Gábor Lehel illissius at gmail.com
Wed Nov 9 16:00:30 GMT 2005

While I haven't participated in any "previous discussions", user
levels, in my opinion, wouldn't work because:

- Most users have no idea what level they belong to, having no point
of comparison -- for a very mundane example, it's like being given the
number '500', and asked to guess where it lies on a scale of numbers
whose boundaries you are not told.

- They also have no idea what the difference will be if they choose
one or the other -- and so the only way they can be sure they chose
the right one, is to try both. Not convenient. (And if they are brave
(or reckless) and just choose one and stick with it, they will be left
with a nagging feeling that maybe it was not the right one.)

- People are not uniformly 'beginner' or 'advanced' in every territory
-- someone may, for example, just want to do simple emailing with no
greater UI requirements than an edit box and a 'send' button, but by
some unlucky twist of fate have to use some special encryption or
something -- they would then either (a) be inconvenienced by having to
use the 'expert mode', or (b) choose 'beginner mode', not even realize
the capability is available at all, and give up.

- Even if a user manages to accurately identify whether they are an
expert or a beginner, what they get may the opposite of what they
wanted -- the general train of thought here seems to be "for expert
mode, clutter the UI", whereas, for example, I have Opera configured
with exactly 0 toolbar buttons, as I use keyboard shortcuts and mouse
gestures exclusively, and would not be pleased to suddenly have 10
'expert toolbars' full of stuff I won't ever use. (Whereas,
conversely, in another application where I haven't learned the
shortcuts, such a minimalist setup would be rather inconvenient - so
generalization is just a bad idea in general.)

So, to summarize, while the problem is "some people want advanced
settings to be shown, others don't" and the immediate answer seems to
quite logically be "so let them choose!", actually doing so would, I
think, end up being wrong in just about every way. Unfortunately,
there doesn't seem to be any sort of magical fix to obviate the need
for thoughtful UI design.

(However, note that I rather emphatically don't disagree that things
like setting custom colors and fonts and whether your 'i's should have
a dot on them, per application, is pretty superfluous -- it should be
sequestered off to a seperate part of the config dialog where it won't
get in people's way or (in warranted cases) removed. A technical
solution might be having a unified method for applications to override
global settings (perhaps integrated with KConfigXT), and apps could
choose individually whether to expose it in their UIs (but it would
available in the rc files regardless), but as I don't have any
immediate plans for implementing it, this is likely a moot point.)

On 11/9/05, Olivier Goffart <ogoffart at kde.org> wrote:
> Le Mardi 8 Novembre 2005 11:14, Stephan Binner a écrit:
> > User levels don't work, see previous discussions. Citing such reports as
> > argumentation for it is poor and doesn't change this fact.
> Each time someone suggest that, here or on kde-usability, there is someone to
> say "it's bad, see previous discussions" and that's all
> But what are the "previous discussion" you are referring to,  have you a link
> or something that could let me know.
> First, "user levels"  should be defined.
>  1) is it different UI depending the level ?
>  2) different default option depending the level ?
>  3) putting all avanced option in an advanced tab ?
>  4) or removing all the option to put them in another hiden application
>      (KTweekUI / GConfEditor / RegEdit )
> I think that it has been said, on "previous discussion" that #1 is bad,
> because it doesn't let the user the change to evoluate progressively.
> For the same reason, i think #4 is bad too, and even, the setting is more
> difficult to find, outside of the application.
> But the #2 (which is, if i understand correctly, what has been suggested in
> the original post)  looks verry fine
> Personaly, i like the #2,  but i am strongly against #4

Work is punishment for failing to procrastinate effectively.

More information about the kde-core-devel mailing list