Re: UI changes for control-center

On Sun, 2009-08-23 at 13:23 -0400, William Jon McCann wrote:
> Hi,
> On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Shaun McCance<shaunm gnome org> wrote:
> ...
> > The first three are fine by me.  The last two are much more
> > substantive and would require documentation work.
> >
> > On a personal level, I'm not fond of making window shading
> > even more difficult to find.
> >
> > How do you know that these make the user experience better?
> > Do you have any data on how many users use these features?
> You are welcome to do a study to see if people need the options in the
> window capplet.  I know what you'll find if you ask the right people:
> "What is window shading?"  But this isn't the point.  The point is
> figuring out what kind of experience we want to provide - and then
> executing on it.  The way we design our interfaces and the interfaces
> that we to provide say everything about what we value.  If we show
> options for tweaking window management settings then we are saying
> that we think tweaking window management settings is something that
> you *should* do.  This is especially true when the tool is a first
> class preference dialog - on the same level as sound, appearance,
> displays, etc.

It's not always what users *should* do.  Sometimes it's just
what users *need* to do.  Do users need to select whether or
not there are icons in menus?  Almost certainly not.  Do they
need to tell the window manager to stop stealing Alt+click?
Yes, there are users who need to do this to make effective
use of the software they use.

And who exactly is "we"?  I think maximizing windows is a
terrible way to work, and that minimizing is by far inferior
to shading.  So if I'm allowed to be a part of the "we" that
decides what kind of experience "we" want to provide, then
yes, I do want to encourage people to use window shading.

> The same goes for the Interface tab.  It is clearly not the story we
> want to be telling.
> Also, as mentioned in another message, the window preferences is
> strictly a metacity tweak tool.  It doesn't apply to other window
> managers.  Perhaps if someone really wants it they can move it to the
> metacity module as an optional tool.  Otherwise, it doesn't belong in
> control center.

This paragraph doesn't really fit in with the rest of your
argument.  Throughout the rest of the email you talk about
deciding on what experience we want to provide.  And yet
here you use window manager swapping as an argument.  Is
swapping out your window manager really an experience we
want to promote?

> > I know of at least one piece of commercial software that
> > uses Alt+click for its own purposes.  They have to instruct
> > GNOME users to change the window movement key to use that
> > feature.  You'll be making their troubleshooting docs harder.
> Well, I can't really respond to this without particulars.  But it
> doesn't sound like a good reason to me.

People don't use computers to look at their desktops.
If we don't care about the problems people have when
running third-party software, well, we have a problem.

The program I was referring to is Mathematica, but
after a cursory Googling, I've found people having
the same issue with a number of other programs.

So, OK, tell everybody that the desktop owns Alt+click
and those programs are broken, right?  Except most of
these programs aren't targetting Gnome.  Figuring this
stuff out as an ISD when your software might be run
under $deity-knows-how-many window managers is pretty
much impossible.

> > I'm not saying we need to include every configuration option
> > under the sun.  But you need some sort of criteria for deciding
> > whether to remove something.  And it really seems like people
> > are using "I don't use it" as their sole criterion, which just
> > isn't good enough.
> Not at all.  What people are you referring to?  I don't know anyone
> who is thinking about this as shallowly as you suggest.  My concern
> isn't about whether I use it or not.  As I said above, it is about
> what story we are trying to tell, the experience we want to provide,
> and about how we show our values.  This capplet and tab are poor
> design decisions - and need to go.

OK, I apologize for mischaracterizing your argument.
I should have asked for your reasoning first.

Nonetheless, I don't see that anybody has actually
looked into the impact of these changes have on users.

Furthermore, we have interface freezes for a reason.
These are substantial changes to the user experience
that require us to modify the documentation.

It's not just a matter of removing content.  Since
nobody else is looking at the user impact, we'll have
to look at each of the options being removed, decide
whether we're introducing stumbling blocks for a
substantial number of users, and if necessary write
considerably more complicated instructions.


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