And to make one thing clear: the average Mac user is not ignorant.[7]

> So anyway, when you make this kind of rhetorical argument,


> you're
> defending making a desktop for sysadmins and programmers and no one
> else. A 2%-marketshare desktop. Don't overestimate the size of the
> technical population.

So what are the mechanisms and how can they be expressed concisely?
Who are the user and what representations and preocesses come
naturally to them? How can the two be brought together ?[10]

> GNOME is more ambitious than that.

Well said!

Best regards,

[1] sell them fractals and Bingo, make a lot of money and live where the
grass is green and the sun always shines.
[2] tautological identification: "that's me"
[3] only where legal or where the Eleventh Commandment applies!
[4] If, of course, you opt straight away for enlightenment education may
or may not help.
[5] The personal learning edition (for XP and OS X) of which can be
dowloaded free of charge!
[6] Time to admit: I'm a XEmacs user (have been for a while now). I bought
a book on vim. So at least I'll know how to get out of it. I'll try vim and
fte and then tell the world what camp I'm going to settle in (Because it
surely can't await to know).
[7] unlike the average Windows user (couldn't resist)
[10] Project overdue, must ship now! (tough shit)

P.S.: (Be warned, this is off-topic)
Question: Why the hell is item 7 followed by Item 10 ?
Answer 1 (for the contemporary reader):
  Because there are now items numbered 8 or 9. (enough said, the attention
  span of our audience shouldn't be over-stressed)
Answer 2 (for readers of SAMS Publishing books):
  See the screenshot!
Answer 3 (the full answer intirely made up for the inclined who has followed
  so far!):
  You know why there is no item eight. There is no item nine because it's so
  close to ten (Ten is good because it almost makes a full dozen!)
Answer 4 (the real answer):
  I don't know either. Knowledge is an illusion.
Answer 5 (because 10 2 div pushes 5):
  You'll get used to it, so you'll know.

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