Importance of UI

The place to bring up any design issues, or post your own creations

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Read first, then answer: Do you agree with me?

Yes
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No
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Total votes: 47

Crappish
Posts: 92
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Location: Tampere, Finland

Post by Crappish » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:35 pm

First of all not meaning to bash you but all of the stuff you are talking as UI design seems to be merely GUI. UI design includes lots of other things even though GUI is one of the most important parts of it. It is important to understand and to keep these two separated as mere GUI design would still lead to "design as you go" solution.
Not directed to anyone specific

However, couldn't resist throwing my 2cents in and created a draft for the start menu. (Even though designing GUI piece by piece is not good for the overall design)

Image

As the two column start menu seem to create quarrel I created kind of a hybrid of those two. From top down (- {item name}: {things in the submenu}):
- Username, Help button
- The list of recent applications used
- My Documents: Recent files, Browse my files
- My Computer: Browse my computer, Printers, Control panel
- Network: Recent, Browse network, My shares, Network settings
- Search: Recent, Search
- Run: Recent, Run...
- All programs
- Power off (maybe add Log off, too tired to add that anymore)


This way both, old and new startmenu users should feel like home. I did put lots of stuff to i.e. My Computer but that's just because those things are seldom used.

mf wrote:Well, it could just be my humble opinion that they're not rocket science. To any other man ASM might be the easiest thing on the planet. Still there's 500-page thick books about it :) Personally, I think most has been said and done with regard to UI, and it's just a matter of choosing a "best of both" approach when looking at previous designs.
Not meaning to bash you but.. Boy, you really are out in the woods with this. Why do you think there are companies spending vast amounts of money in UI design if it would be that simple?
Last edited by Crappish on Tue Oct 11, 2005 3:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Can't provoke anyone? Why bother posting?

Stead
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Post by Stead » Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:22 am

I just have to add my coment about the xp start menu, i thin the double pane has its uses, however, i'm not a big fan of it, and i'll tell u why! (i sound so posh to me right now! or stuck up whatever :p)

but, i have my start menu at the top, i find it much easier, its what i'm used to, however i do hate the way the 2 pane startmenu has the programs at the bottom of it, i find the grouping of most recent programs or most common very useful, i've had ago at windows blinds too, and that has a nice feature on some skins, the second colum just shows the icon, so it doesn't take up to much screen space, and you can have all the second colum, stuff appear as menu's instead of having to click on them, not sure if that makes sence or not tho.

anywho, i guess i'm just hoping microsoft reads this thread and puts an option to put the all programs start menu item at the top, like on the class menu, it seems much easier to find things, an option in reactos to be able to define the order of all of the start menu not just the programs would be nice :)

hrmm think i've gone into a bit of a rant there! sorry!

Duck
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:44 am

My two cents..

Post by Duck » Tue Apr 05, 2005 2:07 am

I Agree with Crappish, UI design goes much deeper than most people realize.

I think in order for reactos to be sucessful, a thorough evaluation of the best UI available in various OSs must be made.

Reactos should learn from xp, OSX, Linux Distros, BeOs... Im not saying we (i feel close to this project already ;)) should make a soup with all those concepts, i say we should avaluate every possibility and then sintethise (dont know if its written like this) the best concepts into a UI that felt somehow ethereal. For that to happen a very consistent ui is needed and i dont feel XP has that kind of feel. Novice users feel good because they are slow but as they start picking up speed the windows UI bottlenecks become obvious.

To make a good UI we can pick up where windows is and make it better. To make an exellent UI we just have to take a broader view.


Well, im writing in circles already... Think about what what you use the computer for and then think why do you have to know "C:\Documents and settings\userblablabla\blablabla\blablabla\xptoz\..." what does this have to do with the tasks you want to perform??? I think at least crappish will know what i mean

Sorry for the badly written English...

Floyd
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Post by Floyd » Tue Apr 05, 2005 6:44 am

crappish wrote:First of all not meaning to bash you but all of the stuff you are talking as UI design seems to be merely GUI. UI design includes lots of other things even though GUI is one of the most important parts of it. It is important to understand and to keep these two separated as mere GUI design would still lead to "design as you go" solution.
Not directed to anyone specific

....

Image

....
I agree that UI design is more important that just the GUI. but it seems to me that many people treat the end user as an afterthought or think everyone has the same level of competence as they do. a good GUI can reduce manual sizes by massive amounts.

;-)

I like the design you show here, my only change would be to have the recently run programs be a cascading menu rather than stacked initially but that is mostly from my hatred of huge start menus (or panels for that matter). Actually the designs shown here show thought about of what a user has to deal with (and that's good!).
pax mei amici amorque et Iesus sacret omnia

Bond007s
Posts: 58
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Post by Bond007s » Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:33 am

Image

Correct Me if I am wrong, nobody seems to enjoy this type of design. Forgive my picture I did some redesigning and well take it for what it is worth. I did it quickly...

Crappish
Posts: 92
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Location: Tampere, Finland

Post by Crappish » Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:59 am

Floyd wrote:I agree that UI design is more important that just the GUI. but it seems to me that many people treat the end user as an afterthought or think everyone has the same level of competence as they do. a good GUI can reduce manual sizes by massive amounts.

;-)

I like the design you show here, my only change would be to have the recently run programs be a cascading menu rather than stacked initially but that is mostly from my hatred of huge start menus (or panels for that matter). Actually the designs shown here show thought about of what a user has to deal with (and that's good!).
Exactly. That is one of the things I'm trying to explain here. In perfect world properly done UI would require no manuals whatsoever. Even though we do not live in perfect world we can still strive as close as possible of that design and that is not something that you can just slap together. Basically, for that, you'd have to know the basics how human mind works, and what happens in different situations. Like recognition, for example. First we recognise colors, then shapes and then the specifics. Take icons for example, they have made the usage of, properly designed, GUI much faster than basic text buttons. Why? Because we recognize shapes and colours faster than text. The difference isn't big when measure recognition of one button but since UI is usually controlled by buttons the margin starts to show when you measure task performance.
Now, when I'm referring that it is good to know the theory behind UI design, I'm talking about recognition etc. And recognition is only small part in the game we call GUI.. which is small part of UI design.
Again, not directed to anyone specific. Just trying to make a point. :)


Duck: The problem here is that ReactOS aims to be "another Windows" and such can't have completely original UI etc. It does have to follow certain ground rules Windows has set in order to be usable for Windows users. There is of course few things that can be done but basically it's all about following the same path that Windows has gone and softening few curves here and there as it goes past.


Offtopic, why in the hell the : ) smilie has it's mouth open in phpBB!? I'm making a smile, not laugh. In certain situations laugh can be offending and smile can be encouraging. So why is it making me laugh if I make a smile. :? Stupid little things...
Can't provoke anyone? Why bother posting?

mf
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Post by mf » Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:26 am

crappish: most people smile with their teeth bared. This smiley does too :). (I don't, since I never had braces so I tend to hide my crooked teeth)

Funny that people mention GUI design as being a "small part of" UI design, since ReactOS is so bound to Windows conventions, meaning we can't change much more than the very outer shell. If you want to go reinvent UI wheels, check out SkyOS. ReactOS however, has the driveletters, the windows, the executable files, and a basic "should work similar to" expectance that makes it impossible to change much more than the thin outer GUI layer. Personally I think the most interesting UI challenge is making coLinux and the Win32 subsystem integrate seamlessly, but it's kinda early to be thinking about that right now.

@crappish
That start menu is sorta nice, but what's new? To me it just looks like a stretched (lots of useless whitespace) classic start menu with some extra menu items. There's no overview, grouping, or other such essential GUI elements. You have put in emphasis though, but in rather odd locations. The help button is in an interesting location, but it implies help about using the start menu and doesn't at first glance suggest help using the OS or its programs. Also Run is back to being a regular menuitem, instead of a handy inputbox where you can directly type the location. There's also unused space next to "Power Off", which could be used for MadRat's suggestions such as Lock Screen or Log off.

Crappish
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:26 pm
Location: Tampere, Finland

Post by Crappish » Tue Apr 05, 2005 10:26 am

Hmm. Interesting. Just noticed that the Start menu, which I posted, is not he one there was supposed to be. That's the first draft I made... Forgot to upload, it seems. (That's what you get when you do stuff right when tired) Oh, well, I'll upload it when I'm back at my apartment.

(Few changes that the real version has: Printers submenu of My Computer, Search and Run are on their own rows, both have extendable recent menus. The arrow is taken away from recent applications.)


mf wrote:crappish: most people smile with their teeth bared. This smiley does too :). (I don't, since I never had braces so I tend to hide my crooked teeth)

Funny that people mention GUI design as being a "small part of" UI design, since ReactOS is so bound to Windows conventions, meaning we can't change much more than the very outer shell. If you want to go reinvent UI wheels, check out SkyOS. ReactOS however, has the driveletters, the windows, the executable files, and a basic "should work similar to" expectance that makes it impossible to change much more than the thin outer GUI layer. Personally I think the most interesting UI challenge is making coLinux and the Win32 subsystem integrate seamlessly, but it's kinda early to be thinking about that right now.

@crappish
That start menu is sorta nice, but what's new? To me it just looks like a stretched (lots of useless whitespace) classic start menu with some extra menu items. There's no overview, grouping, or other such essential GUI elements. You have put in emphasis though, but in rather odd locations. The help button is in an interesting location, but it implies help about using the start menu and doesn't at first glance suggest help using the OS or its programs. Also Run is back to being a regular menuitem, instead of a handy inputbox where you can directly type the location. There's also unused space next to "Power Off", which could be used for MadRat's suggestions such as Lock Screen or Log off.
You can change alot in the UI design and still have it behave like Windows.

To the comments:
Like I said, the concept of being "another Windows" forces the UI to keep conventional feel of things. The "classic look" guarantees that regular windows user will feel like home and can work with the OS out-of-the-box. The "how much new" factor isn't that important, the "how well it behaves" is much much more important.
crappish wrote:- Power off (maybe add Log off, too tired to add that anymore)
I don't think the Lock Screen get's that much use so that's why it isn't there. I do realize that it is important feature, specially in companies but since it get's hardly no use for regular users I would still keep it behind ctrl+alt+del, where it still can be accessed in a matter of seconds.

The rest of you comments I just don't get. "No overview and no grouping"? Also, could you point me to the place where I want to reinvent the UI? I have always said that as ReactOS aims to be "another Windows" and should be handled as such.
- "Run is back to being a regular menuitem, instead of a handy inputbox where you can directly type the location", I hope you are aware that regular user do no type the location of a file, they use the browse button.
- "You have put in emphasis though, but in rather odd locations", and where do you think the regular user goes most? To My Computer or to My Documents?


Those smilies don't have teeths. :o :) :D :lol: They all use the same white for expressing the mouth. At least I get the impression that the :) -smilie is laughing, or at least going to. But I guess that's just me. Enough of the pointless offtopic.
Can't provoke anyone? Why bother posting?

mf
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Post by mf » Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:49 pm

@crappish
You suggest you want to reinvent wheels by constantly stating the difference between GUI and UI. Again, the basic UI is already expected to be like Windows, so all we can change is the outer GUI. It is either this or your border between GUI design and UI design is an odd and irrelevant one. The more you say about it the more I'm guessing towards the latter.

I realize people use the Browse button (I forgot this in my own design), but I also realize that the input box remembers ALL applications you have run from the Run dialog from weeks back (something "Recently used application" can never accomodate enough space for), easily selected from the pulldown. Also, users are "alienated" from the Run dialog because it is sort of hidden away. When it's in clear accessible view they might be more tempted to use it, and easily get a knack at using it. When I have fixed other people's computers I have often been asked what it is I do all the time in the Run dialog, and usually when I explained it (for instance how you can type "not" and have it autocomplete to "notepad", for super fast access), they were intrigued and started using it themselves. These are users that can't install their own antivirus utilities. Underestimating the average user is just as well as overestimating the user, a commonly made mistake. Also, at least for the coming 2 years, the "target group" for ReactOS are experienced users. It is important to gear it towards that, at least for now. And well, if you don't understand overview and grouping... Just look at the XP Start panel. Programs are grouped left, folders, functions and settings are grouped right. You have programs at the top and at the bottom, and the settings and folders are illogically grouped.
Anyway, gotta run! I'm already late by writing this post ;).

Crappish
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Location: Tampere, Finland

Post by Crappish » Tue Apr 05, 2005 2:06 pm

Sigh. I'm getting tired of this... If you necessarily want to go to the flameout then go ahead, but don't think I'll follow you there.

Why is it that you keep assuming weird things? I.e. Why shouldn't the standard Run -dialog remember the applications it has run before?

Let me just tell you this. If you start building the software for experienced users it is going to stay that way, it is after all open source software. You'll have hard time explaining why certain things should be simplifyed instead of more options and power. You'll just end up having it all Linux -like; millions of options and every now and then someone writes completely standalone wizards for it which doesn't follow the basic UI at all etc.

And, I have said it before and I say it again. UI != GUI. FYI UI design starts from code level, around error handling. If you think that you can't change anything between that and GUI then I suggest you go and read a book about UI design...

It is getting tiresome to keep always running to same mobsters who know everything about UI design and have decided that they know better than anyone, i.e. Nielsen. (And yes, I have seen people arguing with eyes wide open that they know it all better than Nielsen.)

This always get's to this. You want to discuss about UI design and then someone comes along and throws in mockup of part of GUI. Then another makes a mockup. Enter argue and flameout.
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Duck
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OK, improve win then

Post by Duck » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:36 pm

Its clear this os cant be radically different from xp in terms of UI. But we can extend microsofts os functionality... right?

Here are my own ideas...

Improve error handling
keyboard Shortcuts should folow win but lets not be fundamentalist. if it can be done better, the power user should adapt a it
Mouse gestures, tabs
(imagine if you could throw files or opened windows against one of the laterals of the desktop and the file remained there as a tab)
better search method. Itunes way of finding music files for example. the search content appears as you type...
We sould have something called shelf (where u put the books) in the desktop.maybe a tab. Imagine you are working on a text file and you want to put it some place else than the desktop but it has to be at hand... throw it into the tab and the file stays there until you need it. simple.
better handling of multiple opened windows on desktop like the macOs do (ever heared of winplosion?) http://www.winplosion.com/
option to color label files like macOS
this kind of stuff would improove win without changing the essence of the existent ui.

Well, if you guys just cant agree on things at least think about the worst parts of windows ui and write them down. Thats were Ros can already start working.
This way work will flow and maybe the more ambitious stuff can be left to Ros2. (Hoping ros 1 gets uop)

I think its harder to improove on the User Interface after all the work is done but Sometimes improve a design is a better option than making big changes too fast...

Crappish
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Post by Crappish » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:44 pm

Oh but.. Surely you can't change the UI as it must be like Windows. You can only touch GUI!!1
Duck wrote:better search method. Itunes way of finding music files for example. the search content appears as you type...
Sadly, this can't be done with the way the files are currently handled. For this ROS would need database driven FS or at least some way to index all files in real time.
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mf
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Post by mf » Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:17 pm

crappish, if you don't want to be flamed, then don't post hollow things. You haven't been able at ANY SINGLE TIME to give me a textbook definition of the term "UI Design" and where it differs from "GUI Design". You've just been running around shouting that it is different. I agree that it's different, but I cannot associate it with the points you bring up. I can easily understand why that could degenerate into a flamewar. Usually when one side isn't able to justify their argument it turns into hollow name-calling as the other side grows desperate.

Allow me to simplify how communication between us goes:

Me: *brings up a point about GUI design*
You: "GUI Design is totally different from UI Design!!"
Me: "I agree, but how does that relate to what I said?"
You: "You don't understand! Go study!"
Me: "Eh?"
You: "This is turning into pointless conversation!"
Me: "Er?"

I appreciate your extended knowledge in this field, where I am limited (since it is only one of my minor interests, where I know for instance more in the field of video engineering and image filtering), but PUH-LEASE, motivate your arguments! I can not and will never understand the things you say unless you do that. Enlighten a mere mortal such as I!

MadRat
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Post by MadRat » Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:34 pm

1. I liked the tabs on Windows, like in BeOS or ZETA OS. Having colored tabs rather than strictly yellow would be an improvement. Mac OS 8 played around with something like this if I remember right. And being able to drop one window onto another - and detach upon a whim - would be pretty interesting. The Window manager should handle windows independent of the program running.

2. Some more ideas for the GUI, allowing the ADMIN to view terminal sessions that are active on the machine BUT the default is locked to user i/o from the k/b and mouse. In the upper right corner of the Desktop could be a lock/unlock to allow for Administrator control. The hierarchy to rights ownership/control of the Desktop should be ROOT USER/SYSTEM, LOCAL ADMIN, DOMAIN ADMIN GROUP, LOCAL ADMIN GROUP, POWER USER, then LOCAL USER. That way a ROOT USER could kick off Domain Admins, but the Local Admin group would defer to the Domain Admin group, and so on. Stays consistent with MS.

3. Detachable systrays, one that could be thrown to the top of the screen would be nice.

4. Floating quicklaunch/office bars would be nice. The choice between small icons, docked bar, etc. would allow a wide range of possibilities.

5. The ability to SU from any desktop would be nice. The entire desktop should be controlled by the SU account, but other desktops should remain with the original user account. Basically on the SU the original login should be suspended and the new login (not always a ROOT USER) would take control of the Desktop session.

Treating desktop sessions as completely independent sessions might allow for people to do what someone else mentioned, where one screen using 100% of its CPU resources would not affect another Desktop.
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Mammlouk
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Post by Mammlouk » Tue Apr 05, 2005 6:05 pm

It seems to me that what Crappish is sort of hinting at is that the UI can be changed extensively, but the GUI is where only minor changes should be made to keep inline with windows. I may be way out in left field on this one though so feel free to correct me :)

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