Re: [Usability] Possible UI Freeze Break in Clearlooks

Moved to usability@, as we're not discussing documentation any more. :-)

On Feb 17, 2007, at 12:04 PM, Andrea Cimitan wrote:
Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt myrealbox com> ha scritto:

On Feb 15, 2007, at 1:04 PM, Andrea Cimitan wrote:
I have personally had difficulties in reading previous checkboxes,
while these new one are cleaner and much more visible. (So why not the
word "better"?)

"More visible" is a simple objective measure -- people can calculate it themselves, by number of pixels and amount of contrast.

There are other things that you can calculate only by surveys or usability tests, though you can sometimes *predict* them yourself. These include "quicker", "more elegant", "less confusing", and so on.

"Cleaner" is not a useful term, because it has many different meanings, even when you're talking only about graphical interfaces. For example, it can mean using fewer controls, using fewer words, having more elements line up with each other, having less obvious anti-aliasing, or using more consistent colors -- all quite different things. The word "clean" is often used by non-designers describing a design, because it means they don't need to work out exactly what they like about it.

"Better" is a fair term only if you are confident that all the effects are positive. With these checkboxes you had improved one measure ("more visible"), but probably worsened another ("more confusing").

In what way, precisely, is a cross better than a tick? If the concern
is with the number of different pixels between checked and unchecked
state, there are less confusing ways to increase that -- such as
extending the checkmark beyond the box, and/or changing the
background color of checked checkboxes. (Yes, I know, Aqua does both
of those, but there are only so many ways to draw a checkbox.)

We can simply take the tick back with the new color. I agree that
people may confusing between cross and ticks.


Every single improvements is a cool stuff.

Even if a particular change is an improvement, it may have other effects: requiring retraining of corporate users, requiring new screenshots in manuals and help pages (how this thread began), and even increasing support calls. (I can quite easily imagine calls of the form "When I click the XYZ box it doesn't tick any more, it gets a cross in it, how do I get it to tick?")

Remember that a theme is composed by a lot of single little stuff, so
an improvements in checkboxes is as good as an improvement on buttons
or other widgets.

That depends on how frequently the control is used (a change to sliders is less important than a change to buttons, for example), and on how big the change is.

(At the theme level, "new cool stuff" would be things like a rounded
button option so that media players could be both theme-compliant and
non-ugly while making Play larger than Rewind;

mmm this is a tweak of the mediaplayer code, they have to change
propreties of glade GUI, for example tweaking padness of the play

They can't do that until there is an option for circular buttons in the first place.

It's my understanding that GTK+ buttons have a "Half" relief option, which is currently unused because no theme distinguishes it from "Normal". Would it be possible to redefine "Half" as "Circular", to draw it like that in Clearlooks, and then to invite media player developers to start using it? Or should it be supported officially in GTK+ first?

sliders that looked like sliders instead of like sticking plasters;

please specify i haven't understand what you mean and i would
very glad to implement those improvements you have n mind.

<> The current shape, outlines, and texture of Clearlooks sliders make them look like sticking plasters. The outlines also make the three sections look like they have different functions, when they don't.

In other OSes, sliders have a single outline and are much more compact in the sliding direction (so that the visible position is more precise). In Windows, a slider without tick marks is a rectangle; in Mac OS X, it is a circle. (Sliders that point to tick marks are shaped differently, but as far as I can tell GTK+ doesn't have such sliders yet.)

animated feedback on which item had been selected from a menu; and subtler control outlines that made the theme in general look less like a cartoon.)

specify too... my english is not very good I haven't understand your
specific idea

Okay. Animated feedback for menu selections means that when you choose a menu item, there is some visual confirmation of which item you selected. In all versions of Mac OS, the selected item flashes once or twice before the menu disappears (this takes about 0.25 seconds overall). In Windows 2000, the menu fades away, but the selected item fades away more slowly than the rest of the menu (this takes about 0.5 seconds overall).

Looking less like a cartoon would mean that controls look like real objects (made of metal, glass, plastic, wood, fabric, paper, etc), rather than like drawings. Active controls should still have sharp outlines, but the outlines should look accidental -- a fortunate lineup of the object's edge with the pixel grid -- rather than like they have been drawn with a pen.

Matthew Paul Thomas

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