Re: switching to g-c-c shell? [Was: Re: Control center and capplet merging]

On Thu, 2005-07-07 at 18:26 +0200, Carlos Garnacho wrote:
> Categories *do* help people find what they're looking for, ask any
> secretary :), it's true that's it's more or less far from the ideal
> where we want to arrive, but I think it's a lot closer than the current
> preferences status. Right now when you want to change some setting you
> have to exercise/spend whether:

Yes, but ask that same secretary to use _your_ categorization
names/methods instead of their own to find their stuff, that's the real
problem. ;-)

What I'm calling this problem is, Unnecessary Display of Arbitrary
Categories (UDAC), i.e. categories by programmers hopefully for users to
try to hide the complexity of the system.  Unnecessary because no one
wants to navigate an arbitrary hierarchy.  Arbitrary because we made
them, which means they probably won't make sense to everyone else.  I
believe Novell's usability testing showed a number of places where UDAC
caused headaches to people who didn't know how to navigate the
categories properly.

> Besides that, we're already using categorization, for better or for
> worse, in lots of parts of the desktop (Applications menu, GtkNotebooks
> and GtkFrames themselves are a way to categorize information), so IMHO
> not doing this with preferences because we don't have a good-for-all
> solution definitely isn't a step forward.

I see the applications menu as a great example of UDAC, and if you look
at the sections of the HIG regarding Frames and Notebooks it's no
mistake that there are many cautionary notes in the Guidelines regarding
using these things.  The old applets right click menu had this problem
as well.  The new applet popup solves this, but creates a problem where
it lays everything out in a pretty big list.  My recommendation for the
new applet menu is to have a little search entry that dynamically
searches keywords/descriptions of the applets in the list.

It's not that categorization should be stripped entirely from the
desktop.  Categories do provide good ways of sorting items and are
valuable keywords in searches.  Most search systems I recommend [1]
incorporate search and browse techniques which need categories.
However, just switching to the shell seems to me more like shuffling the
deck chairs on the titanic than attacking the real problem.  I'm pushing
to see, "switching to g-c-c shell with search!" in the spirit of Calum's
response earlier, that way we're shuffling deck chairs in order to build
another ship.

Vote no on UDAC!

~ Bryan


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