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
43
91%
No
4
9%
 
Total votes: 47

Crappish
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Post by Crappish » Mon May 02, 2005 9:02 am

That would require two bars, wouldn't it? One for the shortcuts, another for open applications.

For time being, I would keep the one bar style, just because it is the windows way. Perhaps later on we could make native UI for ROS but, at least for now, the basic framework should be windows like. Now, that does not mean that there is no room for improvements, they just need to be able to live on windows-like framework without bringing it crashing down. :wink:
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cuppm
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Post by cuppm » Mon May 02, 2005 4:01 pm

crappish wrote:
cuppm wrote:What about doing the start menu as a collection of tool bars...
Could you be more specific? Screenshot perhaps? (doesn't have to be all fancy-pansy, as long as it provides all information required)
No screenshot, I don't have any place to post it if I did.

I guess I'm thinking of something similar to the toolbars in something like Office. Where you can turn toolbars off and on and they have different types.

An item is either a link or a folder. It has a description and icon (the standard thing).

A toolbar would be collection of items in a panel. The user would be able to add items to the toolbar either as a link to an app, a folder, or a predefined item (control panel, shutdown, etc.). Then the toolbar items could be displayed with or without text and with a large icon or small icon. See the IE customize toolbar dialog to have kind of an example of what I'm thinking.

The start menu would then be a collection of toolbars that can be arranged in any order with or without dividing lines. The toolbars would be displayed in a stack like bookmarks and can be ordered in something like the manage bookmarks dialog of Firefox. The start menu could also have other options like on what side to display the start menu header (the thing that displays the operating system and or logged in user).

Crappish
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Post by Crappish » Tue May 03, 2005 8:35 am

That's an nice idea for customizing but, like always, there is a BUT...

Some level of customizing is good, of course, but the fact is that people feel more comfortable with some level of control, boundaries. Now, when we let user customize everything they possibly can they can make the GUI anything they like BUT at the same time we are making them feel less and less that they are in control. Also, if we design UI that is fast to use and is very usable and let users customize everything and all they possibly can, what's there to assure that they just don't make everything less usable and eventually become frustrated of all the options. (Users rarely know what eventually is any good to them. Sadly.) The user don't necessarily have the knowledge of UI design that we have.
Users will base their choises on subjective evaluation/feeling which seldom is accurate measure of usability/efficency. Hence, there should be some enforcement of certain rules.
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rastilin
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Post by rastilin » Tue May 03, 2005 9:37 am

I see no reason to restrict features on the basis that some hypothetical users would become "intimidated".

Conversely the default setup has to be usable and comprehensive. I don't fancy the idea of spending a sizeable chunk of time reconfiguring my start menu every time I reinstall.

Crappish
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Post by Crappish » Tue May 03, 2005 10:36 am

It is no hypothetical user, it is an proven fact. You don't have to take my word on it, you can go, say Nielsen or Tognazzini on that too. (Or just about anyone at Nielsen Norman Group)

"Users learn quickly and gain a fast sense of mastery when they are placed "in charge." Paradoxically, however, people do not feel free in the absence of all boundaries (Yallum, 1980)."
- Bruce Tognazzini

The thing you have to remember is that you might enjoy the constant tweaking of your UI but at the same time you must remember that you belong to marginal group of computer users.

And of course the default should be usable and efficent. It should be usable enough that the user don't have to make any modifications to gain speed. However, in the eyes of efficency and usability, endless comprehensive is not an good thing. It makes the memory load of user much bigger, which then slow the user down. The key here is to make it efficent and usable. Those things has to be dealt with if we ever want to compete with windows.
The way I see it, it should not be made as Linux, from power users to power users, but as power users reaching out for regular users. In the end, that's the place where the real power lies. If ROS can get to the hearts and minds of regular users the changes of becoming something and actually surviving increases dramatically.

And still, this does not have to be any restrainer to power users, if made correctly.

Could you tell me what you do to your start menu after you install your Windows? Perhaps an screenshot would do? Have you ever considered the fact that even with all the tweaking, chances are that you are still going slower?

The general consensus is that everyone thinks they are going faster with their tweaks, however stopwatch will usually tell the different tale.
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rastilin
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Post by rastilin » Tue May 03, 2005 12:55 pm

Image

As you can see I do absolutely nothing, I believe the original Windows default works fine.

To be honest I don't really mind what happens, if the default GUI works ok then I won't bother editing it. It might help you to understand me if you knew that I believe that the desire to customize and personalize software and goods in general shows that you feel inadequate about your own personality and uniqueness. Especially since most of the customizations look terrible, simple and sleek is best.

I'm aware of what tweaking does for speed, I've been tweaking my computer long enough to know that pretty much every tweak in existence either does nothing or results in a negligible performance difference and causes numerous bugs and incompatibilities. To that end I simply remove Windows components with nlite and install off a cd-rw that weighs in at about 220MB.

Crappish
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Post by Crappish » Tue May 03, 2005 1:57 pm

Ok. That's nice to know. :) And nice to see that there is people who realize the inevitable: The tweaks seldom makes you go any faster. You might feel like it but the stopwatch usually tells different. This is why I would like to concentrate to the basic UI and usability, at first, and later on add more customisation options, if necessary.

The way I see it, concentrating on designing and creating unified and efficent UI before actually adding any customisation options should make the UI better. (Consistency and standards) Random points rarely form clear picture. Customisation options could be added later on, if necessary.

And, of course, to make my point: "Ease of use is made by the absence of power" - is a myth. Both can be achieved, although it is not easy.

Also, one thing that must not be overlooked for is help system. Well written, clear, helps and documentation are one of the fundation stones of good UI. Not to mention good implementation of help system itself.
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cuppm
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Post by cuppm » Tue May 03, 2005 8:31 pm

crappish wrote:That's an nice idea for customizing but, like always, there is a BUT...
True. I know when I get tons of options I feel intimidated at making changes until I have time to read everything about them and understand them. So would the answer be to provide them with a "Set to Default" button? That way they can mess around all they want and just click and get back to the standard format.

I guess I see it as ui tweaks don't nessicarly improve system performance so much as get rid of my annoyances. If I can remove things or reorder them slightly, I'm a much happier user.

MadRat
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Post by MadRat » Tue May 03, 2005 8:38 pm

I've been toying with all of the MSC and CPL files in XP. Its great that they came up with common control centers, like the Security Center (wscui.cpl) and Compouter Management (compmgmt.msc), to make jack-of-all-trades applets. I think the idea can be furthered by including system control centers, network control centers, etc. Rather than twenty-five items in the control panel, the control panel could be shaved down to around eight.
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Crappish
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Post by Crappish » Tue May 03, 2005 9:13 pm

cuppm wrote:True. I know when I get tons of options I feel intimidated at making changes until I have time to read everything about them and understand them. So would the answer be to provide them with a "Set to Default" button? That way they can mess around all they want and just click and get back to the standard format.

I guess I see it as ui tweaks don't nessicarly improve system performance so much as get rid of my annoyances. If I can remove things or reorder them slightly, I'm a much happier user.
Of course the user has to feel that he is in control, the annoyance will be as big as with endless amount of options. The keyword here is autonomy. Without control autonomy can't exist. Control from both sides.

Also, the "Set to Default" -button has to be there, after all it is one of the foundation stones of good UI:
"User control and freedom
Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue.
"
-Jakob Nielsen, Heuristic evaluation

Although something like "Restore Initial Settings" would be better as it would actually tell the user what the button does.
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MadRat
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Post by MadRat » Tue May 31, 2005 5:54 pm

How about the new cleaned up look of the GUI?

Image
Last edited by MadRat on Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Blaskowicz
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Post by Blaskowicz » Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:00 am

rastilin wrote:Image

As you can see I do absolutely nothing, I believe the original Windows default works fine.

To be honest I don't really mind what happens, if the default GUI works ok then I won't bother editing it. It might help you to understand me if you knew that I believe that the desire to customize and personalize software and goods in general shows that you feel inadequate about your own personality and uniqueness. Especially since most of the customizations look terrible, simple and sleek is best.

I'm aware of what tweaking does for speed, I've been tweaking my computer long enough to know that pretty much every tweak in existence either does nothing or results in a negligible performance difference and causes numerous bugs and incompatibilities. To that end I simply remove Windows components with nlite and install off a cd-rw that weighs in at about 220MB.
and here is mine
Image

I like the start menu better with just a bit of customization (had to take out the useless "Documents" and "Help" with TweakUI)
I use a small program called "Start Killer" :D (what remains of the "start button" is clickable, on the most outer left)

multi desktop done with Virtuawin, which is GPL

(no, I didn't pay $3000 for the OS)

having some checkboxes somewhere to turn off unneeded stuff is simple and nice enough :)
even only deleting the useless microsoft shortcuts on top makes the start menu looks much better in my opinion :)

as you can see, I found a use for the favorites menu, one-yearish ago (I was typing directory pathes in the run dialog before..), that improved a lot the use of the windows GUI for me.

mf
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Post by mf » Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:03 pm

rastilin wrote:It might help you to understand me if you knew that I believe that the desire to customize and personalize software and goods in general shows that you feel inadequate about your own personality and uniqueness.
While that may be the underlying motivation for most customize freaks, it doesn't have to be that way. As intensive Windows user for over 10 years, I can tell you the default interface does bore after a while. And moving extra mouse miles over that menu feature you never use, makes you want to get rid of it after a few years. After all, you never use it. And skins start getting this fresh appeal too. Currently I have my main workstation skinned, and my secondary workstation in windows default. That way I enjoy optimal variation. Prettifying it too much can get distracting though, since I often spend seconds admiring my visual style, hampering productivity :D.

MadRat
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Post by MadRat » Thu Jun 02, 2005 6:33 am

It would be nice to see a battery icon to the immediate left of the systray. The icon and a simple percentage (0-100%) would be sufficent to show remainder of battery life.

Also, it would be nice to see a simple icon link to the default email program between the battery and the systray.

A third icon for graphically displaying the processor load - which also acts as a link to the task manager - would absolutely be icing on the cake.
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mf
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Post by mf » Thu Jun 02, 2005 12:22 pm

All that you ask can be done by using system features, power management does the battery thing, and you can set taskmgr to start up minimized at system startup, so it shows in the systray. The icon sorting might be a little harder, but that's simply a case of implementing the option to allow the user to sort systray icons manually (powercfg.cpl always on the left, for instance).

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