[Usability] Are the gnome-terminal's Profiles really necessary?
- From: "Dylan McCall" <dylanmccall gmail com>
- To: usability gnome org
- Subject: [Usability] Are the gnome-terminal's Profiles really necessary?
- Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2007 12:43:44 -0800
Hello Usability people!
I am thinking of Gnome-Terminal not just as any terminal, but as the default terminal; the terminal we generally anticipate people to be using when they are new to the GNOME desktop; I am
thinking of it as
a power-user terminal, for which Profiles have many reasons to exist.
With that in mind, I will start my quick ramble. It is common for a program in GNOME to be configured via Edit -> Preferences. However, the terminal, of all things, considers itself different. Instead, we have Profiles, and every profile has its own preferences. For a terminal that should really be simple to operate, that strikes me as over-engineering that ultimately leads to a usability issue.
First off, Profiles in the menu does not in any way demonstrate its purpose to the user. (Which is simply to change program preferences). Furthermore, even after opening Profiles, the dialog continues to make little sense. Many users would find this section daunting, since it gives something completely unlike any other Preferences dialog in GNOME, and, judging by button arrangement (New on the top, Edit below that), it is encouraging the user to add a new profile! The recognizable icon on the Edit button is just about the only hint that this is the right place. Other than that, there is no real hint as to what is going on.
Having preferences profiles strikes me as very unnecessary here. Don't get me wrong, I see the benefit of changing some behaviours of the terminal for certain uses, but "most users" (assuming the average user, some day, is not tech-savy) are not going to care. The same could be said of just about any other program here, though. We could have multiple profiles for the colour scheme preferences in gedit, so that I can change them depending on what time of day I am working. I think that horrifying thought brings to light how unnecessary profiles are in the terminal, as well; they clutter the interface and are unexpected.
Having said all that, preferences profiles could be a really cool thing to have. Perhaps they would be a nice addition to gconf, along with a clever panel applet to swap profiles on the fly.
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