Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Nov 2007 23:05 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the seventh article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms [part I | part II | part III | part IV | part V | part VI]. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. In part VII, as promised in part VI, we focus completely on CDE, the Common Desktop Environment.
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by GregM on Mon 26th Nov 2007 08:47 UTC
Member since:

I can't believe that the usability of CDE is actually being held up as something to strive for.

CDE doesn't do much, and one of the few things that it does do, it handles poorly. Looking for an app among the panel's menus is a pain that no computer user should be subjected to. Even worse is that it's a baffling pain. A 'someone must have intentionally made this hard to use' type of pain. When looking through the menus in the panel for a program to run (the main interaction with the panel) one must close the drawers manually. It is like taking one of the worst aspects of life (cleaning up after yourself) and bringing it to the computer. Isn't the computer supposed to take care of those hassles for me? It would have been much better if they had a 'sticky' button (like many of today's floating menus) instead.

Also, I'm glad that you mentioned that it is ugly, but man oh man does that bear repeating. That thing was a beast. Everything is a square, and with so many squares on the screen, you start to lose where things end. Each line blends into the next. I've never taken rounded edges for granted since. The panel uses up screen real estate like it was its job, which come to think of it is a definite possibility as it isn't up to the task of starting programs. Restoring a minimized program means clicking the minimize all windows button, which completely disrupts workflow. CDE is a hideous, disgusting beast. A 'this level of graphics could be expected of a wristwatch, but not a PC' type of beast.

The unusability and lack of any? redeeming features leads me to conclude that the only people touting the virtues of CDE are victims of Stockholm syndrome.

I hope you've enjoyed my rant.

Reply Score: 5

RE: unusability
by bm3719 on Mon 26th Nov 2007 16:42 in reply to "unusability"
bm3719 Member since:

Everything is a square, and with so many squares on the screen, you start to lose where things end.

You probably mean that everything is rectangular. If it was square, everything would have 4 equal sides.

In any case, I've always felt exactly the opposite about window borders, that is, that rounded corners are stupid. They would make more sense if your monitor was rounded on the edges, though, like earlier television screens. More importantly, they make the exact location of corner resizing control ambiguous.

I'm with the original author here. I use CDE almost every day even now, and while I prefer tiling WMs for maximum efficiency, CDE is still my favorite non-tiling one.

Reply Parent Score: 1