[GnomeMeeting-list] Re: UI improvements screenshots

Damien Sandras <dsandras seconix com> writes:

> Hello to all,
> GnomeMeeting is definitely a project where the author is asking for
> feedback to its users ;-)
> More seriously, I have defined a few use cases that I will explain later
> in a blog entry and the conclusion was that the best UI for those use
> cases was the current one, but a bit improved.
> In the screenshots, you can see a few use cases already :
> 1) http://www.seconix.com/opal/1.png
> Video Chat user. Doesn't care about dialpad, statistics and all this. He
> makes a call, wants to see with who he is connected and with what
> codecs.
> 2) http://www.seconix.com/opal/3.png
> Softphone user. He needs the dialpad, always, he is a softphone user. He
> doesn't care about video and will most likely use GnomeMeeting with an
> IPBX like Cisco Call Manager or Asterisk.
> He can also display the statistics when he doesn't need the dialpad, so
> that he can monitor the call quality :
> http://www.seconix.com/opal/2.png
> Here is the default screenshot for that softphone user, when he is not
> connected :
> http://www.seconix.com/opal/4.png
> He can see at a glance how many accounts are active, how many calls he
> missed, and his number of voicemails (new/old).
> What do you think?

Very nice altogether. Allow me to make a few remarks (after reading
through it myself remark number (v) probably making the most sense).


I'm happy you picked up the idea to show some info about the life
connection (codec). I think though that it'd be wise to move it to an
info window/tab, like the statistics already is. Especially, look like
that status info takes valuable space away from the video tab. OK, the
video might not be dynamically resizable, so you could argue because
of fixed resolution it doesn't really take away space, but I still
think that's the kind of stuff a user needs only to see when
explicitly requested.

Another question: wouldn't be the in/out codec the same? I can not
recall a situation where they weren't, and am not proficient enough on
the protocols to know whether that's actually possible, so if it is
please excuse my ingorance.


Well, this remark is probably redundant, but in the order of tabs the
statistics, or any purely informational tab, should probably be about
last. If I had to comment on the importance and order of tabs, I'd say
it'd be something like

 - Server list with registration status, active calls
 - Dialpad
 - Audio
 - Video
 - Contact list
 - Info or Stats

I can't actually comment on the audio tab though since you didn't show
it, but I guess it contains volume control (?)

Also, I again recommend taking a look at SJphone. It's organization is
rather nice, i.e.

 - active server/calls
 - missed calls
 - received calls
 - dialed calls
 - local (don't know what that means)
 - contacts
 - info

plus, and this is the winner, for each of these 'tabs' a hideable info
window at the bottom. I think that design is really cool and very
clean. It's similar by the way to the current 'open control panel'
feature in GM, which as of now unfortunately also hides tab selection
and maybe should rather be called 'show video only' or something like


Regarding use cases, and coming more from the softphone angle, I don't
know how much of effort it is to implement, and regard this as a
feature request for release 30097.12rc1 if you will, but the ability
to put calls on hold and having several lines to talk on would really
be great.

E.g. SJphone/XLite/Iaxcomm allow this, and surely one really common
scenario is that you get a call while being in another. The ability to
pick that call up and switch between lines would be a really great

Of course this would imply an interface to do this, like an active
calls list.


I've already implied this above, but it would really be great to not
only see the number of servers I'm registered on, but also which,
i.e. their names, and the registration status.


In my view very important: in your descriptions above you seem to
always assume a user somehow 'sticks' to a tab, like the video user
just wanting to see video and codec info. I feel that is intrinsically
wrong. The video user will most of the time look at the video, then
maybe switch to another tab to see codec info or other stats for a
short time, than, if possible, switch to an active call tab if another
call comes in to maybe deny it, then switch back to video and so

The same applies to 'softphone' or all kinds of users. For example the
dialpad is rather rarely used when in a call, that is only to send
dtmf, which doesn't happen very often. I.e. I think you really should
abandon the idea that some user of some profile would want all he
needs in one window or tab available at all times, because it's very
easy to switch tabs after all. Rather, it's much more important to
properly organize features and information in a clean way, so that the
user always knows where he needs to go to for a particular feature or
kind of information, and can quickly do so.

OK, I'll leave it at that. I'm aware that I'm just wildly throwing
stuff at you, but I specifically feel that GM also could really profit
from looking at the 'competitors' either. It may take time to digest
and properly organize all the ideas and approaches, but I'm convinced
it's time very well spent.

Also, if you could somehow make that use cases available, it might
help to get a clearer picture on how you/we/others think common call
scenarios look like and help the discussion. I would understand though
if you don't want to stretch the discussion too far, since all this of
course could easily lead into utter confusion.

Finally, thanks for allowing us to comment on your ideas and the
direction GM will take.

Regards, Bruno.

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