Re: Message Boxes / 5:3 Ratio

Vlad Harchev wrote:

>  In general, user should be able to configure answers to these questions from
> control center (we are not MS to decide something for the user, right?) and
> there should be API for quierying answers to these questions programmatically.
> I think "when uncertain what to choose as default, implement all options and
> let the user to choose default".

This doesn't get around the fact that you still need to provide a
default the first time your user runs the software.  The user shouldn't
feel the need to configure anything like that until they've at least run
your software a few times, because you should have chosen defaults that
allow them to do the basic tasks in a straightforward and obvious way.

> > * when should a gnome app have toolbars and when should it have menus,
> >   and when both?
>  The best answer to this - allow user to select which icons to show on toolbar
> on per-application basis (as KDE Office apps allow).

Again-- you still need to start with something the first time you run
the software, and that 'something' ought to be a well-chosen subset of
the program's functionality.  While your average GNOME user is likely to
be more willing than your average Windows or MacOS user to start
customising toolbars, if a significant number of your users feel they
*have* to do this, you've designed it badly.

> > * should an editor come up with
> >   . a blank screen
> >   . an empty document
> >   . a message saying what to do next?
>  Controlled via gnome control center IMO.

And would there also be a control center option for what every other
type of application should do when it starts up?  Web browsers, mail
clients, MP3 players, even the control center itself?  This would soon
get out of hand, I think...

> > * should messages be worded in passive or active voice?

Active, it's been shown to be more effective.  (Provided you don't try
to 'anthropometrise' the computer's role-- the emphasis should be placed
on what the user is doing, so they always feel in control.)

> > * when editing a document, where should the document name be put? What
> >   about the directory containing the name? What about the modified/unchanged
> >   status indicator?
>  That could be configurable via gnomecc.

This is going to be one hell of a control center... I've only got 128Mb
on my laptop :)  What genuine benefit is there in letting the user
configure this?  Giving the user a choice is fine, but it should never
be seen as an excuse not to bother designing something properly in the
first place.


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

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]