Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Apr 2009 16:16 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the eleventh article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms. 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. After a rather long hiatus, this eleventh instalment will focus on bling, desktop effects, and compositing, and what they can contribute to the desktop experience.
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RE: Rotating cube
by sbergman27 on Sun 5th Apr 2009 03:39 UTC in reply to "Rotating cube"
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

For power users who know about virtual desktops, the cube animation is not really necessary.

For a newbie, a computer-almost-illiterate person, if they accidentally click on one of the virtual desktops on the bottom-right corner of the screen, they might not realise what has happened.

But they would easily understand a face of a cube detaching from the front of their screen and rotating?

OK. Maybe after a few tries they might figure it out. But what's wrong with the default "Slide In" animation that Compiz provides? The cube is stupid and not even a reasonable metaphor. What happens if you have more than four desktops? Six, you say? But a cube's sides have equal dimensions. The "cube" is not even a cube. It is a rectangular prism. Turn its top or bottom faces toward you, and I don't think you will end up with what you want.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Rotating cube
by setec_astronomy on Sun 5th Apr 2009 09:25 in reply to "RE: Rotating cube"
setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

What happens if you have more than four desktops? Six, you say? But a cube's sides have equal dimensions. The "cube" is not even a cube. It is a rectangular prism. Turn its top or bottom faces toward you, and I don't think you will end up with what you want.


I don't know about compiz, but kwin has started to address these issues :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg0ma-qKHrM

http://blog.martin-graesslin.com/blog/?p=217

I don't know if that makes the cube effect more usefull for those who don't use it (including me) but it is not as these are difficulties which are inherently impossible to overcome.

EDIT: What I mean with the last sentence warrants a little clarification, me thinks:

There are obviously problems in this domain, that are inherently impossible to overcome. For example, I can have all kind of weird pager layouts with a multitude of virtual desktops, yet mapping it onto platonic bodies or prismas is not always possible in a way to keep the neighborhood conditions of the grid layout alive.

The approach of kwin seems to be a sensible middle ground, e.g. distinguishing between the cube as a method to iterate over random virtual desktops or as a method to animate the switch between two distinct virtual desktops.

The latter is easier to keep consistent with the "spatial" layout of virtual desktops

regards

Edited 2009-04-05 09:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Rotating cube
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 5th Apr 2009 09:48 in reply to "RE: Rotating cube"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Sliding is another good method. I just took the Cube as an example because it is such a trademark Compiz effect. These days, I don't use the Cube all that much anymore, and I instead prefer the desktop wall.

The point is not to prove the superiority of the Cube; the point is to make clear that compositing technology can make existing concepts more tangible and easier to use.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Rotating cube
by sbergman27 on Sun 5th Apr 2009 13:51 in reply to "RE[2]: Rotating cube"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Sliding is another good method. I just took the Cube as an example because it is such a trademark Compiz effect.

One of my gripes with desktop effects is that they take the immense power of the 3d section of the video card, and use it to... make things take longer. And where there might be some training benefits to some of it... once the user understands what is happening (he switched desktops) the effect has served its purpose and becomes a useless time waster.

At least the "slide in" effect is fast and light weight.

Personally, I'd prefer just the speed increases of compositing without most of the effects. Snappy, snappy, snappy is where it's at.

Edited 2009-04-05 13:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2