[Usability] GTK+ at the UX Hackfest


We had a GNOME Usability hackfest last week in London, and a couple of
TODO items, and questions cropped up which I thought I would share.

For all those tasks, if resources are scarce to get the work done, I
think adding those as ideas for the upcoming GSoC 2010 would be good,
once technical requirements have been discussed.



Having often used widgets in GTK+ means that we reduce differences in
appearance and behaviour between applications and make applications
easier to maintain.

If the APIs are carefully thought of, usability and design changes can
be made without touching the applications.

A couple of widgets were mentioned:
- a sidebar widget (which I never followed-up on):
- a breadcrumb navigation widget (which could be used in nautilus, the
file chooser and yelp, for example)
No bugs filed, Cody will be working on filing a bug, and start
discussions about the API soon
- Segmented bar? It's used in Rhythmbox, Banshee, the Ubuntu installer
and could probably be used in others
There's a C version in Rhythmbox now:
- Others?


Just a couple of opened questions:
- GTK+ 3.0 theme. How final are the widget set used in the various
mockups that were posted during the UX hackfest? Cody mentioned that
this is something he might be able to allocate some time for. Thomas
Wood might be able to help (though he was non-committal when we
mentioned it during the hackfest)

A couple of examples:
http://jimmac.musichall.cz/log/?p=946 (lower down the post)

- OSD icons/symbolic icons
For a variety of reasons (which are best explained by people that aren't
me) we'd like to switch to using symbolic icons instead of colourful
ones in the notification areas, and OSD popups.

The notification area icons might also end up being used as the "Label"
for menus. In such cases, it would be nice if the OSD icons could use
the same properties as text itself (change from black to white when
hightlighted, in the default theme), and symbolic colours in GTK+ themes
could be used (so that red means warning in both icons and in other
places in the UI)

Jakub dropped a mail to Bedhad about making those SVG icons as
first-class "fonts" in pango/fontconfig, though I don't know whether
this would be the best technical way of achieving those goals.

The problems are Colours, and Sizing.

Some examples:

- a11y instant-on (if not instant-off)
a11y is enabled in applications when the XSettings mention that the GTK+
modules should be loaded. We could make GTK+ programs instant-apply the
XSettings (what applications would be breaking? Could we whitelist a11y
to be the only one auto-loaded? Can we make the change for GTK+ 3.0?)

The other problem is that application need to initialise themselves, and
register with the at-spi bus to appear in things like screen readers.

Could somebody with more knowledge on the subject tell me what changes
would be necessary for a11y to become instant-apply?

Instant-load/unload of the GTK+ modules in the XSettings sounds like
something we could be doing for GTK+ 3.0.


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