Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 17th Mar 2003 22:49 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces So many operating systems and so many graphical desktop environments... This article is a comparison of the UI and usability of several Desktop Environments (DEs), that have been widely used, admired and reviled: Windows XP Luna, BeOS 6 (Dano/Zeta), Mac OS X Aqua and Unix's KDE and Gnome. Read on which one got our best score on our long term test and usage.
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Does this article deserve such attention?
by Petr on Thu 20th Mar 2003 11:55 UTC

Well, the thing with this very article is that it should have started with words like "This is how me, Eugenia, tried to use various desktops and how I (dis)liked each and every of them in various ways". It is obvious that the author is used to using one of the tested environments on a daily basis and the rest simply does not meet her personal criteria - this is what is commonly called to be biased.

While there surely are certain valid points in the article, the overall result is just a sum of personal tastes and preferences, based more on random experience of one person rather than specific UI usability tests with a group of randomly selected users. It has the same level of importance to me as saying that when I first tried to use WinXP, it choked up while transferring a file via FTP and became totally unresponsible (even the cursor refused to move smoother than one jump in a second), which is a behaviour I have never experienced using any other desktop, thus rendering WinXP the least stable of all for me. But is it valid to claim my experience is a general rule for judging and that my preferences are anything important to finding out which desktop is better for anyone? Of course not! There are many happy users of WinXP, just as there are of KDE, Gnome, MacOS or BeOS. And I am biased myself so it would take at least a dozen of various people to get any usable review of the pros and cons of the various desktops!

Therefore I guess the issue is mainly in article claiming to be something it in fact is not. It is not about overall user experience. At least not of users of the very desktops nor of a wider audience.

Then there are other more or less important details, such as that WinXP does not come with any programming framework itself (unless purchased separately) so it should have received much less points than it did (not mentioning MFC being a pain to work with due to its inherently bad architecture). Then, the proposed modified menu for Gnome mis-aligns the texts vs. icons and arrows (arrows become base aligned instead of centered) and makes it harder to read at higher resolutions (compared to the original) etc. But again, all of this is a matter of personal tastes...

So, why does this article deserve such attention? It does not! It just starts another useless flamewar - which is what only the author can profit from. The best we can do is to call for real comparisons, more in-depth reviews and given rules of testing - and for articles of value - such ones that really help spot the weaknesses and care more about usability rather than eye candy!