Re: [Usability] [RFC] Announcing: Control-Center-GUI 0.1

On Mon, 2005-02-07 at 18:22 +0100, Christian Neumair wrote:
> As Jody pointed out, the Apple layout doesn't work very well for many
> items - and we HAVE many items. While about 20 in the default setup are
> still OK, we have to deal with the fact that new items will be added. So
> the Apple approach seems to be badly scalable.

Planning to be "scalable" here is exactly the wrong thing to do. The
person using the UI is not scalable. We should just assume there is a
hardcoded limit of 15-20 items; and fix any and all reasons there are

If apps are installing extra items, then we should either remove the
capability, or shove these extra items in some secondary location (like
"other" or an "application items" tab or something) and say "if your
control panel sucks because apps install crap, then it's the apps fault,
file an app bug" - maybe we could put in the HIG:

 "The control-center is for desktop settings, i.e. stuff that does not
appear to users to be
  associated with any particular application. Do not put your app
preferences there."

The Applications menu is the same way. Once you exceed a certain number
of items, it's just not possible to arrange them sanely.

I like the part of this page
starting with  "Here's a common programmer thought pattern: there are
only three numbers: 0, 1, and n."

The UI should be designed for a number of apps/control-panels people
will use, not for N items. Then we should be sure we focus the defaults
of GNOME (and each OS that includes GNOME) around a specific enough
target audience that we can keep the number of items low. Failing that,
we should make it easy for site admins to focus their local defaults
using their knowledge of their users.

There are tons of ways to limit the number of items if we aren't lazy,
even ignoring the option to just remove silliness. Prefs don't have to
be in the control panel. They can be made available in the contexts
where you will use them - e.g. media prefs in the media player, file-
related prefs in the file manager, prefs that appear when you take an
action like plug in a device, etc.

Personally I think some time thinking through which prefs exist, and
whether they can be moved outside the control center, would be a lot
more valuable than continuing to try and bandaid the "too many prefs"
problem with new control center shells.


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