Re: [Usability]widget style vs window decoration, (was "cheat to window-manager integration")
- From: Christian Rose <menthos menthos com>
- To: sunnanvind fenderson com
- Cc: usability gnome org
- Subject: Re: [Usability]widget style vs window decoration, (was "cheat to window-manager integration")
- Date: 26 Jul 2002 14:31:37 +0200
fre 2002-07-26 klockan 01.09 skrev Sunnanvind Fenderson:
> > We are not here to educate people,
> That's a start of a long argument, but I'll agree that there will be
> some users who care not for understanding their UI but just want to
> get their job done.
Yeah, and if not already this will soon be a big part or even the
majority of our users. I ccertainly can't imagine that people are buying
Sun machines or workstation machines with Linux preinstalled to learn
the inner workings of the desktop environment that happens to be
installed on them.
> > we are here to present people with a usable desktop, and preferrably
> > regardless of their previous familiarity with certain design
> > terminology.
> Yes. This does not mean that we have to go to extreme lengths to dumb
> things down, however.
Oh, please, not the "let's not dumb things down" trollfest again. If you
think usability is about dumbing things down, you have misunderstood a
lot of things, and this forum is a very bad choice for you.
Believe it or not, this forum has previously had and should have a
practical purpose in encouraging *creative* discussions that can
directly improve the usability of GNOME. "Let's not dumb things down"
trolls aren't just plain wrong about what this is about, they are also
> GUI's work with elements like windows, icons, a pointer - and
> widgets. While having words for the elements on screen is not
> *necessary* for using the GUI (see that "hole in the wall" article for
> a counter-example, if that one's true) I think that it can certainly
> clear up the thought process for the part of the population who's got
> a "wordbased" mind.
> "Widget"'s not the most extreme jargonny word ever. You kind of make
> it sound like I wanted the entire C code flashed in users faces when
> ever they clicked the mouse.
It *is* jargony and complex terminology, because:
* Widgets are hard to describe. Widgets aren't like each other. They
don't resemble each other much. There's not much that makes a button, a
check box and a selection list look like each other. Terminology that is
used as a collective name for lots of different things are by nature
harder to learn.
* "Widget" is an invented word that doesn't use any real-world metaphor
(not any that I know about at least), so you have not a big chance of
guessing what it is if you don't know it already. "Controls" is better
in this case since you can make the connection to real-world controls
(real buttons, levers etc.).
* The widget concept is not just hard to describe, in most cases you can
successfully describe these things by using the terminology of what they
are (buttons, check boxes, etc.) which in most cases don't have the
above problems. And since using "widget" in most cases isn't at all
necessary and using terminology as "controls" can be used instead, there
is *no* need to use this terminology in the user interface.
> > Not all people are of the kind "oh here is something that I'm not
> > familiar with, let's see what it does" but rather "oh here is something
> > that I'm not familiar with, better not touch that".
> Good! People unfamiliar with widgets *should* stick with the default
> widgets and not touch that dialog - or they could choose to become
> familiar with widgets. Depending on who they are, how their minds
> People wishing to change the appearance of widgets will pretty quickly
> find out what widgets are.
So to let people be able to change the appearance of their computers,
you want people to have to learn complex terminology first. I'd not
exactly call that "good".
> > In that respect, presenting the user with strange terminology is
> > something that should be *avoided* rather than enouraged.
> Having two conflicting sets of terminology is what should be
> avoided. Consistency might be "the hobgoblin of small minds" to
> Emerson, but it is one of the golden ideals for UI designers.
Exactly. And since there is no need for "widget" terminology, we don't
need to use that. Did you read the link to the chapter in the HIG that
Seth pointed out, by the way?
> Clarity is better than vagueness. Strange words are fit for strange
And better words with real-world connection that can describe these
complex things are much better, rather than imposing our invented
special-case jargon terminology on end users. Sigh.
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