Re: Idea for GSoC 2007 : Shortcuts improvement

Hi Matthias,

First of all, thanks for taking time to comment on it!

2007/3/31, Matthias Clasen <matthias clasen gmail com>:
I have to admit that I really don't like the idea of popups for
Maybe that is just because I have first encountered this idea in Lotus Notes...


Regardless the software, let's focus on the feature itself and which
benefits both GTK+ application developers and users could have by
using such feature.  So, please allow me to explain it better with a
practical example.

For instance, open Rhythmbox, hide or unplug your mouse and try to do
some very common tasks:
- Change the music source
- Select an album
- Choose your favorite music from the play list
- Go back and change the artist

Soon you will be asking your self 'where is the keyboard focus?' or
'what are the shortcuts for those nice toolbar buttons?'. No doubt
navigating by using a keyboard will be a pain and we will realise how
mouse dependent our software applications are nowadays.

Is it because Rhythmbox developers are evil and did not follow the
Gnome HIG? Obviously it is not!
Indeed they are following it and using all the available features to
provide a consistent keyboard access to our lovely music player.
Although it is clear it is not working well because modern GUI
applications have keyboard interaction needs that can't be well
addressed by the available features.

Let's review the above example using shortcuts tips.
Rhythmbox developers now provide keyboard shortcuts to (P)lay list,
(L)ibrary, (A)lbums and (S)ource, all activated by the ALT key
Now the user can:
- Press ALT+S and change the music source
- Press ALT+A and select an album
- Press ALT+P and choose the music from play list
- Press ALT+L and go back to change the artist
Jus simple like that and the best about this feature is that the user
does not have to remember the accelerator to some desired GUI area
because, when pressing the modifier, all the accelerators will pop up.

So the benefits I see are:
- Novice and Power users can easily jump across UI areas.
- Users can discover and associate the available shortcuts
- Users do not need to know all shortcuts by heart
- We expand our software user base

"Sometimes it's the little things that can make your work so much easier." [1]

Who will be happy having such feature?
- Software Developers would be happy because they will be able to
provide an accessible keyboard navigation.
- Novice Users would be happy because they will be able to intuitively
discover and associate key combinations
- Power Users would be happy because they wont even have to touch the mouse.
- Physically impaired Users would be happy because they will be able
to at least use our software.
- Usability engineers would be happy seeing we are paying attention to
their claims.

One last thing I want to point out here is an advice from usability
test made by Sun in 2001:

"We are not our (future) users.
Many current GNOME users are developers.
Many future GNOME users won't be.
GNOME's ongoing success will rely on how well it will supports both
novice and power users" [2]

By the way, GNOME has made an extraordinary progress since 2001 and
would be nice to have a GNOME 2 usability test  such as the above.

Best Regards,

[1] - Quoting somebody I don't remember to properly name here. Forgive
me the lack.
[2] - User Testing and How to Strengthen GNOME by Doing It (Calum
Benson, Sun Microsystems Inc., GUADEC 2001) -

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