Linked by Allen Boyles on Mon 7th Nov 2011 09:46 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces In the commercial software world, user interfaces are generally designed by one group. Like Microsoft for Windows or Apple for Mac OS. Those desktop environments were designed by one company who did things like user testing and statistical analysis to try and make the desktop they thought would work best. Linux is different. Large groups definitely DO perform user testing and statistical analysis, but one group can also say "Here's what we want" and, if they have the ability to code it, their idea comes into being. It's pretty amazing, when you think about it. Linux lets people create what they want. If you don't like what's out there, fork it! Or start from scratch! You're in control!
Permalink for comment 496272
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
This is not an either/or
by WorknMan on Mon 7th Nov 2011 10:02 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

When it comes to simplicity vs customization, you really don't have to choose between the two. It's like the debate on whether hardware devices should be locked down to prevent users from hurting themselves, or wide open so that users can do anything they want with it. The trick is to ship with the device locked down, and add somewhere an option to unlock it, but make it JUST hard enough to find so that anyone who wasn't looking for it would not unintentionally unlock on accident.

I think of customizations the same way - set up the defaults to be 'idiot proof' to make the most users happy out of the box, and set customization options just enough out of reach so that nobody who wasn't looking for them would ever find them. This way, tech tards don't get confused and power users don't feel hindered by somebody else's design choices. Granted, maybe this won't work well in EVERY SINGLE CASE, but I think is is a good, general guideline to follow. Personally, I'm tired of using apps that were designed with my grandma in mind, that give me no control whatsoever over the user experience.

Oh, and if you're going to put the configurations in an ini file or 'about:config' screen, PLEASE take the time to document the f**king things, ok? There's nothing more frustrating than having 5,000 different options and barely an idea about what each one of them does beyond a brief description that may or may not provide sufficient information.

Reply Score: 15