[LAU] Some new things to play with

Arnold Krille arnold at arnoldarts.de
Wed Oct 13 23:16:58 UTC 2010


On Wednesday 13 October 2010 22:58:52 Philipp Überbacher wrote:
> In my opinion the whole color business is completely overrated. I
> personally hardly give a crap about how consistent or inconsistent
> colors are, there are lots of more important things.

Yes, tell that to the visually impaired users of your software... For some of 
them, the ability to change the color-scheme (or even better just using the 
system-wide scheme) is _vital_. Or at least the only why to use your beloved 
The same goes for fonts (type-face and sizes) and if you can use icons from 
the systems default, it will help users find the actions in the menus too.

> Also a lot more important than colors are shortcuts. 'Desktop guys',
> those people who dictate what a desktop should look like and how it
> should work, seem to be mostly 'mousers' who care about shiny icons and
> wallpapers to show off their cool desktops to windows users.

This probably applies to gnome only...
KDE is very much keyboard usable and if the default shortcuts (with system-
wide presets) don't fit your style, you can change them both system-wide and 
application wide. Did I mention that you can have two shortcuts at the same 
time for each action?

> Shortcuts
> are IMHO where the real usability improvements can be made.
> A simple practical example:
> I want to close a program. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Just from the
> programs I often use I know the following shortcuts:
> 1) CTRL+q
> 2) CTRL+w

Both are valid. CTRL+q shuts down the app, CTRL+w closes the window (like 
ALT+F4 does). Sometimes both result in the same, sometimes not (depending if 
the app can be running as a systray-icon.

One more example:
There are several 'common' ways to search: '/', CTRL+F and F3. Now guess how 
many of these chromium provides. And web-browsing is one of the most mouse-
centric things!
(For a laugh: chromium is the only app I use daily that is _not_ reacting to 
CTRL+Q to quit the app, you have to use CTRL+Shift+Q...)

> The option to quit a program is probably the one thing almost all
> programs share, yet there's no consistency at all and I have to try on
> average three different shortcuts to get the desired result (or use my
> window managers shortcut..). That's really ridiculous. If you care about
> colors when there's a mess like this around I think somethings wrong.

Here is the interesting thing: Using the big, bad (really?) toolkits, you get 
that consistency for free. Its only the small 'we know better then all others' 
who struggle with this...
Which is why I am advocating the use of the more widely adopted toolkits.

I may sound offensive, which I don't intent. What I am trying to say is that 
adhering to standards will free your mind from thinking about these basic 
things. Which results in more time to think about the actual job your app 
does. Which should result in more and better apps.

Have fun,

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