Re: Contribution

Alan Horkan wrote:
And about that HIG: guidelines have a tendency slowly but steadily to
transform into constraints. It's much better to have principles instead
of constraints.

Guideline and checklists are easier to follow.
That is the problem: those checklists become constraints that hinder UI innovation. As a programmer (artist to some extent) I want to learn common sense principles that possibly would allow me to implement interface in a more productive way than guidelines authors may think of - and not to loose my personality by just following templates.

 There is not always clear
cut agreement on the principles either.  If there is something in the HIG
you disagree with I would strongly encourage you to mail the usability
list and ask.
Windows programmers manage to create successful applications without guidelines. I disagree with HIG existence (more below) - but I suppose my opinion is not very important here ;)

  There may well be room for alternative approachs which keep
within the spirit and intentions of the guidelines.  If you ask we should
in most cases be able to explain to you some of the rationale behind a
guideline or possible compromises which informed a decision at the time
and could now be reapproached.

The Guidelines are not carved in stone.  The can and will be changed but
most prefer to take the path of least resistance and make inconsistent
applications rather than trying to promote changes in the HIG or even the

And that principle about Gnome simplicity - it's good, but it should not
be achieved at the expense of functionality. Being simple does not mean
being less functional.

It is easier to say one has principles than to clearly express them and
consistently follow them.  The guidelines provide a useful way to express
various ideas in a clearer less ambiguous fashion.

I think I can clearly express such a principle ;)
Take a look at Most of the time we use a text field and a search button. Two UI controls make a gate into the universe. Simple UI + great functionality (invisible search algorithms and an invisible index database)

So here is that principle that I think make Google successful: reduce number of UI controls and expand application functionality while preserving UI/functionality coherency. I think that consumer electronics inherently follow this principle (TV, video recorders, phones, etc.)

This discussion is getting very hypothetical but if you do have an
specific examples in the HIG you disagree with and would like to reexamine
please do bring the subject to the usability mailing list (but please do
not cross post).
Some thoughts about being a Gnome application...
I remember there was such a thing on Windows as application certification. Perhaps it was not very useful on Windows but Gnome may adopt this process. User who downloads a Gnome-certified application is guaranteed about certain level of stability, functionality, dependability, usability, etc. Application developers should contend for certification and Gnome project must define some standards and have formal review procedures. I think this will improve Gnome much better and faster that those passive HIG's ;)

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