Re: [Nautilus-list] "start here"

On Thu, 5 Jul 2001 jpg2 cec wustl edu wrote:

> On Thu, 5 Jul 2001 mitch nuclear physics gatech edu wrote:
> > 	A while back there was talk about a "start here" or "lounge
> > room" type icon or menu as a place for users to start the use of the
> > computer. Anyway, I was just messing around with my desktop and had a
> > simple idea that would be kind of neat. If you look at the screenshot at
> > , you'll see a column of icons. At
> > the top you'll see a icon that is not only bigger than the rest but stands
> > out amongst the others in geometry. I was thinking of having the
> > "start" a bit like this. Perhaps make it standard for the object to be
> > bigger, and circular. Then each person, theme, etc... can put its own
> > emblem on it. In my case it has a ximian emblem. On top of this, it would
> > be cool if there was some type of light, flash, or whatever animation on
> > the circular icon that would draw additional attention to itself. Perhaps
> > this animation can occur after the computer sits still for more than 20
> > seconds. I know this is not a very big idea but sometimes it's the little
> > things that make a big difference.
> Not a bad idea, though I think we could do better than a circle with a
> monkey in it (no offense to Ximian folks--your logo kicks arse...just
> doesn't lend itself to being an intuitive "starting place" icon).  I
> like the idea of an animated icon--as long as I could turn off icon
> animations.  Maybe it could animate on mouseover too.  

What exactly is going to show up when a user clicks on this icon? Her
home directory? Not exactly the most intuitive starting place, if you
ask me -- when I've set up my friends with accounts on my system and
show them their home directory, there's basically nothing there.

It seems to me that if we need a big, blinking, animated icon to tell
users where to start, we've failed in design somewhere. We should think
about what users want to do when they use their computer. Are they going
to want to open up their home directory? Possibly, but why should they
do that as opposed to, say, pulling down the Programs menu and choosing
a program to run?

Perhaps instead of telling the user where to start, we should attempt to
enumerate all the basic possibilities, should they so desire. Although
I'm not suggesting an annoying paperclip, some sort of guide might be
helpful to first time users, especially if they have picked a Beginner
user level. This does not, however, give us the right to create
unnecessarily complex structures, rationalizing that they will be
explained away when the user logs in for the first time. IMHO, the user
really shouldn't _have_ to read the guide just to use their machine and
feel comfortable with it.


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