[LAU] Some new things to play with

Philipp Überbacher hollunder at lavabit.com
Thu Oct 21 22:52:47 UTC 2010

Excerpts from Arnold Krille's message of 2010-10-14 01:16:58 +0200:
> Hi,
> 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 
> apps.
> 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.

It seems seriously visually impaired people use CLI tools. Font sizes
are a whole different topic from colors.

> > 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?

I know neither well, but I constantly run into programs that are
obviously designed for mouse usage.

> > 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.

Alt+F4 is either a windows or DE thing. It seems ctrl+w and ctrl+q is
rather common, but see my examples further down this reply.

> One more example:
> There are several 'common' ways to search: '/', CTRL+F and F3. Now guess how 
> many of these chromium provides.

I've only come across F3 in htop, afaik. ctrl+f seems to be dominant in
windows land and / in linux land. No idea, never used chromium, but the
programs I use usually provide one shortcut per action.

> And web-browsing is one of the most mouse-
> centric things!

Why do you think so? I don't see any reason for this and know examples
to the contrary, cli browsers, uzbl, luakit, firefox with vimperator,

> (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.

Not my observation, examples I have to deal with regularly:
smplayer: mainstream mplayer frontend, qt4 and quits only on ctrl+x
epdfview: quits only on ctrl+w and is a rather mainstream gtk2 program
eclipse: quits only on ctrl+f followed by x, a mainstream java program

Those use the biggest toolkits out there, and are totally inconsistent.

> 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,
> Arnold

I bet I sound a lot more offensive :)
I basically agree with you, but I don't see those standards. All I see
are big DEs each cooking their own soup. From my perspective they only
make my life harder, because each of those thinks they're right and are
thus maybe even a hindrance to a real standard. What annoys me most is
that they see their own DE, maybe 'the other one' and completely ignore
everyone else. Their 'standards', even if they make some sense, tend to
completely ignore non-DE users. It seems to be a lock-in game. That's
why I despise DEs so much.


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