Re: [Usability] Discoverable off-screen window dragging

Cc'ing gnome-accessibility-list too...

On 28 Nov 2007, at 23:23, Hans Petter Jansson wrote:

I've been discussing accessibility/usability with visually impaired
users lately, and one thing that came up, and that I believe to be
low-hanging fruit, is the problem of windows being bigger than the
screen in one or both dimensions.

This happens frequently for visually impaired users, since they
generally have very large fonts.

I was told by one user that the way he worked around this was by going
to the control panel, choosing a smaller font temporarily, moving the
window, then setting the big font again. Of course, he was very happy to
hear about the alt+drag shortcut.

Which made me wonder if there's a more discoverable way of moving
windows around when they're too big/partially off-screen.

One idea that came up was automatically adding scrollbars to the
windows, but I don't see how that could work reliably, and it would
clutter the screen and be error-prone/hard to do technically.

A better idea might be something like the following logic in the window

IF window is focused AND
   pointer is pushing against the edge of the screen AND
   window has area off that edge of the screen AND
   user is not dragging
   move the window in the opposite direction of the edge being pushed

So e.g. if you have a focused window which is partially off the
right-hand side of the screen, and you push your pointer against that
side, bumping into the edge, the window will move to the left until you can see its right-edge frame. The rate of movement would be equal to the
number of pixels the pointer "wants" to move off-screen at each
increment. Only the focused window would be affected.

I think this would be a lot more discoverable and useful for everyone -
not just visually impaired users - and it looks like all the required
information is available to the window manager, so it shouldn't be
terribly hard to implement.


Hans Petter

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Usability gnome org

CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson sun com            GNOME Desktop Team             +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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