Re: [Usability] Right-alignment of labels

On Fri, 30 Dec 2005, Joachim Noreiko wrote:

> Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 11:51:06 +0000 (GMT)
> From: Joachim Noreiko <jnoreiko yahoo com>
> To: Gnome usability <usability gnome org>
> Subject: [Usability] Right-alignment of labels
> Whether to right-align text labels was recently a
> topic of discusssion here. [1]
> Was a decision taken on this in the end?

Far as I am concerned Right Alignment should almost always be used with
only very rare exceptions.  No change there.

Others feel differently.  The exceptions in guidelines are so big you
could drive a truck through them.  As Matthew Thomas (mpt) effectively
claimed the guidelines can be read in such a way as to allow you to do
whatever you want, but I believe this goes against the spirit of the
guidelines although admittedly it often difficult to figure out the
nebulous intentions of the original authors.

> I ask because the proposed changes to the Nautilus
> file properties dialog switch the labels from
> right-aligned to left-aligned. [2]
> [1]
> [2]

How can we expect anyone to follow this guidelines if Nautilus declines
to, and guidelines no one follows very quickly become worthless.  There
are places where the old design may have followed the guidelines too
rigidly and I believe there is room to design a better dialog within the
constrainsts of the guidelines.  (The use of bold labels seems over
zealous, if I recall corrrectly they are not intended for all
labels just headings.)

Please do not use left aligned labels.  Please do keep trying.

I'm quite interested how the properties dialog in nautilus looks so
different from the properties dialog for a shortcut (launcher).
The suggested design reminds me a little of the Get Info dialog in Mac OS
(eqivalent to properties) especially with the icon on the top left.

=== Permissions: chmod a+r ===

Please make sure the permissions are labelled
All Others (Any others?)

If users ever go on to learn the underlying commands it could help
avoid some confusion and help them guess the difference between
chmode o+r and chmod a+r.  Ideally we can guide users with little hints
without necessarily exposing them to excessive implementation details.

Who are the target users of this dialog and what are the expected use
cases?  With such information we would be better able to optimize the base
case (make the basics easy) and make sure we also provide enough control
for advanced users in some other way (make the difficult possible).

I expect the biggest use case might be making sure a file was
readable by others, especially files in a web folder.

Perhaps the number view and text view information might be better
presented in some other way?  The special flags are interesting but
certainly not self explanatory and I wonder it the current design is
perhaps too heavily influenced by chmod.

Tough problem to solve, especially since many people will have opinions on
it.  I would urge the developers to test new designs as best they can
before committing to a new design (on ordinary as well as heavy users).

Best of luck and Happy New Year.


Alan Horkan

Open Clip Art

Alan's Diary

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