Re: Middle click, "dumbing down" Slashdotted

Emmanuele Bassi (ebassi gmail com) said: 
you need a design first, if you want to comment on it. also, to dispel
a myth: no design is "finished". ever.

there is always time to fix things. there's also a certain amount of
time between design and implementation, and then there's a certain
amount of time for testing to inform the design and change the

if you think that the design, once done, is also set in stone then you
probably haven't been keeping up with the development of GNOME between
3.0 and 3.10. things get iterated continuously. some stuff also needs
to get into a release to get feedback, given that users don't check
alpha/beta releases, and distributions update GNOME every 6 to 12

That's kind of the problem though, in my opinion.

Large changes in terms of the interaction paradigm, such as the switch from
GNOME 2 and GNOME 3, can be problematic for users, but by presenting them
with a very different interface, it can essentially 'force' a retraining,
that can be assisted by docs, introduction videos, explanations of why the
big change, and so on - "here's the new method, learn it, and go."

Continual iterations in terms of the feature set is a great thing for users;
things like "I upgraded and now I can add my GMail contacts", or "this new
music player is much better" are great, and add value.  As they are
generally either additive in nature, learned as a new application, or
interacted with in fundamentally equivalent ways (such as the new status
menu), they don't have a lot of cost of adaptation.

Continual iteration *in terms of the interaction paradigm*, is incredibly
user-hostile, though - it looks pretty much the same as before, so they
attempt to interact the same way as before.  But scrollbars now act
differently.  Or their middle mouse button might behave differently.  Or the
menu for some of their applications moved entirely to someplace it wasn't
before.  Etc.  And if this happens with a different minor thing with each
release - they get gunshy.  And they start saying "Oh what did GNOME break
now?" To quote Christina Wodtke - "User don't hate change. Users hate change
that doesn't make anything better, but makes everything have to be
relearned." And the "doesn't make anything better" is in the user's mind -
it's where the value needs to be communicated to.


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