Re: [Usability] Modified Documents

On Thu, 16 Sep 2004, Calum Benson wrote:

> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 11:40:20 +0100
> From: Calum Benson <Calum Benson Sun COM>
> To: robsta stereolyzer net
> Cc: usability gnome org
> Subject: Re: [Usability] Modified Documents
> On Thu, 2004-09-16 at 12:25 +0200, robsta stereolyzer net wrote:
> > As not even core applications like gedit are conforming, i'm
> > wondering if this is still an encouraged practise.
> > In fact, i can't remember seeing any app doing that.

Hi Rob

Rob (robsta) for those of you who haven't been introduced yet, is doing
some great work for Abiword at the moment.

Abiword probably (definately) put the dirty marker * at the end of the
filename because Microsoft Word did it that way, and the developers are
probably used to it at this stage.  (Bizarrely enough I did a quick
checked Microsoft Word (Office 2002) and Wordpad on Windows XP and there
didn't seem to be a dirty marker anymore.   I dont see any dirty
indicator in Writer either.)

If an application allows the full file path and filename to be shown
(instead of the normal Title and or filename) the developer must be
careful that the * actually gets shown and not shunted off the end
of the title bar where cannot be seen which can happen quite easily
with a long file name and an unmaximized window.

Different filenames mean that the dirty marker * will be in a different
place each time, putting it at the start as suggested means you can look
for it in consistantly in the same place which seems like a good idea to
me.  So just tell Dom you did it because the HIG[1] says so :)

On a slight tangent I wish more applications allowed you to configure what
gets shown in the title bar.  Certainly the HIG specifies a sensible
default, and it doesn't make sense to burden most users with unnecessary
visible configuration options.  However some applications also allow the
user to have other useful information in the title (like the Zoom level)
which is extremely useful if you want to turn off the status bar and make
the most of the limited screen space.

> It was a guideline that was only introduced in the 2.0 version of the
> guide, and unfortunately we haven't yet done a very good job of
> highlighting to developers the key changes/additions that they should be
> aware of (Seth told me he'd written such a document, but I didn't see it
> published anywhere).  This is certainly something we need to do better.

It would also help if there was some way for comments and semi-irrelavant
metadata to be kept on the pages.  if it was possible to find out more of
the rationale behind the Guidelines it would be easier to justify when to
follow the guidelines and when to bend them (although given some time I
can usually quite happilty make up arguements for and against most things
in the Guidelines).

Usability in Gnome has come a long way, now some people are dogmatically
even following the HIG and not being flexible and when users request new
features there is a tendency to claim that everything would be more
"intuitive" that way (i think users used to say how much poweful or
featurful things would become).


Alan Horkan

* this is not a footnote, the asterisk is the 'dirty marker' used to
indicate that a document has been modified.  :P

[1] this is a footnote.  I've taken to referring to the HIG as simply the
Guidelines or the Gnome Guidelines because acronyms are not very user
friendly now are they?

Alan Horkan, Usability "making it up as I go along" guy.
Not currently employed/employable, Ireland.
+ 353 1 269 .... I dont particularly like phones either.

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of the Gnome Community

> Cheeri,
> Calum.
> --
> CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
>             Java Desktop System Group
>                      +353 1 819 9771
> Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems
> _______________________________________________
> Usability mailing list
> Usability gnome org

[My silliness is merely a reflection of the fact that I've got an exam
tomorrow which I am dreading (I am crying on the inside) and had a minor
accident earlier today and it still hurts]

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