Re: [Usability]Galeon 2 usability

<quote who="Ricardo Fern?ndez Pascual">

> I'm witting this mail on behalf of the galeon team. There has been a lot
> of discussions in the galeon-devel mailing list about several items
> related with usability. We want to know the opinion of the members of this
> list in order to take good decisions about the future of galeon.


> - menu layout: Many old galeon users like the old menu layout of galeon 1
> more than the new layout of galeon 2, which is more simple and tries to
> follow the HIG. Many options are missing in the new menu.
> Specifically, there is no "Settings" menu in galeon 2 (the "Preferences"
> menu item is in the "Edit" menu). In galeon 1 there was a "Settings" menu
> with that menu item and some often toggled options (like javascript,
> java...). It made those options more easily reachable. The question is if
> they should be so easily available or it is better to keep the UI simpler.

The Settings menu items in my Galeon 1.2.x:

  Load Images >
  Animate Images >
  Proxy >
  [ ] Use own fonts
  [ ] Use own colours
  [x] Allow Java
  [x] Allow JavaScript
  [x] Allow popups
  [ ] Work offline

I think most of these settings change things for which 'the damage is
already done'. Java, JavaScript, popups, images... If something breaks or
looks funny, the damage is already done, so changing an option here doesn't
help a lot.

'Work offline' and perhaps the proxy settings are probably the only ones I'd
keep, were I choosing. :-) (If we had a cool location/sessions kind of
setup, you could just switch proxy settings with it, kinda like Mac OS X.)

> Galeon already has configurable toolbars. I has been proposed to allow
> several different menu layouts.

Good lord, that's fighting fire with fire! Users could simply add these very
specific settings toggles to their toolbars if they wanted speedy access to
them. You'd have to be very choosy about the settings that you'd offer as
toolbar buttons, but I think all of the settings in the existing menu would
be reasonable -> just not on by default. :-)

> - preferences: there are many missing preferences in galeon 1 when
> compared with galeon 2. This annoys many users. It has been suggested to
> provide two different "Preferences" dialog, one simple default and another
> for "Advanced" users.

That was a nightmare with Nautilus, I wouldn't recommend it to the authors
(they'll have to maintain and support it), or your users (they'll have to
learn the concept, and why they can't find a specific preference because
it's hidden in their user level).

> Examples of removed prefs are: mouse button bindings, mouse wheel
> settings, autocompletion behaviour, default stylesheet...

If you want to make an omlette, you have to break some eggs. :-)

(Default stylesheet may be an issue for accessibility, not sure. If you care
to maintain the functionality of the others, leave a few GConf keys for
advanced users.)

> - gestures: galeon 1 supported gestures. This added some preferences to
> the already crowded dialog. Gestures were not enabled by default because
> they conflicted with the standard context menu. Should gestures be kept in
> galeon 2? Should they be enabled  by default?

They seem to be a bit of a fad feature, but if you're going to keep them,
why not add a little gestures widget next to the throbber? Then users can
click-n-drag from there. Might be a good compromise for the context menu
problem at least.

Anyway, all of the above is very specific stuff that you guys need to deal
with as appropriate to your users and your aims. If those aims have anything
to do with getting into the GNOME Desktop release, your users may change a
bit. :-)

> - mime handling: galeon has a small separate mime database which is easier
> to edit and works well for galeon.  It remembers previous user choices and
> fallbacks to gnome-vfs when possible.  Also, some people think that users
> should be able to choose the helper used by galeon without affecting the
> gnome-vfs mime database.
> The disadvantages of using only gnome-vfs would be:
> 1) Global effect of changing a default helper
> 2) Fact that you have to go out the gnome-vfs control panel to change
> them.

(Galeon should just point to this for configuration.)

> 3) Useless defaults in the database.

(What are these?)

> This would be implemented using a dialog with "Save", "Cancel" and "Open".
> "Open" will use gnome vfs to choose the helper

I think that if you can't rely on or use gnome-vfs for whatever reason, then
we have to fix gnome-vfs. Galeon shouldn't have to implement its own mime
data stuff. We should fix it with your help, to raise everyone's boats.

> One possible solution for this is to allow having two separate UIs that
> the user could choose toggling a gconf key or command line switch.

Sweet baby Jebus! </homer>

> We would like to avoid this solution for maintainability reasons, but so
> far it seems the only way to avoid a fork.

A fork? Is someone seriously threatening to do this?

How about a pesky analogy? :)

Galeon is like a cruise ship headed for Tahiti. It's bright and warm, people
are sunbaking, playing quoits and generally enjoying themselves. This is the
journey. Tahiti, our destination, is the GNOME Desktop release, and Galeon
is cutting a fast track over the high seas towards it.

But then, someone realises that their cruise is headed for an island
paradise with coconuts and palm trees, and has second thoughts about the
whole journey thing. So, they leap on the nearest life raft or dinghy and
start paddling home to, I don't know, Wisconsin, or Canberra, or some place
you couldn't paddle to anyway, even if you tried. [1]

There would be nothing cooler than seeing Galeon in the GNOME Desktop
release... Ideally, it should be a matter of "two great tastes that taste
great together". To do that, it needs to fit in with GNOME's general UI and
audience goals, be maintainable... and have a vision.

The fact that you guys are looking seriously at your user interface, and
making some awesome improvements is very encouraging, but you need to know
where you want to go... Look at the new GNOME Desktop, metacity and even
Phoenix (competitor alert) for examples of this. Galeon's original vision -
"the web, only the web" - is a great vision to start with (or perhaps get
back to).

So, if someone thinks they're macho enough to row their own dingy to
Wisconsin, so be it. It's a shame they didn't like the cruise, but they'll
probably be happier at home anyway (should they make it). Everyone else, in
the mean time, is... Going to Tahiti.

Enjoy the quoits, ;-)

- Jeff

[1] Literary evidence notwithstanding.

   I must be getting old... Buying toothpaste with gel in it is no longer   
                           an Absolute Necessity.                           

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