James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at acm.org
Thu Aug 26 00:41:55 BST 2004

Aaron Seigo wrote:
> Hi all...
> yesterday we had a lengthy and very productive BOF to discuss the creation of 
> a new set of KDE development-related guidelines. 

I see problems with the user interface design, icons, and styles.  It appears to
me that it won't be of much help to produce User (Human) Interface Guidelines
that specify the use of "magic buttons" and hidden configuration options that
confuse users and Guidelines for artwork that specify low contrast bluish icons
containing no black or dark lines (icons that have little information according
to classic information theory and are, therefore, not easy to see) and busy
styles (with signal to noise ratio issues) that are not easy to use.

So, the important issue is to establish what the usability mistakes are before
guidelines can be written to prevent them in the future.  After it is determined
what these usability mistakes are, it is probably more important to correct them
than to write guidelines.  But, if guidelines are needed as part of the process
to fix the problem, then that is what should be done.

And, yes such guidelines are needed and it would have been a good thing if they
had existed before some of the recent usability "improvements" were implemented
and before the Crystal icon theme and Keramik style were implemented.  Actually,
we have icons guidelines, but some of the Crystal icons that have too much
detail (e.g. Krita), and therefore have low usability in small sizes, were still

The major problem is, are the developers that implemented these serious
usability mistakes and those that produced the Crystal icons and the Keramik
style going to be willing to produce guidelines that recognize that mistakes
were made and that they need to be corrected.


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