MAY
15
2002

KDE Usability Team Takes First Steps

The KDE Usability Team has come out with the biggest and most visible change yet. Aaron J. Seigo recently announced and committed an almost complete re-organisation of the Kicker KControl module with accompanying updates to Kicker. Illustrative screenshots of this important first step can be found here. For more news of upcoming improvements be sure to check the kde-usability archives.

Comments

At first glance it seems the option to change the hide button size disappeared. It need that!


By Anonymous at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

Good point. I concur.


By ac at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

I actually suggested removing that piece of crap. Choose a sensible size and that's it. No reason to configure things like that. kcotnrol is already full of useful options, no need to add stupid ones.

(If you want, document how to change it in the config files)


By Moritz Moeller-... at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

> I actually suggested removing that piece of crap. Choose a sensible size and that's it.
I don't agree with you. The so called sensible size is very much a matter of taste
(also with regard to having hiding arrows or not).
Cheers!
Beat


By tuxraver at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

In that case they should hide it in an 'advanced settings' dialog with some other minor-tweak options and warn the user that they probably don't want to change these options. Thay way you still have a relative easy way of changing it, but the chances of confusion are minimised.


By Matthijs Sypken... at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

Then why did you make it huge with KDE 2/3 when it was okay in KDE1???? You are to blame for this. It was good then you make it too wide and force everyone to size it down. Now you take away the option????


By ac at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

not every option can be in the control panels; at least not in the main ones. otherwise we will have waaaaaaay too many to EVER have a usable system simply because <1% of users may want to change a certain thing.

there are three options:

1) remove the setting totally
2) remove the setting from the UI, leave support for it in the program
3) put it in an "advanced settings" dialog that you access from a button

in this case i chose #2 since there wouldn't be much else in the advanced settings dialog if i chose #3. you can still set the button width by editting the kickerrc file. but having it in the main UI was crowding things, was not very apparent as to what it did and is a rather non-standard type of setting (where else do you get to set the *width* of a specific button?)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

nitpicky, but #3 would be better


By fault at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

give me 2 more features to put in an "advanced" dialog and i'll do it ;-)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

I'd suggest keeping the size option and incorperating the enable/disable as the as part of the size settingd, by having the lowest setting say "off". As has already been suggested, I'd keep this in an advanced dialog.


By Clint Silvester at Sun, 2002/05/19 - 5:00am

Hi!

This Child-Panel stuff etc. is not very intuitive. Would be nice if all panels share the same config options and dialogs.
But the new dialogs are really an improvement!

Bye

Thorsten


By Thorsten Schnebeck at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

I agree in the Child-Panel, but I think there should be an option to have several Panels, each with their own settings.
One could have no panel or three or whatever.
Ofcourse with an option to use another panels settings.

Thus i could have a K-button just as a auto-hidden button in the bottom-left corner, with red background. (huge panel)
And an centered green penel with Kmail, Konqui, Kate, Kword, Konsole and Mozilla buttons. (large or medium panel)
And a huge panel with red background in the bottom right corner with the clock. (auto-hide)
And then a small panel with taskbar and a system tray at 100% width in the top. This panel also green.

For me now, I have to have a medium green auto-hiding "Liquid-striped" panel with K-button and applications buttons as well as the clock. And the cild-panel with KDE normal colorings in the top with system tray, news ticker and a taskbar.


By Syllten at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

yes, the plan is to remove the extensions tab and treat the extension settings as if they were just other panels (albeit some of them of special types, such as taskbars, kaskbars, etc...)

programmatically a child panel is different than the main panel, but from a user's perspective they are the same when configuring position, etc... so that is how it will be in the control panel.

it just takes time, and right now i'm at a tech conference all day for the next few days (demoing kde! =))


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

I like how KDE is comming along, and it's nice to see that it improves and that things like this is worked upon. I am still not using KDE myself (because I don't have an extra computer that is fast enough to play with it) yet though. Just a little pat on the shoulder and "nice work, keep it up".

About the placement of the kicker. Just a little thought:

In windows (jippie ^_^) you can simply grab the taskbar and move it to where ever you want it. They had a problem that people accidently moved it, so a "lock taskbar" option was added. Pretty simple and easy.

So how about removing the picture of the monitor, put a picture of the current desktop background there instead, and put a little image of the kicker on the small dekstop image. Then make it possible to move it around to which side one wants to (making it snap to the sides, graying it out while moving etc).

The downside one might say is that a so called non-geek wouldn't know how to do it. I'd like to (try) to qoute Einstein here "Make it as simple as possible, but not more so" (I probably got the words totally wrong;)). Moving the kicker isn't the first thing these people will do, so don't try to make the dialog overly obvious. The problem here is that it's a custom control that doesn't appear anywhere else (yet). Is there other similar options/cases when a control such as this is useful? Then it could become much more useful.


By John Gustafsson at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

"" In windows (jippie ^_^) you can simply grab the taskbar and move it to where ever you want it... Pretty simple and easy. ""

This works in KDE as well.


By Jon at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

Ah, even better. Then even the windows-haters will know exactly what I mean and have used it. So in short, the same thing but in miniature;)

Stuff like this makes me wanna try KDE even more. Now for a way to get hold of a machine (I don't dualboot for, well, a bunch of reasons). Unless there is a viable and fairly easy way to get KDE 3.x up and running under windows/dx8.

Ok, now you must be wondering why I want it on Windows. It's because my interest in KDE is purly as a toy to play around with. I have a general interest for desktops etc. This does not mean that I don't think that KDE is a great desktop to use, just that wanna play with it;)


By John Gustafsson at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

Try Knoppix!
http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

Its a great "I-want-to-try-Linux-but-I-dont-want-do-change-my-windows-setup"-distribution. So far its only a KDE-2.2.2 and yes: KDE3 is better, nicer, faster. But it the perfect distribution to test yourself if you like Linux/KDE or not because it does not touch your harddisk.

Give it a try!

Bye

Thorsten


By Thorsten Schnebeck at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

It looks like a nice idea, if it wasn't for the fact that I want KDE3 and the ability to mess around with the code and code new stuff for it. I've used Linux since '95 and know I don't want it on my only fast desktop computer (if nothing else it makes it hard to use Devstudio .NET) as it doesn't offer me anything I don't already have.

I hope this can help others who wants to try it out though. I must admit to feeling a bit sheepish. It was a good suggestion after all. Now I can just hope someone will donate a computer to me or something;)

Cheers,
John


By John Gustafsson at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

"So how about removing the picture of the monitor, put a picture of the current desktop background there instead, and put a little image of the kicker on the small dekstop image. Then make it possible to move it around to which side one wants to (making it snap to the sides, graying it out while moving etc)."

I like that idea... a lot. Then the mini-taskbar could display the effect of the other options in the dialog also. You would have to make sure it was obvious that the mini-taskbar could be dragged around, though. I wonder how the usability guys would feel about that?

BTW, nice job on the new kicker options!


By VegasDave at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

Maybe a simple short text would be enough? For example:

http://forgoil.rsn.bth.se/kde/

(You have to imagine a mouse pointer moving the kicker from top to left. Yes I always have the taskbar/kicker/whatever at the top of my screen, and yes I can't utterly stand gimp which I find a complete pain to do anything with, so you have to look at my horrible HTML + png ;))
((http://www.little-gamers.com <-- that is where the picture is from, it's my on my desktop so I only saw fit that I used that one))


By John Gustafsson at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

while i'm tearing apart the extensions tab, i'll be looking at adding the current background to the monitor (just like in the background kcm). and the other options (length and size) on that tab are shown in that preview. you really have to try it out to get the full effect.


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

There are two things that I would like to see the usability project take care of:

1. Icons: Collect all icon settings in one place (zooming, size, animation, etc.)

2. Fonts: Collect all font settings in one place (including Konqueror's and kdesktop's)

Please.


By Joe at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

In 3.0, I liked that the "Configure Desktop" & "Configure Background" were combined in the root-window context menu (when you right-click on the desktop).

My preference (i'm sure its been mentioned before, but anyway)... still, my preference would be to combine all the "Look & Feel" configurations to one dialog box when you right-click on the desktop.


By Jeff Dooley at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

somehow does not fit-in well... I do not know "( I would say this really need some other idea.


By MPatton at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

I'd just like to say I think the new design is a lot better, its cleaner and easier to use, very approachable and practical, a nice cleanup of it all which was really needed, thank you KDE Usability Team.


By Abdulla at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

the Configuration dialogs are way too big at 800x600 resolution. So, I would appreciate a smaller configuration dialogs which won't hide the 'OK' 'Cancel' and 'Defaults' buttons when not-maximized or maximized.

Especially the "Find File" Dialog box is very big and can't be resized to a smaller size, which is again very user unfriendly.

Theme Manager must include:

1. Style (the theme and style creators have to write shell scripts to install individual themes and styles). it would be wonderful if style be a part of theme
2. Fonts (as a part of theme, fonts will make a nice addition in theme manager).
3. kicker position/configurations (like kicker background, size etc., can also be a part of theme).

thanks...


By Rizwaan at Wed, 2002/05/15 - 5:00am

Everything is very logical and less crammed, very nice.


By Mat Colton at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

Original message by "Moritz Moeller-Herrmann" on Wednesday May 15, @02:27PM:
"I actually suggested removing that piece of crap. Choose a sensible size and that's it. No reason to configure things like that. kcotnrol is already full of useful options, no need to add stupid ones.
(If you want, document how to change it in the config files)"

It is not "good idea" to remove "hide button size" option.
Good idea is to make everyone change everything in their desktop.
Do not limit my/yours/others freedom. It is Windows-way to tweak some things in "registry", not unix. e.g. If you make GUI interface, it must have GUI controls to change something. If you make console-UI (TUI) then it is "o.k." to change something in .conf files.

I hope someone heard me, Thanks.


By me at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

> It is not "good idea" to remove "hide button size" option.

the option is still there. it just isn't in the GUI. you can't have every possible option under the sun configurable via controls in the GUI: it makes for horrendously unusable systems.

more to the point: how much is it really going to hurt you (or anyone else) now that you can't set the exact width of the hide buttons without opening a text editor? is the width of the hide button so important that usability, understandability, the size of the UI, etc, etc should take a hit? or are we being just a bit reactionist here?

> It is Windows-way to tweak some things in "registry", not unix. e.g.

you don't have to change it in a registry, you change it in a text config file. that's VERY unix. if you don't think it is, then you obviously haven't been around UNIX very much (.Xdefaults anyone? ;-)

on the other side of the coin, Apple "Land of the GUI" Computers understands the need to leave out unecessary options from the graphical tools to preserve usability. there are dozens of settings in OS X that you can't set using the config dialogs but that you can via the command line.

so... how about we focus for a second on the fact that with all the room that was bought due to the redesign we now have room for a new (and often requested) k menu item display format: Description (Name)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

A "Show hide button" checkbox is enough IMHO. It's ok to leave the "width-control" in the configfile...


By Per Wigren at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

What I really miss from the GUI, but exists in the config file is an option to hide the handles for tha applets... perhaps this should go into the advanced dlg that Aaron was mentioning possibly creating.


By Troy Unrau at Sat, 2002/05/18 - 5:00am

Hi Aaron,
you are right, it's impossible to include all settings in a GUI. But what about a button to open the config-file (with e.g. kwrite) with all possible settings, so everybody see "there's a lot more power for configuring"???


By Marc Tespe at Sat, 2002/05/18 - 5:00am

I suggest to add some text to the location frame of the position tab. Something like "Click on the rectangle to set the panel's position". It is not obvious out of the box what these frames are for, if you are not familiar with this control panel.

Usually some small text helps to a great extent to understand some feature. Do not hesitate to add some, any clever and usable your layout is.

And congratulation for the good work.


By Philippe Fremy at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

Looks great! I agree with most of the suggestions on this page.

I would really like to be able to edit the K menu (ie application from this dialog). It would be cool if there were a button (called "Edit Menus..." or something similar) on the Menus tab in the K Menu section which could launch kmenuedit. This way you can configure the entire panel from this dialog. Otherwise you have to go to System/Menu Editor in the K menu to edit them (on RedHat anyway).


By Nicholas Allen at Thu, 2002/05/16 - 5:00am

*very* good idea... i'll add it to my notes for the next round of changes. thanks =)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

I really hate the way windows pop up all over the place.
If you open a new message in Kmail it should be centered on the screen, not in the lower or upper corners. You then have to move it to the midddle to work with it.


By Tony Caduto at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

You know that ypu can change the window placement policy, right?


By Moritz Moeller-... at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

> You know that ypu can change the window placement policy, right?
In KDE 2.2.2 (I''m using Debian) you have only Smart, Cascade and Random at disposition, so no centered window placement is possible (something I would like to use as I am also disturbed by having windows popping up un-centered). Question: has centered windows placement been introduced in KDE 3.0 (haven't found an indication in the changelog)?

Tuxraver


By tuxraver at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

Also what about a "Last place I left it" placement policy. I really wish applications would remember where you left their windows last, and what size they were, and return there when re-launched. Subsequent "New Window" type operations could cascade.


By John Allen at Mon, 2002/05/20 - 5:00am

"You then have to move it to the midddle to work with it."

You do? I have no problems using any of the open windows, no matter where they are in my screen.


By Janne at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

You can't use windows which are not centered? Hmm; perhaps you should buy a old and small monitor where this becomes possible. Or simply switch to a lower res. I'm not sure the things you want are usefull to people that actually use their whole monitor..


By LOL at Sat, 2002/05/25 - 5:00am

This is an old post, but I was looking to solve this same problem. I'm using Mandrake 10 with KDE 3.2. There is indeed a Center option now in the Moving tab of the Window Configuration tool.


By matt at Wed, 2004/07/28 - 5:00am

Linux needs a unified help backend system. I constantly find myself using Windows when programming python because of the docs based on the Winhelp system.
As it stands now most docs it’s not much more sophisticated then plain html. Fortunately most new Linux docs are docbook based so the foundation is there it’s just a nice consistent help system with a good search and indexing that’s missing. I know GNOME also uses docbook so maybe a common help system backend could eliminate the need to launch Nautilus when just to view help on a small gnome app in KDE and vice versa.
I’d like to work on this but I’m not a C++ coder but I’d love to help out with other tasks.
BTW. The ability to view man and info pages in kongu kicks ass.


By Fredrik C at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

Download Dox from http://dox.berlios.de, together with the Python
docs there. Then you never have to use Windows again for
programming Python ;-)


By Bernd Gehrmann at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

> Linux needs a unified help backend system.

Debian's docbase... Wheee..


By fault at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

Thanks, I'd like to try it but if it exsists it's sure well hidden. I'm running debian(Woody) and searched the apt-cache, the web site , google and mail list without any luck.
Could give me a direction?


By Fredrik C at Tue, 2002/05/21 - 5:00am

Sorry, just found it, doc-base was the magic word.


By Fredrik C at Tue, 2002/05/21 - 5:00am

One more idea I had: The placement of the panel should use toggle buttons around the side of the monitor. This way you can see which one is selected (ie the one you clicked would remain pressed down). I also think a picture of the KDE desktop would be more appropriate than a monitor.


By Nicholas Allen at Fri, 2002/05/17 - 5:00am

In panel-> look & feel, in background tiles, the global option to turn off/on background tiles is missing. Why is this useful feature being removed ? This is definitely required. Why should the user change 6 different buttons to "No tile" when the same effect can be achieved simply by deselecting the global option ?


By Tok at Tue, 2002/05/21 - 5:00am

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