Re: [Usability]Galeon 2 usability


There's just a global decision here, IMO. You have to decide what
you're really interested in and stick to it. It's totally cool to make
a good alternative browser for technical users. It's also totally cool
to make a simple, slick, HIG-compliant browser.  Doing both is going
to be pretty hard, and you risk design-by-committee mediocrity.

If you go the "we want a good UI for 98% of typical, nontechnical
users" route, like metacity or Phoenix, then you have to hide most of
the silly stuff and technical terms by default.

You can try "user levels" (maybe just two: "sane browser" and
"complicated browser"), but it's a lot of extra work, and if the
master-user-level toggle button is in the visible UI, kind of

A better approach might be some kind of generic extension system. I
think that's what Phoenix is doing, and that's how Emacs stays
sort-of-sane. So people could load their own module that adds a
Settings menu or whatever.

The danger there is that you spend all your time overengineering the
extension system, or in "complicated mode," and no time implementing
the good browser.

If you're focusing on a general-purpose browser, my opinion as you
know is that the best thing is to design primarily for the 98% case,
and then add the most useful/important technical/complicated features,
keeping them relatively unobtrusive.

For example, "geek features" in metacity include sloppy focus,
autoraise, lower-window-on-middle-click, Alt+click, rearranging button
layout, configurable keybindings. The list of such features that
_aren't_ included is much much longer, but many people are covered by
what's there. Metacity is also partly extensible, e.g. Ross Burton has
implemented matched windows and position remembering and
keep-panel-on-bottom all in an external add-on. Anyway, the idea is to
avoid including the complicated features that have high maintenance/UI
cost or that have only minor benefits.

gnome-terminal is much more of a compromise; it's loaded up with geeky
features and not so good for general users. The idea being that
terminal users are relatively into computers. But I'm not that happy
with gnome-terminal, it's too complex for general users, and not as
featureful as multi-gnome-terminal and other alternatives for users
who love complexity.

Anyway, it's a hard choice. You just have to decide up front what your
goals are, and then stick to them. If people don't like your goals,
they can write their own browser, even using your code to do it. Or
use another browser. Let them. You are not obligated to make everyone
happy, because making everyone happy isn't even possible.

Have a vision - design by committee is no good.

Personally I would do what you want to use yourself. If you want to
use the highly configurable geeky browser, then write that. Trying to
write something else will just strip all your motivation.

I can tell you that I'm hoping to see either Phoenix or Galeon 2
replace Mozilla someday as the Red Hat Linux default. I'm waiting to
see if either one comes out less bloated and confusing than Mozilla


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