[Usability]Attempt at constructive criticism - "Why Gnome 2 sucks for me"
- From: Aleksander Adamowski <olo altkom com pl>
- To: usability gnome org
- Subject: [Usability]Attempt at constructive criticism - "Why Gnome 2 sucks for me"
- Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 12:28:00 +0200
I've recently engaged in upgrading my Mandrake 8.2 to 9.0 betas and so
I've had the opportunity to test Gnome 2.0
I've been a regular Gnome user around version 1.2, but since KDE became
free (as in speech) with GPLization of QT library, and I've got a new,
better machine, I've switched to KDE.
Since them, I've been trying out new versions of Gnome (1.4 and now 2.0)
but all of them led me to disappointment.
I'll describe the main causes of that disappointment with Gnome 2.0 here
in the hope that pointing out those flaws will help the Gnome usability
project and maybe some day I'll see a Gnome release that I can actually
use (2.0 got me irritated, then frustrated, then fed up with it in just
* Gnome help browser _still_ hasn't got any built-in search facility
(neither "search for text in current page" nor "search for text in all
* To click an icon with transparency in Nautilus, one has to point the
moue at the area that belongs to the shape depicted - not the general
bounding box of the icon. Try to aim at that screwdriver icon in gnome
* In some apps, the most basic button pairs in dialog boxes ([OK] -
[Cancel], [Yes] - [No]) are placed exactly against the schemes the users
are used to ([OK] and [Yes] are placed to the right in some Gnome apps).
It's completely insane - people who are used to other popular
environments (KDE, MS Windows) will constantly hit [No] or [Cancel] when
they want to confirm. This should be settable from control center and
should default to be analogous to other environments. You can see this
behaviour ion the Gnome SAME game (preferences dialog box and the quit
confirmation dialog box).
BTW. This case of bad user design (that surprises and irritates user for
the sake of useless originality) is covered in the famous book "User
Interface Design for Programmer" written by Joel Spolsky (see
<http://www.joelonsoftware.com/navLinks/fog0000000247.html>). He gives
KAI's Photo Soap tools as an example of this - they exchanged positions
of [OK] and [Cancel] to make an original UI and users were nothing but
frustrated by this (this particular chapter is available at
* Most settings in control center (themes, keyboard bindings...) are
applied instantly when selected, without confirmation. There's no undo -
so if you click something by accident you will lose your previous
setting. Forgot what that setting had been before? Too bad - you cannot
revert to it...
* Gnome 2 has that silly panel at the top - and I couldn't find ANY way
to move it to the bottom of the screen! Nor enter its preferences! Nor
hide it! Nor turn it into ordinary panel with hiding buttons! This panel
is forced down the user's throat. And if there is any way to turn it off
- I couldn't find it (if it exists, then it needs to be intuitive, or at
least documented in the help system, a _searchable_ help system).
And there are some minor annoying visual glitches (filenames say it
all), but those are most likely related to the Mandrake distro itself:
ICQ UIN: 19780575
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