Re: [Usability] Mezzo interface [was Re: nautilus ... ]

On 14/07/05, Alan Horkan <horkana maths tcd ie> wrote:
> On Thu, 14 Jul 2005, Diego Moya wrote:
> > The Mezzo desktop is a GUI proposal to achieve these objectives:
> >
> >
> I still think this idea is a load of Pants (Nat Friedman wrote about it in
> his journal months back) but I suppose I should give it at least download
> and give it a try before I dismiss it entirely (I've been wrong before
> sometimes minor improvements do turn out to be a huge help).

The "Incredible shrinking icons" panels could be that minor "big"
improvement, it feels much much better than the unfolding submenues,
which are too hard to use and yet the main entry point of current

> For anyone interested in trying it out for real the ideas of Mezzo have
> been implemented as Syphony OS:

Symphony OS is in alpha release so I find it, well, too alpha to give
you an accurate idea. In it's current form it doesn't resemble at all
what the feeling of the Mezzo mockups should be - the special areas
are empty and can't be easily filled with content, so it's unusable.

> I'm pretty sure Mezzo would only serve to move the mess from my Desktop to
> my Documents folder but it could be an interesting novelty.

I find the separation of the Desktop content into five areas (four
corners + desklets) quite useful in that regard. Actually Ubuntu has
arrived almost to the same solution with their separate action-based
"Apps, Places, System" menu.

Those seem to be the relevant actions of current educated computer
users: launch dedicated working environments (i.e. main applications),
launch transient applications (desklets), find content (document
search & browsing), and configure the computer settings & peripherals.
Having a separate place for each of them seems an improvement over the
30-years-old "desktop as universal container" metaphor.

> > Several of these ideas could be implemented in Gnome through special
> > menu-like applets.
> In a neat bit of cognative dissonance I have to say despite not liking the
> idea it doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see applets that made it possible
> for Gnome users to try it.

That's why I'm suggesting it to the list. The Mezzo concept is too far
away from the standard Gnome to make it the default, but it could be a
good replacement in "naive users" targeted distros.

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