RFC: System Settings categorisation overhaul

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at kde.org
Sun Oct 4 01:09:13 BST 2009

On October 3, 2009, Darío Andrés wrote:
> > i'm not saying it couldn't be better, but let's be sure it gets done
> > better instead of trying and running the risk of probably ending up with
> > another not- great arrangement.
> That's why we are discussing it here, to come up with something
> better, which should be easy and discoverable.

kde-core-devel is not a good place to find out how average computer users 
perceive hierarchies of data that reflect the technical details of the system. 
it's probably one of the worst, actually, because it is populated by deeply 
advanced users who know all the details from the inside.

> If it is done properly, it should help us to get something better; and

i don't actually share the same confidence :)

> the "relearning" process should not hurt at all.

it does hurt. every time we change this structure, we cause problems for 
users. we hear about it. and it's the kind of problems that are really hard to 
justify. it doesn't really provide any new advantage to these people, it just 
discards their hard earned knowledge and exchanges it for another arcane set 
of hierarchical modules.

(and yes, search is a far better approach here :)
> > "Plasma Containments" is two jargon words put together. we should not be
> > using jargon _anywhere_ in our UIs that the average user is meant to go
> > through. in this case the name should be "Desktop Activities". it's a
> > moot point in thi case, though, as this panel doesn't belong there at all
> > (unless it's something other than what the name suggests?)
> Agreed. (I never liked "Plasma Containments", but it was the first
> name that come to my mind to describe it, sorry about that)

what settings does this panel contain?
> > what's the difference between "Connections Manager" and "Connection
> > Settings"? what "Resources" are being "shared"?
> "Connections Manager" is just a dummy group for NetworkManager/WiCD ,
> as I don't have such KCM I don't know how to group them nor name them
> properly.
> "Connections Settings" is the former "Network Settings" , proxy and
> other connection preferences, timeouts and so on. Ben pointed that it
> would make sense to merge this into "Connections Manager"..

probably; use testing would help us with that.

> "Resource sharing" should be "File sharing"

probably a bit better; user testing would help us with that.
> > is "Multimedia" really hardware?
> "Multimedia" includes the Phonon KCM which is about configuring audio
> and video output and settings, that kind includes hardware
> configurations ("to which speaker should X category sounds be
> played..."). but it is not strictly about hardware.. Where would you
> put it.. ? could it fit on "Workspace"?

i don't think so as it isn't exclusive to the workspace. my point here was 
that it's ambiguous, and so we really need to test this on actual people.
> > would it make more sense to have Workspace / Applications / System
> > instead of Personal / W & A Behaviour / Hardware?
> Yes, as I said before it would make sense. The problem could appear
> when defining which settings is from Applications, which one is from
> Workspace and which one could be related to both.
> About the last category, are you suggesting to merge "Hardware" +
> "System Administration" ?

perhaps; it would require user testing. :)
> > i really think this needs to be done with a greater amount of usability
> > input and principles applied and with subsequent rounds of testing.
> Agreed. Should we redirect this to kde-usability ?

yes and no. yes in that kde-usability is the right area, and no in that we 
really shouldn't be discussing this on a KDE mailing list, we should be 
testing people.

these kinds of tests are actually pretty easy to do compared to other kinds of 
usability research. we could each go out and test 3-5 people and have a great 
sampling. Celeste could help set up some of the parameters. i think card 
sorting would be perfect here.
Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
GPG Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA  EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43

KDE core developer sponsored by Qt Development Frameworks
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