What I really hate lately is the iconification of menus, be it ribbon or that firefox abomination. Having to learn a different set of hieroglyphs for each application is a terrible UX. This is taking the form over function approach that has long plagued media players (still does with spotify and netflix) and bringing it to all applications.
Humans are much better at scanning through justified lists of text, this was our fast lookup method long before computers existed.
The Mac OS X desktop metaphor does attempt to solve this somewhat, the last application in focus on a particular monitor, is presented within the menubar on that monitor - regardless of whether or not the program is currently been interacted with.
For example: currently I have 4 displays with a program full screen in each, each Menu Bar has the menu options for each program.
All inactive programs present in the menu bars on the other monitors are greyed out - the effect of this can be seen in the linked image (I have minimised the other windows because work business) - https://imgur.com/MM8sQdt
I have Safari Tech Preview [the currently active window], Outlook, iTerm and Firefox (the display for which isn't included in the screenshot because it it's a vertical panel with odd dimensions), open on a monitor a piece.
This. Absolutely this. Please don’t take his post as a personal attack, and consider the possibility that Linux is not as usable as it should be.
GNOME prefers that people hop onto their IRC (which is not logged so, unfortunately, people can't easily reference previous progress made) but filing GitLab issues also works. There's the gnome-design IRC for trying to create change to the Human Interface Guidelines. In the Nautilus IRC I suggested trying a GNOME Forum to try and collect design feedback better but they say they've tried this before and there weren't enough people willing to maintain it so the forum died. The problem is that GNOME devs get so much outright abuse for their design decisions that it's too unpleasant for them to engage with the community and, because their devs are nearly all volunteers (bar, like, two Red Hatters (one being the Files lead)), there's no-one paid to engage with the community like there is in, say, snapcraft (who have engaged with criticism very well in my opinion, even if they haven't outright capitulated to demand (which I think is a bad idea anyway since you then end up flip flopping constantly because the outrage is always against the status quo (KDE has this problem (https://mail.kde.org/pipermail/plasma-devel/2018-June/086117...) also see Ubuntu - outrage against Unity 7 was cited in Shuttleworth's comments on why Unity was scrapped ('In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation.' https://blog.ubuntu.com/2017/04/05/growing-ubuntu-for-cloud-...) https://forum.snapcraft.io/t/external-repositories/1760 https://forum.snapcraft.io/t/disabling-automatic-refresh-for...). So criticism against GNOME is never engaged with and the rage continues... Still, if you want to try and get the GNOME team onboard, I highly recommend hopping onto their IRC and constructively arguing with them. Arguing here will not change the situation because they don't read pages like this, at least, that's what they were saying in the Nautilus IRC, they want to get on with the task at hand https://wiki.gnome.org/Community/GettingInTouch/IRC
Admittedly, people like Carlos (the Files lead) do read the GNOME Reddit, so maybe that's the closest thing to a GNOME forum and you could thus try posting there about your gripes with GNOME :) https://www.reddit.com/r/gnome/ In fact, this article has been posted on the Reddit recently: https://www.reddit.com/r/gnome/comments/8shfiu/make_it_simpl... I suggest commenting there to try and make more progress :)
Bonus points to Nautilus, which somehow manages to have 2 buttons side-by-side that look like hamburger menus, the actual hamburger menu and view as list.
I really dislike everything looking and acting different, it's like having to learn a new language just to talk with a new application.
> Adjusting the volume in KDE Plasma — why is there more than one slider for playback? Hardly intuitive
Because there are multiple outputs and you can assign a source to whichever outputs you want. Why shouldn't the controls reflect the actual capabilities of the device?
The next step is saying that the device is too capable and needs capabilities removed to make it easier to understand. No thank you.
Even as a technical user the amount of volume controls can get quite ridiculous. There is the device volume, the app volume (games, media players), the context volume (typically on phones), a volume control on the output device (speakers or display), volume controls on the output devices of output devices (TV -> stereo setup), volume controls on the input devices (Bluetooth, keyboard controls). It really is amazing that we have so many places to control such a seemingly simple so I can't really blame non-technical people for getting confused.
I'd love to have just one analogue knob on my keyboard to control everything and never think about volume again.
Btw, iphones have context-dependent volume control, probably because combining ring and music volume is impractical. The same for speaker vs headphones. But now I never know if I turned volume down for “volume”, “headphones”, “ring” or whatever it shows on that vague screen. This is a complex issue, and when you hide it behind too clever logic it can get even worse than explaining.
Btw2, in my childhood we had no computers or experience, but no one failed to manage volumes on chained-together audio systems. A good subject to think of.
I agree, but to many try to ride that middle ground, KDE is probably the best example. It aims to be simple but so much is configurable via hidden context menus and drag and drop controls that users can completely rearrange their desktop accidentally, even when it's locked. I don't know how but they do. If they'd just hide everything in text config files it would be better for both groups.
> Btw2, in my childhood we had no computers or experience, but no one failed to manage volumes on chained-together audio systems. A good subject to think of.
My family were constantly getting confused by things like the volume button on the VCR remote and the surround sound home theatre craze was a nightmare (and notice how so few people bother with this complication any more?). Other things like only changing the channel on the TV while recording something on the VCR and why the have to press AV2 when they used to just put it on channel 5 needed constant reminders. Their way of looking at the world just never understood input/output pipelines, at best they had to learn what to do by rote.
> Non-technical users, who don’t know what HDMI and headphones are, probably have no computer at all
I think you're hugely underestimating the people that still need them for work and creative tasks that tablets/phones will always suck at. They still act as the universal hub for all devices so people can do things like print documents or upload pictures from their digital camera to facebook. Not to mention the better ergonomics of something like a screen you can tilt but don't have to hold constantly.
Really, they can't understand that the speaker has a different volume to their headphones?
At least this is better than having multiple volume knobs on one audio path.
>The next step is saying that the device is too capable and needs capabilities removed to make it easier to understand. No thank you.
Sadly, yes, this is how Linux Desktop people think. GNOME especially.
Only true if volume is perfectly normalized. Otherwise you want to be able to quickly control volume per application or some context without affecting other applications, so when you switch to them you don't have to do it again. Browsers are examples of how bad it can be, with overly loud unnormalized instagram videos and no volume controls and in contrast somewhat normalized youtube volume with controls.
This guy talks about some menu options like everyone accesses them 10 times a day. Who cares if 'About' is tucked away somewhere. Has anyone ever used the 'About' button in a browser? What for?
I much rather have a clean screen with fewer buttons than the 'About' button sitting there, never being used.
edit: read the other parts as well now and while some of it is nit-picky I recommend the series to all! worth a read.
In Firefox on Linux, I needed to learn to click on the bookshelf icon (?!) in the menu bar, then History. Then the menu acts like a wannabe iOS app and slides the history into the menu with an animation. It feels a lot more cumbersome for no good reason at all.
Both app and web designers have quickly understood that mystery meat navigation is a dead-end now matter how clean it looks. I don't understand why the GNOME and elementary teams keep doubling down on it.
'My take-away from all of this is that if most of the user experience takes place in a single view, and it’s only things like user settings and options that need to be accessed in separate screens, then keeping the main UI nice and clean by burying those in a side menu is the way to go.'
That article is saying that A/B testing shows that if you have different content views etc then you should have visible navigation, if it's options then sure, tuck it away in a side menu. I don't think the History menu is a 'view' per se...
Sometimes to contact the devs.
From way up here in orbit, it seems the problem is leadership, in that it's way too open. Somebody can suggest a shitty idea, discuss half of the issues it and then four months later —without quorum— drop a patch to implement the whole thing. That gets accepted and before you know it you can't launch executables from Nautilus. See: https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/nautilus/issues/184
I'm not saying Carlos shouldn't have some autonomy here. He's been running Nautilus for a few years now... But is it acceptable that just one person steers the most fundamental component of a desktop used by so many downstreams? I wonder how many of the other GNOME culls (https://askubuntu.com/a/286438/449) can be attributed to a couple of people with so little discussion.
I do abhor design by committee and trying to keep too many stakeholders happy can really lead to a product becoming flabby and inefficient, but interface decisions within GNOME seem to happen too often without any scientific rationale, let alone a consideration of how it might affect users.
Also slightly pissed that the major commercial desktop players (Canonical, SUSE, Red Hat, etc) aren't pushing back. They'd seemingly rather write their own stuff than feed into the running of the project. NIH.
And personally I still don't want to touch Qt, but it might just come to that. I don't think I'm up for yet another rewrite with a toolkit that can't be stable for ten years. That might sound grumpy, but also consider GIMP is still working on the port to GTK 3 ...
I’m going back to Linux after years on the Mac and windows, and it’s killing me. Finding anything is a pain in the butt, hence me posting this.
I decided to stick with it for a few weeks, now considering leaving Gnome and even buying a Mac for the job.
That hamburger menu button in Chrome kept me from adopting the browser until I gave up only about a year ago.
There are so many projects born and die each day, it's a mystery to me why nobody have solved the famous Linux Desktop UI problem so far (Mac OS did though). The 'about' item often is the first thing I'm looking for when I see a new app. And if I can't find it within a minute, it gives me a instant idea that working with it will be no walk in a park.
And consider that the response to that is likely to be different for people who learned computing on environments like Windows (where global menu bars would be really weird), Mac OS (where they're normal) or various earlier UNIX GUIs (where who knows, anything goes and each application probably does it differently anyway), or on smartphones or tablets, which is where a lot of younger people are getting their first experiences of computers.
Would they really be weirder than hamburger menus?
Also, GNOME 3 has a global application menu in the top-left corner, but it only contains around 5 entries on average and is largely ignored. It's the worst of all worlds.
Ubuntu's Unity had the right idea when they let users choose whether to display menus at the top, or inside each window. The implementation was terrible, but I wish the concept would have caught on as some kind of XDG standard.
I would gladly hitch my wagon to the author's star if they wanted to organize a project to implement these improvements. Does anyone with more Linux development experience know where such a project would start? Is it already in progress somewhere?
There may be arguments in favor of global menus, but browsers are not one of them. Personally, I detest global menus like the plague because it really disconnects the list of actions from what I'm going to be acting on, especially if you have e.g. focus follows mouse. (But I'm sure we're just supposed to let go of that too...)
EDIT: ... and since nobody asked: The problem with the Linux desktop is mostly lack of consistency across applications, IMO.
There is a part 6 entry addressing this very thing:
I do agree with the author on his sentiment on the lack of discoverability with applications nowadays. It might've been better to showcase the `chrome://settings` interface since it's a prime example of less suitable mobile design bleeding into the desktop UX. Funny, I just noticed that they actually use a proper hamburger icon for toggling the hidden settings menu, not the triple dots.
I think that by now, we're well on our way of educating people on the meaning of the hamburger icon...
I'm sure everyone that has used OSX has at some point wondered when they couldn't find a menu they were looking for only to realise some window on a different screen was focused.
If I've got an app in a small window in the lower corner of my screen (which in fact I do at this moment), I want the menus for it right there, not all the way in the far corner of the screen.
Plus, global menus are terrible with focus-follows-mouse, which for me is such an important feature that I've even set up my work Windows laptop to have that behavior.
As for the discussion of ridding cut/copy/paste in menus: who doesn't know the shortcuts for those?
- Hamburger menu is still there.
- Sidebar-everything is still there.
Funny sidenote: I have to shamefully admit that I never used a Macbook until a few weeks ago, when I wanted to watch Netflix on my girlfriends mac.
I was pleasantly surprised that she uses it almost exactly like I use my Linux: never close windows, just swipe from workspace to workspace, and a nice launcher bar at the bottom. The only thing I don't like is the screen-width bar at the top which provides controls for the current application.