Re: [Gimp-developer] Interaction design. Used to be: Re: gimp gradients

hi Simon,

I appreciate very much you writing a long post on this thread.
it has halted, for the moment, my slide out of the GIMP project
that was being propelled by no (GUI) developer responding whatsoever.

since I received your post I have been thinking a lot about
about what to reply, how to say and structure it.

here is a try:

peter sikking (peter mmiworks net) wrote:
the outreach, endowment, the relationships, they need to
be recovered and this time explicitly, in writing, here on
this list, not in gone-tomorrow talk on irc.

At the libre graphics meeting we had the usual gimp meeting and also
discussed the problems that currently seems to make it impossible for you
to continue working on GIMP.

In the meeting there was the general consensus that the collaboration
with you was very successful and we'd like it to continue.

this sounds encouraging, however, the public meeting minutes do not
contain a word on this topic. that is again discouraging.

I really hope
that the differences between you and - I think - mostly Mitch can be
resolved and everybody can return to the fun parts of GIMP development.

of course what is happening now is simply a continuation of our
meeting at last year’s lgm in Vienna. a lot of outspoken things
were said there, but at the end both Mitch and I avoided to
confront each other. that is how both our characters are:
outspoken but avoiding real confrontation.

it did leave real issues unresolved.
Anyway, before this can happen we need to rehash what happened, try to
understand the issues and try to come up with a plan to resolve this.

Now - I understand that this problem is not just about UTT but the
general expectations on how we collaborate on the interaction design.
However, since the UTT seems to be the elephant in the room I'll focus
on that one for now, we should try to resolve this first.

basically the issues came back to haunt us for the UTT.

it has become clear to me in recent times that the whole thing can
be summarised as: over the last couple of years GIMP has been sliding
back from a project where making good UI meant something, to an
engineering project where any inconvenience for developers that
follows from interaction design and usability work is either
loudly protested against or circumvented by simply doing
something else in code.

and now GIMP as a project, and especially Mitch as maintainer,
must make a choice whether making good UI means anything anymore,
at GIMP.

every time I think of going into one or more points of the UTT
story, I have to conclude half an hour later that it is better
not to. I think we better first figure out these general
expectations on how we collaborate. the UTT can follow from there.

[long snip]

We're now in the weird situation that you're pissed towards - at least -
M&M, because they supposedly fail to respect your work and Mitch is
likewise pissed because you supposedly are unwilling to respect the work
from Mikatchu and him that has gone into the invisible part of the tool.

Frankly, I believe this aspect is something only a real-world-meeting
between mitch and you can resolve, I'll gladly donate the beer.

we need to find a way.

irc has shown for years not to work for discussing user interaction.
it may work for engineering but UI is too complex for a low bandwidth
medium like irc.

after trying for a week to write this email, I conclude that the
mailing list is also not the forum to do this.

I do think we need some kind of meeting.

I sincerely hope that we can get this specific issue worked out and then
broaden the discussion to the "overall" collaboration. I won't do this
now, because this mail already is too long, and loading more potentially
loaded issues won't help.

I really want to stress, that - contrary to your perception - there is a
lot of trust in you and your work, I think the defense of the save vs.
export design has proven that.

yes, I thanked the developers for that in Vienna, many a software
company would not have the nerve to not buckle under such vocal protest.
but, as Kate pointed out to me at that time, save + export is
completely uncontroversial and logical from a technology point of
view, so it is not leap-of-faith support that really counts:
when developers cannot see the point, but trust the designer and
implement anyway.

In fact it is not only trust but also
interest, which on the other hand means that sometimes your designs get
challenged. Please don't take that as questioning your competence.

encouraging words, but the last years show that developers
trust themselves more on the topic of user interaction when
it is time to take action. this is not only on module level,
more and more when it is about the big sweeping interaction
topics and implications of wild ideas, I am asked not to
contribute big picture analysis. it seems to take the fun out
of aiming at your foot with a gun.


        founder + principal interaction architect
            man + machine interface works on interaction architecture

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