open tasks, jobs, unmaintained stuff, etc.

Boudewijn Rempt boud at
Fri Mar 5 19:46:11 GMT 2004

On Friday 05 March 2004 20:23, Aaron J. Seigo wrote:

> there are some options that are simply inane, like the variable hide button
> size. it's used by remarkably few people, but those people are rather
> attached to the ability to make it a few pixels wider or narrower. i'd love
> to deep six that control out of the main panel, but don't want to leave
> that minority of people who use it in the lurch.

And how do you know? There are five people living in my house -- me, my wife 
and my three pre-teen daughters. We all have different sizes for that button. 
Rebecca wants them big, and easy to hit. I like them small enough that the 
ugly arrow doesn't show, unless I happen to have my panel transparent. Menna 
and Naomi and my wife each have a different size, for different reasons. And 
_I_ am the only 'geek'  (although I've never bitten the head of a life 
chicken, so I had labelling myself like that) in the house.

> transparency is a hack, and a bad one at that (no bash on those who did the
> transparency support, but X isn't exactly friendly in this situation). i'd
> love to see such horrid hacks be distanced from regular users. it performs
> poorly, it isn't perfect, etc... it doesn't belong in the main interface.

And again, it is used a lot.

> there are also a few "hidden" features that don't appear in any GUI, such
> as being able to turn off the dividers in the kmenu. they'll never appear
> in any GUI as long as i maintain the kicker kcm, so kcfgeditor is a step up
> there.

Pity you are the maintainer, then, because it's something that two out of 
three daughters have asked me how to achieve. ("Dad, now there's suddenly 
these stupid things in the menu that you cannot click. Can't you make them 
disappear?" "Sorry, daughter, that's a divider -- new feature, supposed to be 
easy for non-pogrammers. Don't know how to make it go away, there isn't an 
option for that I can find.")

> there are some "advanced" features, which is to say features that are not
> often used or used only by power users, that won't (again, at least as long
> as i maintain that KCM) be removed. e.g. showing the left/right hiding
> buttons will remain.

Why, thanks -- one must be grateful for ones blessings, no matter how small. 
Also Menna's thanks. Not a power user, and only 8 years old, but happy when 
she discovered she could have only one hiding button, on the top of the panel 
she had put on the right-hand side of her screen.

> it's all about using common sense and deciding which options are inane, too
> buggy/hacky, cater to an extreme fringe, etc ...

No -- it's about what you think that's commons sense, masked by posturing 
about what you think a majority users should like, but which you don't have 
any hard data for.

> zack's choice of "power user" and "normal user" in this case are, IMHO,
> very poor phrases to have used in the context of this discussion, since it
> really isn't about "power users" and "normal users" as far as i'm
> concerned.

It should be about empowering every user -- including the users people 
normally call 'power users'. Anyway, messing with configuration options has 
nothing to do with usability. People moan about config options on websites 
like OS News, but from my own observation, 100% of children under ten years 
old like messing with config options to see what happens better than playing 
Klickety, and 100% of bored office workers rather mess with config options, 
especially for gui things, to see what happens than read the Onion for the 
second time.

Real usability is not surprising people: about consistent keyboard shortcuts, 
never changing the location of a menu option, never crashing, never making 
fonts disappear, always having the same mdi interface out of the box, using 
the same toolbar button icons, not placing awfully similar toobar buttons 
like 'find' and 'zoom' right next to each other. And not alienating your 
existing user base by dis-empowering them.

Boudewijn Rempt |

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