Re: UI Review

On Wed, 2006-02-08 at 17:19 +0000, Calum Benson wrote:
> On Thu, 2006-02-09 at 00:07 +0800, Davyd Madeley wrote:
> > If we're going with the new Clearlooks, does that need any sort of
> > UI or a11y review? I know that there have been sweeping changes.
> > There is a lot more blue.
> Theme changes, even to the default theme, haven't historically come
> under the banner of UI reviews, as they generally implement the stuff
> that the HIG doesn't talk about because it's expected to "just work".
> So unless the new Clearlooks has fundamentally changed the way any
> controls look or behave, it's probably just a case of filing regular bug
> reports about anything irksome.

Nonetheless, the UI freeze and announcement period are there,
at least in part, there for the documentation team.  In fact,
the announcement period was explicitly requested by me, for
the documentation team, a few release cycles back.

Changing the look of standard widgets affects every single
screenshot in every piece of documentation, core Gnome or
otherwise.  And that also means every translation of every
piece of documentation.  That's a lot of pixels.

Having said that, we should be extremely careful about how
much we change the default look each release cycle.  The
world doesn't revolve around our release schedule, and we
can't expect everybody to retake all their screenshots just
because we decided we, for this six months, we'd like some
more blue, or a different style of icons.

Let's look at Apple.  With every release (which are nowhere
near as frequent as ours), they have refined the interface.
The ribbing got less ribbed, the tones got more subdued.
But it was all very gradual.

Now, six months ago, we made a radical change in our default
look by adopting the old Clearlooks.  I'm not criticizing
that move.  In fact, I believe it was me that made the final
decision.  It had to be done.  If anything, it helped foster
consistency.  Our old theme was so ugly that all the major
vendors changes it.  And, of course, they all used their own
default theme in their own documentation.  And then various
other people producing various other software used whatever
theme they happened to like.

With Clearlooks, we produced something that at least some
of the vendors could converge on, meaning the documentation
produced by those vendors could look the same.  And I'd like
to think that that caused some of the independents to do the
same thing.

So, in that case, a radical change was needed.  The ups far
outweighed the downs.  But that does not mean that radical
changes are always good.  Every few years, maybe.  Every few
months, absolutely not.  We can make gradual changes, though.

But once we've made a stable release, the cat's out of the
bag.  We can't go back, we must only go forward with what
we've got.  Right now, we've only put this look into our
betas.  We can still change it.  It will have an impact on
people, to be sure, but it can be done.  Once we put 2.14.0
out, we're stuck with what we've got.  So we better be damn
sure we like what we're doing.


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