Re: Dropping the "Interface" tab from appearance capplet

On Tue, 2009-07-28 at 16:40 +0100, Thomas Wood wrote:
> Hi,
> It has been suggested that we remove the interface tab from the
> Appearance capplet. This is for a number of reasons:
> 1) The tab mostly exposes bad design decisions
> 2) The tab page is fairly sparse and only contains three preferences
> However, before we remove the tab, I suggest we fix the default option
> for the toolbar styles. I would like to see the default setting being
> "Text beside icons". My reasoning is:
> 1) This reduces the amount of vertical space uses in toolbars, allowing
> more room for actual content
> 2) Important buttons are given a larger size than other buttons, meaning
> better fitts-law for these buttons.
> 3) This seems to be a good compromise between "icons only" and "icons
> and text"
> 4) It seems to be more similar to other environments
> A quick survey in the office seems to suggest the "text beside icons" is
> the most popular choice for default.
> Some people have expressed concern about removing the options without
> properly testing applications with the new default. I personally have
> *always* used text beside icons and haven't seen a problem. However, if
> we make this change now, we can always revert the changes before release
> if there are serious issues.
> Regards,
> Thomas

I definitely agree with this. Text beside icons is ideal, because
applications can still get text if they desire by marking certain items
as important, in case anybody is unaware :)
The particular style also generates far less visual clutter, and
conserves precious vertical space. (Now even more precious thanks to the
16:9 screen ratios). Also, with developers going through toolbar icons
and marking them as "important" or not, it has the side effect that they
may really think about what belongs in a toolbar.

However, I wonder what the thought is on editable menu shortcut keys? It
has never struck me as something particularly in the way, but it is an
awesome feature to have, at least for power users who like their
keyboard shortcuts. My favourite example is needing to perform one
function in Gnumeric MANY times while too lazy to figure out Macros, so
I mapped that function from the menu to F12 (originally I would have had
to dig into the menu each iteration) and finished the job easily,
without destroying my wrist.
Has anybody done usability testing on it?


PS: This is out of scope and maybe a bit late given 3.0 is a few
releases away, but meanwhile, maybe the Interface tab could be replaced
with a tab to configure the panel. The process today is usability
impaired; one cannot get to panel properties, or add applets, without
right clicking.

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