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Gnome usability - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Gnome usability [Jan. 12th, 2005|05:56 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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In many ways, Gnome is much easier to use than Windows. F'r instance, my roommate bought a new mouse for his laptop, plugged it in, and found it moves too fast. He asked me how to slow it down, and I pointed him to the control panel. So he clicks on the mouse thing, drags the Speed slider all the way to the left, and nothing happens. The mouse still moves too fast. I tell him he needs to click the Apply button.

He's been using Windows for about 10 years, yet he has no idea.

Instant apply is sooo obvious-in-retrospect, yet Windoze doesn't have it.

Second. The other day someone asked for help in the gmail community, and someone else asked for a screenshot of the problem. So she shot a picture of her monitor with her digital camera and posted it. How pathetic is that? I'm not blaming the person who did this. Not completely anyway. My point is that having to copy the clipboard to an image editor after hitting PrintScreen is so ridiculously unintuitive that I have no idea how Windows still has it after all these years. The person who invented it should be hanged, drawn and quartered. The Gnome approach of letting you save the screenshot to a file when you hit PrintScreen is infinitely better.

I've written before about how Gnome is more Fitts' law aware than Windows.

Finally, spatial nautilus. This is very controversial of course, so I'll just say that as a die hard command line freak and shell scripter, for the first time in 5 years I'm doing (part of) my file management graphically, because of spatial nautilus.

This isn't one of those "this is the year linux is going to take over the desktop" posts, I don't believe any such thing is going to happen; I'm just pointing out that the question of whether an open source process can create a product with more end user focus than a multibillion dollar corporation appears to have been answered in the affirmative.

[User Picture]From: keithlard
2005-01-13 02:53 am (UTC)
I agree entirely, as you may have seen I've been teaching my dad (a complete newcomer to GUIs) to use Gnome and that was difficult enough. Trying to teach him Windows and explain why it doesn't act like you expect it ought to would be horrific.

Spatial Nautilus has been a revelation to me too, and I love it. I'm probably doing 90% of stuff through the GUI now and my files are much more organised as a result. The command line is still best for doing certain things, but Nautilus can do an amazing amount (especially with features like 'Select Pattern').
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