Timeouts in message boxes

Olaf Jan Schmidt ojschmidt at kde.org
Thu Oct 7 21:04:52 BST 2004

Hash: SHA1

Hi Adriaan!

Thanks for your reply and for considering my accessibility concern.

I am not familiar with the technical side of your patch, so I cannot 
comment on it. Waldo done had so already, so I did not feel the need to 
say any more things about something I don't know enough about.

My area of knowledge is accessibility. Please note that usability and 
accessibility are related, but not identical. I am subscribed to 
kde-core-devel to comment on possible accessibility problems for disabled 

We are currently very few people in the KDE Accessibility Project. This 
means we cannot deal with all accessibility issues ourselves, but rather 
need the other developers to help us by taking possible accessibility 
problems into account. The reason I replied to your mail was that 
timeouts are a typical accessibility problem and I wanted to make sure 
more people are aware of this. It was no objection to your code or to 
your application. Sorry for causing this misunderstanding.

Peter Korn wrote a reply to my mail to the kde-accessibility lists with 
some suggestions on how one can deal with timeouts in an accessible way:

Could you check whether the suggestions are applicable in your case? Is it 
possible to reset the 30 second timeout whenever a key is pressed, for 
example? But I agree that your case is a special one indeed. The Palm 
Pilot is not the most accessible device.

You cc'ed kde-usability rather than kde-accessibility. I am quoting your 
fuill mail so people that are only subscribed to kde-accessibility don't 
miss it.


[Adriaan de Groot, Donnerstag, 7. Oktober 2004 21:23]
> On Thursday 07 October 2004 13:04, Olaf Jan Schmidt wrote:
> > [Adriaan de Groot, Donnerstag, 7. Oktober 2004 00:45]
> > > I need a KMessageBox with a timeout
> > What do you need it for?
> Thank you for completely ignoring the technical issue at hand, which is
> the exec() in the KMessageBox methods. However, your question is a valid
> one, which I shall address.
> The situation is that during a Palm Pilot HotSync, we may need to query
> the user about certain actions (eg. delete the entire database).
> However, while the connection exists we are also draining the
> handheld's batteries, so this is not a query we can just leave up
> forever -- something needs to be done, and within a resonable timespan.
> (The handheld times out and the sync fails after 30 seconds _anyway_,
> so we need a response from the user before then, or otherwise we can
> just take down the query again, knowing that the sync has failed).
> > Is there no other solution rather than a timeout?
> Given the context - Palm Pilots, with their fiddly buttons,
> low-contrast screens, etc.  - I have my doubts that  a 30 second
> timeout is going to be an insurmountable usability problem when the
> entire ergonomics of the device isn't.
- -- 
Olaf Jan Schmidt, KDE Accessibility Project
KDEAP co-maintainer, maintainer of http://accessibility.kde.org

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