[Evolution-hackers] Re: [Usability] Evolution 2.0

> I fully agree: if there was a "perfect" UI as visible in a similar 
> program, I'd say go ahead and clone it shamelessly. Unfortunately, that 
> doesn't seem to be the case (all wishes for innovation put aside).

There is no such thing as a "perfect UI".

> Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, but I don't remember suggesting getting 
> rid of stuff or talking about "standards". Anyway, you're wrong in 
> saying that the shortcut bar is "completely different from those of any 
> other application in the GNOME world": apart from some applications 
> using it in the main window (quite rare, admittedly, I can only think of 
> Rhythmbox at the moment) it's widely used in preferences windows, even 
> if you don't call it "shortcut bar".

No, those are not shortcut bars, those are normal list widgets.  They
have a standard scrollbar, and they don't have animated sliding groups. 
I suggest that you go have a look at Evolution's shortcut bar to see
what I mean.

> In the mail mockup image I counted 42 gadgets (not counting the 

If you count every single widget as a "gadget" then yeah, there are a
lot of them.  Go figure.  ;-)

I'd like to know which parts you think are redundant instead of just
saying "it looks crowded" though.

> This is all IMHO, of course. I'm one of those converts from GNOME 1.4, 
> who just happened to learn to love GNOME 2.0 "less is more" philosophy.

I like the GNOME 2.0 philosophy too, but I have trouble understanding
what parts of this design make it non-GNOMEish according to you.

> This is again a very subjective idea of mine, namely that the times when 
> it was enough to put half a dozen buttons side by side to have a nice 
> GUI are over. It would be better to have tabs instead IMHO, a guy on 
> Slashdot put up a mockup with tabs instead of buttons, have a look.

I did see the mockup with the tabs, and I think the buttons work better
for the following reasons:

      * The tabs are designed to look like a bunch of overlapping pages,
        but that's not the metaphor we are exposing.  You are not
        expected to see the buttons in the toolbar to change when you
        switch page, are you?

      * A common navigational operation is "click on component, then
        click on the folder you want to see".  In Anna's layout the
        buttons are closer to the folder tree (on average) than the tabs
        would be in the mockup, so that should make the common operation
        require less mouse movement.

      * The tabs' aspect ratio makes them somewhat more awkward to click
        on than nice chunky buttons.

      * The tabs look ugly.  There is a lot of wasted space on the
        right.  (Of course, this is subjective.)

Of course, this is all debatable.  We will be testing this on people and
see what the results are...  Or if someone else on the list has better
suggestions, we would love to hear them.

> The "most people don't even use it" would deserve further consideration: 
> how did you arrive to this conclusion? Since you mentioned consensus on 
> the list, note that on the gnomedesktop thread many people declared 
> their disappointment about sacking the summary.

Of course it's a tradeoff; you can't make everyone happy.

> I am also puzzled that you replied to sparse parts of my email without 
> answering the central item, i.e. the "different apps in different 
> windows" idea.

I already explained what my point of view is on that in a different mail
to the list.

> Well, I'm quite disappointed by this last remark. Sounds a bit too much 
> like the good old "either put up the code or shut up", hope this is not 
> what you meant.

I am not saying that, I am just saying that you have been saying left
and right how much this design sucks, but you haven't explained exactly
what sucks about it.  ;-)

> You will have to admit, though, that following the GNOME 2 "less is 
> more" philosophy (I might also quote the old Unix maxim "one program 
> good at doing just one thing), it would be much easier to create a 
> simple and effective UI for the mail app, one for the calendar etc., at 
> the same time preserving the integration between apps through well known 
> mechanisms (drag'n'drop, quick switching/launching of the other apps, 
> etc.).

You seem to have a false assumption here: i.e. that splitting it up into
separate apps will automatically reduce the clutter manyfold.

That is not the case: the only thing that the one-window integration
adds is the component switcher at the bottom.  All the other widgets can
exist or not, independently of that basic decision.

Of course, one can argue about whether the integrated UI makes sense or
not, and whether the buttons are the right way or not, but the
integrated UI is not necessarily a reason for clutter.

-- Ettore

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