Re: [Usability] Usability Digest, Vol 33, Issue 9

On Sun, 7 Jan 2007, Ethan Anderson wrote:

> Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 14:48:59 -0600
> From: Ethan Anderson <ethana2 gmail com>
> To: usability gnome org
> Subject: Re: [Usability] Usability Digest, Vol 33, Issue 9
> Can this software

When you say this software I assume you are talking about Gnome rather
than any specific application.

You may have gotten Gnome from a distributor such as RedHat or Novell and
some questions are better directed to them or perhaps your local linux
user group.  This list is not intended for general questions but rather
improving the usability of Gnome.  I do not know you personally or your
techinal background so these answers may not be at the correct level, it
is hard to know if my answers are likely to be too simple or far too
complicated.  Your questions seem like they might be relevant so I will
try to answer them as best I can.

> put window controls on the left or bottom sides of windows?

When you say window controls I assume you are referring to the buttons for
things like Maximize, Minimize, and Close.  While there is no easy way to
put these controls on the other side of window I'm sure it is
theoretically possible.  I should point out that themes do make it
possible to adjust the order and position of those controls but I'm fairly
sure you would need to get down to a lower level to make more drastic
changes as you seem to be proposing.

> What If I speak/read a language that has vertical text?

Do you?

I dont know as much about those languages as I would like but I believe
they tend to accept a lot of the layout as is rather than putting a lot of
effort into inverting all the layouts.

See for example

See also Red Flag Linux, a successful Chinese distribution

> What if I like to keep as many control mechanisms as possible near the
> bottom of the screen?

Gnome tries to provide the best defaults for the most people possible,
and although flexibility is important the design is intended to be as
simple as possible and not overwhelm ordinary users with too many
However the source code is freely available and all kind of radical
modifications are possible in theory at least, although you would want to
know quite a bit about programming or have a developer interested in
helping you.

> I had to choose the top of the screen due to how windows are almost always
> set up, but it would have been better if I had actually had a choice.  I
> know, most ppl don't care, but for a more efficient user session, it's best

Now I wonder if you are talking about the Gnome desktop panels, one of
which usually contain a list of currently open applications.

If you could clarify your question and perhaps explain which distribution
you are using (RedHat, Ubuntu, or something else?) perhaps I could be of
some help or direct you to the right place.


Alan Horkan

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