[Usability] Re: [Desktop_architects] Printing dialog and GNOME


On 12/13/05, Mike Shaver <shaver mozilla org> wrote:
> But if it Just Works, then users don't have to go in there until they
> are into the (possibly-perpetual) "intermediate" stage.  You can use
> a biohazard symbol next to the Edit->Preferences menu item if you want.
> Is user adoption being hampered on a large scale by a lack of print
> options, or the polish in those print options?  It seems like an odd
> thing to spend a lot of energy on, but I will freely concede that I
> have spent very very little time studying barriers to Linux desktop
> adoption.

I think some of what I'm trying to express is in line with what you're saying:

 - my big question on the PPD stuff would not be "is there an advanced tab" but
   "is there anything important that's relegated to the advanced tab instead
   of being somewhere better" - who really cares if there's an advanced tab

 - the idea with metacity was *not* to avoid having a huge prefs
dialog; the idea was to have
   the defaults be such that many people wouldn't need to go into the
prefs dialog.
   I took an inflammatory approach to this, because I felt that open
source developers
   would never code anything the "hard" way if they could just stick
in a pref as a workaround
   (e.g., if you take a patch to add a "lines in the compose box"
setting, you will never
   get the patches for "open in new window" or "automatically resize
with the browser"),
   but that was just my personal tactic since I like to stir shit up.
   This is why I bounced a lot of patches that *added a pref*, vs.
bouncing patches that
   *exposed a pref in the UI*, two subtly different things.
   I'd claim that my approach did work for getting quite a few "fix
the root cause" patches
   and bug reports I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, but I admit it
had the downside of
   pissing people off. So, something to be learned from that experiment.

 - I don't think it matters much that Firefox has a lot of prefs or
not. I do think it matters
   what's on the default toolbar, and that it has popup blocking and tabs.
   Extensions are a nice release valve, very smart.

> (If you're after the enterprise route to adoption, though, I'd
> suggest putting "usability" on the back burner in favour of
> administration tools and checklist features, jammed in at whatever
> pref-panel complexity is required.  The competition in that space is
> not successful because of great usability, possibly because the
> people who make the purchase decision are not the people who use the
> purchased product all day.)

I agree completely, this is in line with my experience. Designing for
enterprise purchasing committees results in horrifying software, but
said software sells better to enterprises than what I would call
"good" software. "good" is a relative term and sometimes Sarbox is
more important than whether I want to stab myself in the eye while I'm
using an application ... ;-)


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