[Usability]clipboard manager comments


I'm investigating better clipboard support for GNOME 2.2 or Red Hat
Linux next-version, and the first thing I looked at was
GNOME clipboard manager at http://gcm.sourceforge.net/.

Here are the comments I had on it. The biggest point I think is to
hide some of the X machinery (selections, targets) from the user.

It might be nice if someone could post screenshots from similar apps
on Mac and Windows and KDE and so on.

Thanks to the GCM guys for the hard work, this is an important app.


 - It seems like we could give better feedback to the user on exactly
   what the program does and how it works. For example, after some
   experimentation I determined that the currently-selected row in the
   list view will be pasted if I paste in another app.  Can we somehow
   make it more clear that the user is looking at the stuff they've
   copied or cut, and that the selected one is currently-active? I'm
   not sure how to do this but maybe others on the list have ideas.

 - If the selected item is the one we'll paste, what does "Select All"
   mean? It seems to result in pasting a random item from those
   selected. Maybe you should only be able to select a single item.

 - It might be cleaner if the default double-click action on an item
   was a super-simple "View item" in which you got a window containing
   only a preview of the item - uneditable text, or just an image, or
   whatever. Guessing that just wanting to see an item is the most
   common action.

   Then that window would have an "edit item" button that opened 
   an editor appropriate to the item type.

   One advantage of this, aside from a simpler default window 
   for the most common action, is that "Edit item" could open up 
   the GIMP or AbiWord.

 - Overall I think it exposes too many implementation details of the
   clipboard. The GUI would be hugely improved if the need for the
   following technical terms was eliminated (at least from anywhere
   other than an "Advanced" tab):

    - Selection (when used in the technical sense)
    - Selection names (CLIPBOARD, SECONDARY, PRIMARY)
      (No one uses SECONDARY, and PRIMARY doesn't really 
      need to be harvested/stored - in fact things break if you do -
      and I can't think of a use for "custom name" - so basically 
      CLIPBOARD can just be used always)
    - Atom
    - Selection type names (COMPOUND_TEXT etc.)  (at least for common
      types should convert to some user-friendly name. For all the
      text types, should call the type Text, then make things just
      work by storing data as Unicode and converting it when pasting)

 - Preferences dialog should set transient parent

 - I would make these changes to toolbar button names to make the 
   toolbar less spaced-out:
    s/New item/New/
    s/Delete items/Delete/
    s/Edit item/Edit/
    s/Clear list/Clear/
 - "Get current" button on toolbar seems to expose an implementation
   detail that need not be exposed. Or at least it could 
   be hidden while "auto collect" is enabled.

 - tooltip "get selection from window manager" doesn't make 
   sense to me, there's no WM involved in the clipboard...

 - the title of the main window should be simply "Clipboard Manager"
   without "Gnome," as per HIG

 - when it does appear GNOME should be all-caps, e.g. in the about

 - in about dialog, "GNU general public license" should be capitalized

 - Prefs dialog should be instant-apply as in HIG

 - The "Selection type" option in prefs dialog should use an 
   option menu instead of a combo; non-editable combos should 
   never be used.

 - When I create a "New item" and hit return to create the 
   item, the new item dialog stays active and lets me 
   create the item over and over

 - In the Edit Item dialog displaying TARGETS exposes a technical
   implementation detail to the user.

 - There are missing mnemonics in prefs dialog and in Edit item GUI

 - Statusbar text "I don't own the selection" is hard to understand
   due to technical terminology. I would suggest that the highlighting
   in the list always corresponds to ownership of CLIPBOARD. That is,
   whenever an item is highlighted, choosing Paste in any app will
   paste that item. When no item is highlighted, choosing Paste won't
   paste from the clipboard manager.
 - Shouldn't the "max amount of collected items" be limited by
   default to avoid mega-memory-usage?

 - I don't think "Misc" is a good name for a tab in the prefs dialog, 
   I would use "Advanced" perhaps.

 - I don't understand any of the Advanced preferences, even though I
   understand how the X clipboard works in some detail. So I think 
   these are very, very advanced. ;-)

 - there seems to be a tooltip "Preferences" set for the entire 
   preferences dialog? Probably just a glade glitch.

 - should there be (or is there already) a way to extend the types
   handled by the clipboard manager from third-party packages.  For
   example, could GIMP install a handler that supported a "View item"
   preview for GIMP data, and that launched the GIMP when selecting
   "Edit item" on GIMP data?

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