Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Feb 2007 16:40 UTC, submitted by dumbkiwi
X11, Window Managers Following on from three earlier articles, here are two more articles highlighting usability features of Beryl; the wheel window switcher and the 'wall' for managing virtual desktops. Videos included, so go on, indulge yourself, boys and girls.
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RE
by msundman on Tue 20th Feb 2007 08:39 UTC in reply to "RE"
msundman
Member since:
2005-07-06

> Unless you can provide a patch to fix what you perceive as
> wrong, you have no business calling anyone incompetent.

That must be one of the most stupid things I've read this month. I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "have no business", but obviously it's almost always a lot easier to spot incompetence than to be competent. Also, people who are incompetent but don't know it should be told the truth so that they know to strive for competence.

Why do people think that it's wrong to say that some aspect of something free (gratis) is bad? That the devs aren't monetarily compensated doesn't make the software better in itself, and it certainly doesn't raise them above criticism. Many devs, especially among those working for free, don't do many usability studies, so usability criticism is precisely what they need.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE
by rajj on Tue 20th Feb 2007 08:58 in reply to "RE"
rajj Member since:
2005-07-06

You mean it's a lot easier to be an armchair programmer postulating about usability while having no expertise in anything other than clicking a mouse button.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE
by msundman on Tue 20th Feb 2007 12:16 in reply to "RE"
msundman Member since:
2005-07-06

> You mean it's a lot easier to be an armchair programmer
> postulating about usability while having no expertise in
> anything other than clicking a mouse button.

No, I didn't mean that, which is why I didn't say that. Programming (armchair or otherwise) has nothing to do with usability.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE
by Kokopelli on Tue 20th Feb 2007 19:08 in reply to "RE"
Kokopelli Member since:
2005-07-06

That must be one of the most stupid things I've read this month. I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "have no business", but obviously it's almost always a lot easier to spot incompetence than to be competent. Also, people who are incompetent but don't know it should be told the truth so that they know to strive for competence.

I do not disagree with your statement, however to call the Beryl Developers incompetent is what I have issues with. They may not be getting the results that some want, and there may be better ways to do it, but I do not feel they deserve to be labeled incompetent.

Why do people think that it's wrong to say that some aspect of something free (gratis) is bad? That the devs aren't monetarily compensated doesn't make the software better in itself, and it certainly doesn't raise them above criticism. Many devs, especially among those working for free, don't do many usability studies, so usability criticism is precisely what they need.

There is a difference between criticism and accusations of incompetence. Further when criticizing it is more useful to suggest a way in which the application can be improved rather than just saying "this is awful." And finally, when criticizing any app it might help to make sure the statements are accurate and pertinent to the current mainstream release.

The default config for Beryl comes under much criticism. And I agree that for a conventional desktop the settings should be made more conventional. However for the purpose of presenting what can be done with the technology as well as trying ideas it is useful to actually activate the features.

Let's take as an example the much maligned wobbly windows. First off, it is by default only used for application windows, not drop downs or menus. Many do not like this feature, however it demonstrates visual feed back for moves. I am not particularly fond of wobbly windows but I keep it on (with reduced wobble) because it provides the illusion of smooth movement. When I turn off wobble I notice the hops in movement that are not present (or are obfuscated) in the wobbly window. Thus while not providing much in the realm of improved UI, it does make my user experience more pleasant. So whether to enable/disable this feature becomes a matter of personal choice.

I have agreed and still agree that for a full time desktop, the configuration should be more conservative. This does not mean turning off all the features however, especially during development. I would argue that Beryl should keep their config exactly as it is, or even activate more things. Let Ubuntu, Fedora, and Suse come up with the set of configs they think will fit their target market.

The core Beryl project is about showing what can be done in an effort to improve the user experience, not necessarily improve usability. In many cases they go hand in hand but not always. If a feature is not active it is far less likely that anyone will ever use it. If wobbly windows were not on by default most would never activate it. I for one initially disliked wobbly, and still have some problems with it, but have found over time that it makes my user experience better. NOTE: user experience, not usability. With a minimal wobble to application windows the experience is more pleasant without disrupting usability,

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE
by msundman on Tue 20th Feb 2007 22:35 in reply to "RE"
msundman Member since:
2005-07-06

First of all, I didn't comment on anything about anything else than what I replied to and quoted in that reply. It was just about the "you can't criticise unless you can fix" line of thought (or lack thereof).

> to call the Beryl Developers incompetent is what I have
> issues with.

They are probably good programmers, but I don't know how competent they are in the field of UI design. Either way I can't comment on that.

> There is a difference between criticism and accusations
> of incompetence.

Actually you were the one who started talking about "incompetence". Anyway, it doesn't matter. (FWIW, in my personal experience both "normal" end users and OS designers are equally (namely highly) incompetent when it comes to UI design. I'm not very competent either, even though I've taken a few UI design courses, read a few books and done some UI research in a real UI lab (which, btw, wasn't completely useless, even though its cameras and huge one-way mirror made it look more like an interrogation room, but I digress).)

> I am not particularly fond of wobbly windows but I keep
> it on (with reduced wobble) because it provides the illusion
> of smooth movement.

Yeah, devs really should try to understand the importance of motion blur. There isn't really any substitute for motion blur when using discrete motion. Without it motion of crisp objects will look jerky. That is, unless you have extremely small pixels (relative to your eyesight and the distance to the display) and a very high frame rate (somewhat relative to the magnitude of the movement), which would make the motion truly continuous from your retina's point of view.

There is the same problem in some new, no-so-high-budget movies, such as the (imho) awful 28 Days Later, where the camera's shutter speed has been set so high that there is no detectable motion blur, causing the weeny 24 fps of the big screen to look really jerky. Somehow some people don't understand that if a discretely fast-moving object is crisp it doesn't at all look like it's moving very fast, but more like a bunch of similar objects popping in and out of existence one at a time.

So, fellow developers, implement some decent motion blur to your menus, drop-down lists and whatnot, and you can animate them in less than 20 fps and it'll still look very smooth.

> Let Ubuntu, Fedora, and Suse come up with the set of configs
> they think will fit their target market.

I fully agree.

Reply Parent Score: 1