Home > Gnome > GNOME Human Interface Guidelines 2.0 Released GNOME Human Interface Guidelines 2.0 Released Eugenia Loli 2004-07-29 Gnome 70 Comments A joined effort between Sun, Red Hat and others resulted to the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines 2.0 which has just been released. Look at the changes here. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 70 Comments 2004-07-29 6:06 pm And that would be putting the button order back the way it should be, the way people expect it to be. No one expects to be asked a no or yes question. People expect to be asked a yes or no question. Putting the ok button on the right of the cancel button is bad design. Period. 2004-07-29 6:12 pm @Mike In your opinion maybe. Additionally, very few dialogs are supposed to ask a simple “yes or no”. 2004-07-29 6:14 pm I like it the way it is now. 2004-07-29 6:21 pm Very funny chris 2004-07-29 6:21 pm All right! Let’s start the “buttons are in the wrong order” flame all again! If I can say something about the order change, I’ll tell you my experience: when I first tryed GNOME 2.x (on the beta days yet), I found quite amusing the buttons in that order. “Hey, why gedit doesn’t want to close if I choose the button on the left?” just passed on my mind and I clicked close again. This time, reading the message, I found what’s was wrong: the “Ok, quit without saving” button was on the right. No, I didn’t get angry at that. The next dialog I knew where to answer. Now we have GNOME 2.6, with 2.8 almost there and I can say that I can’t switch back! I simply can’t! Everyone complains that the GNOME buttons are in the wrong order; to me, everything else have the buttons on the wrong order. Go ahead, call me nuts. I’m faster with buttons in that order and I don’t want to switch back. 2004-07-29 6:24 pm good god, do you actually sit there and read the possible answers. five seconds after seeing it, its linked in memory which you should hit. watch a normal user, and you will see it doesnt matter to them. armchair critics with nothing better to do. 2004-07-29 6:32 pm I have a Windowsuser working with Gnome 2.6 for more than a week now. Trust me, that user never ever said a word about the difference in button order to me. If the Gnome devs want to change the button order and you don’t agree, use something else then. 2004-07-29 6:45 pm what’s so goddman hard about reading 2 or 3 words before you click a button? Really, you people are pathetic that you spent way too much time bitching about something as mundane as the order of the buttons on a dialog box. yeah yeah..report abuse 2004-07-29 6:53 pm It wasn’t broken until they “fixed” it. That’s the complaint. Nothing more. There was no good reason for them to do it in the first place. That’s all I’m saying. You people take this way too personally. 2004-07-29 6:57 pm the only reason i like the left to right ordering of ok/cancel is for tabbing through applications. just easier when ok is first in the tab order, and tab order is generally left to right. with a mouse it makes no difference to me. 2004-07-29 7:05 pm Actually, there’s a pretty good reason. Any person in a left-to-right reading country is at some low level used to the idea that “the next page”, and “the next column” of text are on the right, while “previous” text is on the left. Thus you “proceed” on the right and “go back” on the left. It was so much natural to me working with ok ( affirmative, next, yes etc.) on the right and cancel (negative, previous, no) on the left, and please note that I did not come from a mac background (never used one really ) but from 7 years of win-something. It is also much more coherent because in wizards even MS places, obviously, the “next” on the right and the “prev” on the left… imo theirs is just a broken choice, and I see no reason to stick to it. Oh, and maybe no english-speaking user expects to be _asked_ “no or yes” in a conversation, but we’re talking of graphically meaningful placements, I don’t think that a user reads all the text and all the button labels every time in strict order… on the contrary teh buttons should be intuitive _without_ having to do so. 2004-07-29 7:07 pm To be honest, I never even noticed the button issue until it was mentioned to me. I don’t think it’s that important. 2004-07-29 7:13 pm The problem I have with button ordering is that Firefox has implemented the reverse button ordering… that makes it a pain in the ass to use in KDE 🙂 I don’t care what button ordering GNOME apps use, but please switch back to normal if not being run in GNOME, thanks. That plays much nicer with non GNOME apps. 2004-07-29 7:19 pm That means that for some, its simply not. Such a situation would be predestined to make such a decision a easy to set option, but the HIG-developing companies just decided to force this on everybody and everyone. Just like companies tend to do. Because they “know better”, than some hobbyist, unemployed students. So tell me someone where GNOME is still a community project when a few companies can dictate an overall design on the project? Our luck is that the underlying framework is GPL/LGPL, so forks like GoneME can bring Gnome and all the decisions regarding it, its development pace and its “HIG” back to the community which is actually using it. 2004-07-29 7:37 pm Who complained about the button order in ANY operating system before it was changed in GNOME? I bet as good as noone. Now we have half the people complaining about it. And that’s supposed to be an improvement?? Sheesh. I don’t understand what they’re trying to accomplish Heres what the Gnome people need to get through their heads. Usability is about being useable for USERS! Not about some abstract concept about what is theoretically better or theoretically worse. If a lot of USERS complain then its a BAD change. Especially for something as obviously trivial as button order. It doesn’t matter either way so might as well go with the crowd. 2004-07-29 7:39 pm So tell me someone where GNOME is still a community project when a few companies can dictate an overall design on the project? ————- hey. in case you didnt notice majority of contributions in linux kernel is done by corporates today. does it means that it isnt a community project. as long as volunteers are able to participate and work on it its a community project. gnome sure is one 2004-07-29 7:40 pm Especially for something as obviously trivial as button order. It doesn’t matter either way so might as well go with the crowd. ———– ya and then people will complain that gnome is a cheap copy of windows. come on guys leave some flexibility. there is no one right way. 2004-07-29 7:41 pm I was more used to it and that is the way it was done for ALL the programs I used, I think it was a really dumb idea to make this change. Oh and I’m not switching to DVORAK keyboard alyout either. 2004-07-29 7:44 pm People whine and snivel that Linux GUI’s are just half baked Windows clones. These same people complain when a project like GNOME develops a unique and distinct interface, and tries to improve things by doing something different. These people apparently cannot be pleased no matter what the folks who develop GNOME do. The rest of us will just appreciate that some thought and innovation is going into the GNOME HIG and the GNOME interface, which is way better than just playing “follow the leader”. GNOME is more usable after each release, so I for one think that the _thought_ they are putting into their interface is a “Good Thing(TM)” Homer objects… “But wait… we love the leader! See, I have a collection of beans that look just like the leader!” 2004-07-29 7:50 pm An HIG application shouldn’t be asking Yes or No. Read the HIG: http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/hig/2.0/windows-alert.html “Button Phrasing. Write button labels as imperative verbs, for example Save, Print. This allows users to select an action with less hesitation. An active phrase also fits best with the button’s role in initiating actions, as contrasted with a more passive phrase. For example Find and Log In are better buttons than than Yes and OK.” 2004-07-29 8:04 pm Personally I a quite grateful for the work the gnome poeple are doing. The hig work has made gnome one of the most conistant and usable platforms on the market today. As for the button order, it is great. Right is always the positive go forward choice and left is always the negative go back choice. I don’t have to think about it. Having decriptive buttons is great as well. I don’t have to read through the message to figure out what a yes button does, the button’s name explains its function. 2004-07-29 8:25 pm “People whine and snivel that Linux GUI’s are just half baked Windows clones. These same people complain when a project like GNOME develops a unique and distinct interface, and tries to improve things by doing something different. These people apparently cannot be pleased no matter what the folks who develop GNOME do.” Actually, I do believe that the button order methodology in GNOME was adopted from the Macintosh, so it’s not all that unique. But, I am a Mac user, so I like the ordering and think it’s great that GNOME uses it too. 2004-07-29 8:27 pm Using descriptive button captions has been a part of the Mac HIG for a long time now as well. They are far superior to “Yes, No, Cancel” “OK, Cancel” 2004-07-29 8:30 pm Can you please tell me what makes GNOME a distinct and unique interface? Last time I looked at it I could not find anything other interfaces don’t offer. I think reversing the button order would be o.k. (but in my opinion still unnecessary) if it would be done for ALL Linux applications. But right now some are using the Windows scheme and some the MacOSX scheme and that makes the whole Linux desktop inconsistent. I am a KDE user and really liked to use some gtk apps but the MacOSX like button order and also the horrible new filedialog (the old one was not as good as the KDE one, but it was o.k.) really makes me not using these apps anymore. The best thing would be to make the button order configurable in gtk, so that people that are not running GNOME and using mainly non-gtk apps can still use them without problems. 2004-07-29 8:41 pm Next they’ll want to change the keyboard layout with the escape button on the right and the return button on the left because “we don’t want `no or yes'”. 2004-07-29 8:48 pm This issue has been beat to death, and will not end. I am another of many I hav come across who never actually noticed the different button order until someone mentioned it. It was a strange feeling to notice that some apps had been designed so well that I didn’t notice the fundamental differences. The thing is that the guidelines are there for good reason, and the most important thing is that they are adhered to. 2004-07-29 9:05 pm when apple started the pc revolution, they poured millions into usability tests. a large part of why it feels like there was alot of attention to every aspect of the mac os actually comes from this. everything from menus at the edges of the screen to give targets of infinate size in one direction, to a “V” shaped buffer in hierarchical menus, as our arms dont move in straight lines when manipulating mice. nowhere near this amount of effort was put into windows usability, at least not in the same way. what you end up with is descisions based on “common sense” rather then studies done by HCI professionals. i dont know if this is the case now, but it was when it came to the base design of the OS. yes, you do ask questions as “yes or no”. however, when presented with a small dialogue, for some reason the eye is attracted to the lower right hand side first. hence, “no or yes” came to be. if anyone believes this is wrong, feel free to conduct a usability study (although itll be much harder to find people who havnt seen a confirmation dialogue nowadays) and study their behavior. no-yes makes more sense for new users. no-yes/yes-no makes absolutely no difference for longtime users. so gnome uses no-yes. if you can give them some sort of proof that yes-no is better in any way, them im sure they will listen to you. this really is a non-issue. you see apple influences all over the gnome HIG, and if anything i would like to see more, not less.to my knowledge, noone has spent the money on usability that apple has. the question should really be, why havnt more people based their interfaces off of apples work? 2004-07-29 9:16 pm you obviously are not a developer. users alwas complain. alwas. if there is nothing left to complain about, they will complain its too slow on general principal. there is alot going on when you use a computer that you honestly arnt aware of. for example, do you know its almost twice as fast to use a mouse for text and menu selections then using the keyboard? chances are, no. users never know, because the way the brain works, you perceive it as being faster. (ill find some links to that if you want, i didnt believe it myself at first) the question is, do you cater to what the user needs, or the users perception of what he/she needs? there was a shift of this at apple recently, and the company has never been doing better, even though all the pre osx users find the changes absolutely redicules. windows also has alwas catered to the perception rather then the fact when it comes to these things. and it is the most widely used operating system on the planet. so the question should be, should something be done wrong because people dont understand but want it anyways? or should things be done right, and let people come to realise the efficiency gain in their own time? i perfer the latter approach, even though it pisses off users in the short term it is better in the long run. but hey, if it is such an issue for you use kde, which if anything is tech wise quite superior. the only reason to use gnome is because of the effort in usability that they have been putting in the last few years. (and that was not a troll, i meant it seriously.) 2004-07-29 9:18 pm Seems like just last week I printed out HIG v1.0… And it was… Please all laugh at me for the need to dead tree it, and now being out of date. 2004-07-29 9:23 pm So you say that just Apple spent millions into usability studys ? How about Microsoft who owns 95% of the Marketshare in Desktops ? They even have a research group who permanently do usability studys day and night. Regardless of that Apple is not the solution that fits everyone. There are people who like Apple, there are people who don’t. Even if this sounds a bit inflamatory, but the people who wrote the HIG have absolutely no name in the computer business and before someone comes up speaking about innovation. Copying stuff from Apple is in no ways innovative, it’s simply stealing. 2004-07-29 9:30 pm The new version of the HIG comes out and all you people do is discuss the button order???????????? Wow, the comment section on OS News gets better and better… 2004-07-29 9:46 pm This issue is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time–people bickering about button order! I mean come on, the buttons have “human readable text” If you can’t read, you shouldn’t be playing with a computer. 2004-07-29 9:49 pm That means that for some, its simply not. Such a situation would be predestined to make such a decision a easy to set option, but the HIG-developing companies just decided to force this on everybody and everyone. Just like companies tend to do. Because they “know better”, than some hobbyist, unemployed students. Chances are that they do. Sun have access to usability labs, video cameras eye movement tracking equippment, trained people conducting the reaserch etc. Having read a couple of books and papers on usability and performed similar tests in the past doesn’t hurt. So tell me someone where GNOME is still a community project when a few companies can dictate an overall design on the project? The companies doing the reaserch are part of the community. Nobody stops you from setting up a lab and prove them wrong. I’m sure your input would be welcome. But if you are just guessing I imagine that the more substantiated work by Sun will be valued higher. Our luck is that the underlying framework is GPL/LGPL, so forks like GoneME can bring Gnome and all the decisions regarding it, its development pace and its “HIG” back to the community which is actually using it. As far as I know Sun is using it Gnome too. The time when the majority of the open source community consisted of people working at home on their spare time is long gone. Nothing will change this. At least not until opensorce for som reason becomes totally irrelevant in the marketplace. Hope that never happen. 2004-07-29 9:56 pm Your views on button ordering are expressions of your anger toward Gnome; they are not genuine. If you feel Gnome should steal from Windows, then don’t say that stealing from Mac is wrong 2004-07-29 9:59 pm > Sun have access to usability labs, video cameras eye > movement tracking equippment, trained people conducting > the reaserch etc. SUN also created CDE > Nobody stops you from setting up a lab and prove them wrong. And Nobody proved that they indeed sit in the lab and did these researches. Their decisions has been forced on us without any feedback. What you need to understand first is that GNOME is a community project and not something SUN is keeping behind their closed doors and nothing they have to decide what we the community, the volunteers and participants of the open source movement want. They can make such decisions on their own closed source propitery moneymaking Desktop Environment if they like. Some days ago someone came into our #goneme IRC channel trying hard to convince people that the GNOME’s way is the right way and that their solution fit everyone and that there are named professors and psychatrists working on these things. I simply asked him some simple questions. Can you prove what you say ?. I wanted him to come up with documents, with the background of these people who decided all this stuff, how their creditibility is, what they did that make them the experts they claim to be, on what stuff their research is based on and so on. And I wanted him to prove that Microsoft’s research fascility is bad or wrong and that Apple (and only Apple) is right with everything. …. he never showed up in the channel anymore … You can talk a lot and repeat the stuff from others as much you want, it doesn’t make it become valid or facts after all. The guy whom I talked to came also up with statistics and stuff like this until I made him understand that all statistics can be altered to fit the needs of those who want to argue. 2004-07-29 10:09 pm Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of the things you criticize about gnome are right and I wish you all the luck with goneme and am really looking forward to some of the patches you initially plan to provide for gnome. And I even do agree that changing the button order wasn’t the wisest decision ever taken, especially as it creates inconsistency when you use gnome apps in other environments. But please let’s get this discussion back on topic. I’m really no expert when it comes to the HIG and I would really like to follow an informed discussion about the new HIG. What has changed? Why has it been changed? Are the changes good or bad? Oh, and of course that doesn’t just go out to oGALAXYo but to all those commenting here. 2004-07-29 10:13 pm [i] Some days ago someone came into our #goneme IRC channel trying hard to convince people that the GNOME’s way is the right way and that their solution fit everyone and that there are named professors and psychatrists working on these things. I simply asked him some simple questions. Can you prove what you say ?. I wanted him to come up with documents, with the background of these people who decided all this stuff, how their creditibility is, what they did that make them the experts they claim to be, on what stuff their research is based on and so on. And I wanted him to prove that Microsoft’s research fascility is bad or wrong and that Apple (and only Apple) is right with everything[i] I want to see your documents, and your evidence that you obviously have readily available. Oh that’s right, you reference Windows’ success. I guess their success totally relies on their button order. That’s not enough though. I doubt the button order would have had a single ill effect to Windows’ success. Actually, the documents and evidence do exist on both ends. People will study and document anything they feel strong interest in. So yes, there are documents I think it’s such a narrow issue, though, and I have no inclination to research the topic. Do you feel that strongly about this? 2004-07-29 10:36 pm what would happen if windows switched their button order now, after having the same order since the very (<3.0) days? im sure usability is a major focus NOW for windows, but it hasnt alwas been that way, and it has for apple. when it comes to foundational stuff like this, i think apple is in far better shape then microsoft. when it comes to the microsoft task approach that they keep trying to get going for example, i would say they have it bang on. having widgets on screen edges makes it *significantly* faster to acquire targets. its something that can very easily be proven. mac takes full advantage of this with the menu bar on the top of the screen. windows has gotten alot better in this regard (look at vs.net), but they are hampered by poor early design, and changing that would alienate their old users (as you were alienated by gnome). this is just an example, but one alot more obvious and easily proven then no-yes. im not saying apple is all knowing and microsoft knows nothing when it comes to usability. there are gems to be gleaned from both, but when one of those gems contradicts the way windows does something does that mean it shouldnt be used? gnome will move forward on good usability choices and risk pissing people like you off. kde wont. i highly suggest moving to kde, it is a fantastic environment you will probably feel alot more at home in, and you wont have to change your work habits that much to use it. i come from a mac background, and find myself much more at home in gnome. this really is a non issue, and shouldnt be the topic of heated conversation let alone a fork. kde exists already. 2004-07-29 10:57 pm The part on the notification area is neat. I don’t know what it is actually new or not since all of the marked yellow. I like how is pretty much says that if an app wants to permanently display an icon it should use an applet instead of the notification area. It also goes on to describe how the windows brought up by the notification area icon should behave. Personally if apps would do this it would be much better. Right now apps like gaim and rhythmbox use the notification area like it is the windows sytem tray. They keep icons in there permanently, and they use it to access the main app window. It is really messy with different applications behaving differently (closing the gaim window leaves gaim open, while closing the rhythbox window closes rhythmbox). They both really need to switch to using an applet and only using the notification for events. It is still early so hopefully we can head this off before it turns into the mess that is the windows system tray. The one thing that worries me in that section is that it also says “Only core GNOME programs may perpetually display an icon in the status area.”. This is wrong in my opinion. Why should an app get to break the rules just because is comes with gnome? The gnome apps should be setting an example of well-behaved hig apps. 2004-07-29 10:59 pm You don’t get it eh ? Half of the current developers and contributors to GNOME hate the choice of current button order (and some other nasty decisions). If you tell everyone of them to move away from GNOME to KDE then you as user won’t see any improvements or changes within GNOME one day because no one cares to support it anymore. I was one who contributed for a couple of years and I left, others who did even more than I for GNOME have left, next ones to leave pretty damn soon too. As more certain individuals make wrong decisions within GNOME as more there leave. One day when Ximian manage to make MONO become part of GNOME again people leave. There are more people actually leaving GNOME than joining it. http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=201237 http://micke.hallendal.net/archives/000170.html http://ed.asisaid.com/blog/index.php?p=40 Here are some interesting stuff you should consider reading. 2004-07-29 11:08 pm My theory is that since a majority of people are right-handed, and as the mouse pointer is like the extension of your hand/arm, reaching into your monitor, onto your “desktop”, most users see/perceive/find the right-most button in a row, first, and therefore it’s logical for it to be the “default” or most common or frequent choice. If the requester/dialog, was a piece of paper you held in your right hand, you would hold it by it’s right hand side, so the window tab should really be on the right instead of on top. (except for left-handed people of course) IMO, the mouse pointer is a very crude tool for interaction. Like eating soup with a toothpick. I hope the next paradim will break free from the need to limit focus/input to one widget at a time. 2004-07-29 11:12 pm Perhaps the button order was changed in order to make sure people actually read whats on screen before changing settings or what not. 2004-07-29 11:35 pm i dont think the situation is quite as dramatic as all that. theres a difference between upset and leaving the project. but honestly, if it gets to that point isnt that a good thing? what will happen at that point is a reorginization of leadership and/or direction for the project. as things stand now, gnome is making outstanding progress with each release. i starting getting into it just when people like you started getting pissed off at it. i happen to agree with you on the mono question. however, if novell succedes and mono becomes the official api, you will see some people leave, but alot more people join. i like the current direction of gnome, so i switched to it from kde. if i grow dissatisfied with gnome, ill switch to something else. the joy of open-source 😉 as for those links, the first two seemed rather devided on the issues you brought up. (as an aside, i agree gconf sucks, but i believe the issue is noone has come up with a superior solution to the same problem) the last was a general dissatisfaction with gnome from an old developer. none of those links come close to the near universal hatred you describe, at most people are devided on those issues. 2004-07-29 11:35 pm The HIG is not meant to please everyone. There’s an old story: An old man, a boy and a mule were going to town. The boy rode on the mule and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. They both agreed that the people were right, so they changed places. Later, they passed some more people that remarked, What a shame he makes that little boy walk.” They then decided they both would walk. Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent mule to ride. So, they both rode the mule Now they passed some more people that shamed them by saying how awful to see such a load on a poor mule. The boy and the man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the mule. As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned. The moral of the story? If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye. Gnome is doing well at designing the HIG and sticking to it! The fact that one person likes it one way, and another likes it another means nothing, but the feedback itself is food for thought–that’s all. Gnome has a good thing going. We should all be doing so well. 2004-07-29 11:55 pm “The one thing that worries me in that section is that it also says “Only core GNOME programs may perpetually display an icon in the status area.”. This is wrong in my opinion. Why should an app get to break the rules just because is comes with gnome? The gnome apps should be setting an example of well-behaved hig apps.” This seems a bit worrying to me too. I can’t think of a good reason for this to be the case… Anyone suggest one? If you make guidelines and want and expect people to follow them, don’t break them your self. That sounds like common sense to me. 2004-07-30 12:02 am All is fine, but any performance improvements??? 2004-07-30 12:25 am When is the first release of Goneme? I want to see what it does better than GNOME or KDE. 2004-07-30 12:29 am I like the order of the buttons, BUT, I wish they would change the stock OK icon. BLECCH! It is… repulsive. All the other GNOME icons are fine, but OK != OK. 2004-07-30 12:36 am 50+ comments just about the button order ?!?!? You guys make the Slashbots look like geniuses. 2004-07-30 1:01 am How did you measure the 10% and 90% gnome users? Via the osnews comment section? 2004-07-30 1:07 am I hated the idea of a registry and Gnome has gone down that road imho a bad decision. IS IT NOT A REIGSTRY !!!!! Only MS is stupid enough to come up with that. Gconf is a collection of XML files that make admining a Gnome desktop easier. 2004-07-30 1:08 am Guys, Gconf has nothing to do with the HIG.. Keep it on topic here please. 2004-07-30 1:31 am Has anyone else had trouble with trees in that you have to explicitly click/double click on the triangle to open or close the item? I would prefer if you could always perform the action on the whole line rather than trying to aim for a little triangle in a display. 2004-07-30 1:43 am “Our luck is that the underlying framework is GPL/LGPL, so forks like GoneME can bring Gnome and all the decisions regarding it, its development pace and its “HIG” back to the community which is actually using it.” You’re a friend of oGALAXYo? Or you are oGALAXYo? At least, you seem to copy the conspiracies from him. There is only 1 fork and its GoneME (terrific name, btw). I’m looking forward to what Ali can do, besides trolling, but i doubt i’ll like his changes given i read the proposals he states on his website. * Spatial can be easily put on and off. Problem solved. If you don’t like the default behavior, whine to your distributor. * “No, yes” button behaviour can be reversed. Problem solved. As for Firefox, it should allow the same to users (IMO). I think via GTK configuration would be the best solution, but who am i. If you don’t like the default behaviour, whine to your distributor. 2004-07-30 1:48 am And I did convert to GNOME even if I once loved KDE. What’s your point? Now I must admit that I didn’t because GNOME pwn3d the world but rather because all the applications I use are based on GTK+ (KDE might have a far superior framework but it doesn’t matter when its apps are cluttered and look like shit) and I never got used to XFCE… but I don’t think GNOME’s demise is near. People don’t seem to realise that too many choices/options is like not enough. IMO, both DEs have to improve in that area. 2004-07-30 3:07 am First look at the document caught my eye. Can someone tell me how do they generate such pages (with color coding for what was changed/added/removed). Is there some free tool to do this? Thanks! 2004-07-30 4:48 am CSS. ______________ Congratulations to the GNOME HIG Team. 2004-07-30 5:13 am So many posts defending Gnome’s button order, but so few have any real reasons. The only reason you guys put forward is that it’s somehow more logical and faster to have a no/yes order. I’d say that’s complete bullshit, but just for the sake of argument, lets assume that people using Gnome are twice as fast as making decisions when presented with a dialog because of the button order. Now how long do you spend looking at dialogs in a day? Perhaps 2 seconds per dialog, lets say 50 dialogs a day. So by using Gnome you may save an absolute maximum of 50 seconds a day!! WOW! What great useability improvement! All hail Gnome the innovator. Satire aside, there is a distinct and concrete disadvantage to having reversed button order. Most people using Gnome or Gnome apps are coming from Windows (yes/no) or KDE (yes/no). I use KDE and its just annoying to use Gnome apps in KDE because now its the odd application where the buttons are reversed. It doesnt matter which way they are but it needs to be consistant across desktops. Both Gnome and KDE started out with the yes/no buttonorder so why the hell break consistancy for no good reason? This is not useability, this is ideaology! 2004-07-30 5:28 am first apply “Accessibility” to the kernel, then u can talk about user interfaces lol 2004-07-30 6:08 am There’s too much offtopic-ness in these reply’s to the article. Only a few of you took the time to read the new HIG 2.0, but anyway here are the updates that I found out: – Understand your audience – More on internationalisation – GConf keys should have short and long descriptions – Notification area as stated before, is totally changed – When a new file is opened in gedit or another it should display in the title bar: Unsaved Document and in a drawing program: Unsaved Drawing. – When files are being changed it should display a *. – Something about progress bars, which does look new to me, you are now required to display text in the progress bar. – More info on how to handle full screen – More info on how to handle drop down lists – How to use scrollbars – and there is more to read for those who are interested… I’m not an expert on the HIG, didn’t help with it or anything, but I wanted to get this thread back on track. The HIG is definitly a good thing, I’m always suprised by how Open Source development works: programming programming and programming without any reflection. When there are problems it is done through a bug report or some other community thing. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this way of working, but it has limitations, most important would be: inefficient work. But this HIG is totally different from what usually is seen in the Open Source world: it just sets a standard that all developers must follow. I really hope that more documents like these will be created by the Gnome people, why not something on legal issues (how to avoid patents for example) or something on documenting the development of a project (UML or something?). Keep on going Gnome-hackers, bring Gnome to the next level. 2004-07-30 7:06 am I didn’t read the specifications and I’ve used Gnome2.6 for the last month only after years with WinNT4. Personally I never cared about the button order, never thought about that. But imho it is more important the icons associated with a text. With text only button I have to read each time. At least, this is me. As an example if I delete a folder I don’t spend time to read what it’s written in button, maybe the first times only. I ask to delete a folder, a dialog ask me if I want to trash it, my eyes go directly to search the trash icon. Finished. First times I’ll look on the text of the button, then I’ll focus on the icon only. I think icons focus is more quickly than text. 2004-07-30 8:22 am The reason is because the superior MacOS X also uses the same button order. What more reasons do you need? 2004-07-30 9:16 am W00T, now there will be even less in my way to efficiently explore all the bugs and non-features of GNOME! Actually, I’m not trying to be funny, for me, that is the sad truth. Everytime when I try GNOME instead of KDE I come across A. Essential settings I can’t change, for example letting Epiphany know where the java binary resides B. Countless bugs, some of which are annoying, like window managing problems with Balsa or PAN not being able to handle ISO-encoded header fields, some of which are really annoying, like Balsa downloading messages over and over again when you enable “leave messages on server”, some of which can lead to data loss, like the awfully bad session management, and for some of which the developers should be really ashamed, like problems with bug-buddy preventing me from reporting bugs 2004-07-30 9:20 am It’s clear that you don’t agree with some directions given by the HIG, but how do think of the concept of having interface guidelines? Will GoneME have guidelines, much like the HIG? 2004-07-30 9:41 am I really don’t like instant apply, and I don’t see how instant apply is more usable. Go read the instant apply section, it talks about how long operations or operations that could conflict should be explicit apply, but everything else should be instant apply. That results in inconsistencies. Why not just scrap instant apply altogether? I don’t see the point to it. GNOME doesn’t follow the “explicit apply on long operations” thing either. I noticed the themes selection dialogs use instant apply, and clicking on something can change all dialogs/WM decorations, etc and it can be quite a delay, depending on the speed of the computer. I find that really offputting, I’d rather have a preview window. btw, I hate button order also, but it’s not hard to get used to. But I do like “descriptive buttons”, I think it’s better than OK/Cancel, as it makes people thing about what they are pressing — I’ve seen problems caused by OK/Cancel first hand (always by novice users, however). 2004-07-30 10:07 am Which comes first “the hen” or “the duck”? Were you expecting the second option to be “the egg”? Next time read the whole question before attempting to answer. @mike and others, how many dialogs in GNOME are “yes/no”? 2004-07-30 10:24 am Most of the people that want this change want it because it creates inconsistency with apps made from other toolkits such as KDE. In Gnome the button text is supposed to be verbs not “Yes” or “No”. Tests with real users show that this creates less hesitation and user errors. So Gnome dialogs will look strange in other environments regardless of button order. Changing the button order will not solve the problem people complain about. To do that Gnome would have to abandon the use of verbs, and that would reduce usability. 2004-07-30 1:46 pm A human can process a word a lot faster than a computer, I find it a shame that a lot of people sit there and say, I don’t like it, its different… None of my stuff is in the same place crap… Honestly unless you have a severe brain problem with processing words into logic, I highly doubt that complaining about button order is valid… my 2p… 2004-07-30 3:43 pm I just have to disagree cause it’s fun. @leo – I love GNOME’s button order! Except now I’m used to seeing dialogs with an english question and a ja oder nein response. Goofy german windows. Gotta love half assed translation. But i find im actually inclined to click the rightmost button anyways. Internet Explorer options, for instance, has “OK”, “Cancel” and “Apply” exactly in that order. In which i usually click apply and then OK. As a reflex I must just look for any button that doesn’t say Cancel. Maybe im just crazy. Also, stuff is just easier to click if they’re in the upper left or bottom right corner. At least for right handed people. Well in reality i don’t really care about the order. It’s just fun pushing your buttons now. But read on… @alex – dvorak rocks your boxers. Everyone thinks about how their desktop is inefficient, which buttons are in the wrong places, etc. Software usability this, accessibility that, etc. But what the real tragedy is hardware. Your keyboard layout is ancient. Desktops have undergone revision after revision, everybody is riding on the bleeding edge of software, yet your keyboard has been at version 1.0 since the Jurassic. Didn’t we learn anything since then? Can’t we change it now? The only bad thing about dvorak, is that everybody else forces you to use QWERTY. It’s not hard to learn and use dvorak and I’m able to go back and type on a regular QWERTY keyboard just fine. But if you use keyboard shortcuts a lot, a pain is that your keyboard shortcuts move around, because operating systems don’t realize that you might want to use something else other that CtrlC and CtrlV for copy and paste. These functions have absolutely nothing to do with the letter they are linked to (How is “V” related to “Paste”?) but instead only related to where they are on the keyboard. I’d be happy to hear from anyone with insight into this problem. Extra Perks : Dvorak forced me to touch type. Also, now people that try to use my computer without permission just assume my keyboard is broken and walk away confused. It’s trivial to switch back to QwERTY for everyone else (ALT+SHIFT on windows) but most people have no idea, so its a nice security side effect. Staggered keys also makes no sense to me either. Whats wrong with sound design? Flip your button order. Change your keyboard layout. Get a UI that makes sense. Organize your desk. You’ll find you’ll be confused for one week, and infinitely more productive for the rest of your life. Unless you’re planning to die within the next couple days, there is absolutely no harm in changing the way you do things. You can always go back to your old habits if it doesnt work out, so whats the harm in trying? I see parallels to smoking. why should we keep the poor design we have just to please this generation? The arguments against the HIG button order were weak at best: 1. We arent really going to save anyone any time, so why bother? Sure, you could say that even if everyone got used to this method, we’d only be saving everybody a few minutes a day. Big deal, really. But its a good design anyways. The slowest thing in computing is the user. If you can speed them up at all, do it. 2.Just leave it like it was! I was used to that! Mac users have had this button order for ages : http://developer.apple.com/ue/images/p_switch_windows_dialogs2.jpg http://developer.apple.com/ue/images/p_switch_windows_layout2.jpg Since everybody is used to Windows and KDE environments are used to the other button order, we should go out of our way to keep it that way, even if it’s senseless? Then not only GNOME, but user interfaces everywhere would cease to improve. Maybe its just the BeOS user in me, but I say get rid of all this legacy crap. If they have a better design, that’s awesome. Let’s do it. And screw QWERTY! 2004-07-30 3:45 pm sorry about all the newlines. stupid text editor borked the message.