Feel free to append the text below.

Participants: ReinoutVanSchouwen, DennisLjungmark, ChristianRose, LiamQuin, ..., ..., ... (?)

We started discussing stuff which is disruptive to the users' workflow. Like:

  • Suddenly appearing dialogs like blinking IM notification or an IM window grabbing focus/jumping to foreground. (Anything Grabbing focus, from a webpage loaded in epiphany, to a dialog window appearing while you are typing.
  • Ctrl-clicking a link in gnome-terminal, continue working while browser starts, browser eats keypresses and does weird things

Suggested improvements:

  • Use fade-in for windows that pop-up, don't accept any keypresses, warning by means of flashing windowborder(?) - sound not always acceptable. Some of the points raised against this was from users typing slowly (copying an URL with twofinger-dance, intent only on keyboard. Screenflash as a notification? beep? )
  • Avoid "sharp" interface changes by a fade-out of menus (fixed time, perhaps something for the new X server extentions?) Transparency and animation effects can be used to smoothen out experiences where possible.
  • use fading or morphing icons instead of blinking ones for attention. They still change (thereby draw attention) but don't add a sharpness to the fact.
  • Sound effects on the desktop?

Then we talked about Cultural User Interfaces (CUI). Basically this comes down to making icons and color schemes "translatable" as well as UI text. The meaning of icons is often culturally bound. Examples: US-style mailbox, green money, trashcan, home icon.

Suggested improvements:

  • CUI's should be possible through theming technology
  • Solve this at a freedesktop.org level
  • Use more coloured shapes like Gossip does (it's easy for a human to distinguish shapes)
  • Keybinding-themes (example: Ctrl+Home is 'go to begin of document' in Sun mailhandler, but 'send without confirmation' for Evo)
  • Be able to show all keybindings a window accepts
  • Optimize for intermediate users

There were also some talk about how kebindings are not useful at the moment, because a lot of them are undiscoverable from the GUI. Perhaps something that "automagically" shows you all "relevant" keybindings for a window/dialog? This could well be another magic keystroke, a "wand" (find out more) function or other thing that lets people discover the interface. Prime examples are the URI input box in the new filechooser. Everyone (bah!) knows its standard, but its not accessible from the GUI. Therefore a new user cannot know its really that key combination to find it. (users do not read documentation.)

Another thing that was brought up was the way current "on mouse over" highlights of icons is done, this should perhaps be done with the GTK+ highlight colour for the background, and using the RGBA transparency to further highlight, thereby making the highlight more visible.

Suggested timeline for improvements:

Small improvements => GNOME 2.10 Big improvements (like accessing the window menu and the app menu in similar ways) => 3.0 ?


  • File bugs
  • Elaborate on ideas written above


Attic/Usability, Interaction & Localization round table notes (last edited 2013-11-23 01:16:57 by WilliamJonMcCann)