[Usability]Re: Pointer shape in terminals

Hi Tony,

I should like to express my happiness with the I curosr and mention a pointer feature I have yet to see implemented on a production system (maybe for a good reason, I don't know). You may have see Triumph of the Nerds by Bob Cringely, a tv documentary about the birth of the PC. If you watch carefully when he is explaining about the Xerox Alto, it shows the mouse moving over the screen when the text is selectable, but not editable, e.g. terminal, the cursor is an arrow, but the line that the arrow is on has a vertical bar ( | ) at the start, to show the user which line the cursor is over. As the cursor moves up and down the page so does the line ( | ). Perhaps the use of something like this will help?? The use of a tiny little bar in the middle might also help people to realise what line the cursor is on, without needing a moving bar at the start of the line.

I hope my discussion helps your thoughts on this subject.

Mark Pawson.

Message: 1
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 00:14:36 +0100
From: Tony Houghton <gnome realh co uk>
To: usability gnome org
Subject: [Usability]Pointer shape in terminals

I recently posted about this in gnome-devel-list, and after a dialogue
with Havoc it became clear that I should discuss this more widely before
doing anything like submitting a patch. No further discussion developed
on gnome-devel-list, so I thought I'd try here.

Basically, I dislike the way the pointer changes shape to an I when it's
over a (gnome-)terminal window. In some applications it serves a useful
purpose, eg in a browser window, not all the text can be selected, so
having the pointer change shape is a handy indicator. But in a terminal
window, all the text is selectable, and the user should realise that, so
IMO it doesn't serve a useful purpose for terminals. I realise
consistency is desirable, but there are disadvantages to changing the
shape which I think outweigh the case for consistency.

The main disadvantage I see with the I shape is that there's no visual
active tip, making it hard to be sure you're selecting the right line if
performing cut & paste. Less importantly, I find it harder to see the I
shape against text than an arrow (maybe dependent on colour scheme). But
maybe having a less bold pointer is a good thing, making it easier to
see the text you're selecting?

I thought it would be a good idea to have an option not to change the
pointer from its arrow shape, but Havoc brought up the possibility that
if it's found that a significant majority don't like the I shape, it
should be removed altogether. And if it is made an option anyway, which
should be the default?

An alternative could be to have a different pointer shape, one that
gives an indication that the pointer is over text, but still has a clear
active point.

TH * http://www.realh.co.uk


Internet access plans that fit your lifestyle -- join MSN. http://resourcecenter.msn.com/access/plans/default.asp

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]