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Re: scrollbars [was: Re: really attracting developers]

From: jhclouse
Subject: Re: scrollbars [was: Re: really attracting developers]
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 12:22:45 -0700

---- phil taylor <address@hidden> wrote: 
> The many different ideas of what consitutes the ideal GUI, with what is
> silly to one person is sensible to another, shown on this mailing list,
> clearly seem to demonstrate that a GUI that is to appeal to a wide
> audience needs to be configurable. Anything less is destined only to
> find a small niche market at best.

The Windows GUI is not configurable at all (you can change cosmetic things 
about it, but you cannot use vertical floating menus or a Mac style menu) and 
it dominates the market.  The Mac GUI is not configurable either, really, and 
it dominates the little space that Windows leaves behind.  So no, GUI 
configurability is not the key to success.  The key to success is "being in the 
right place at the right time."  GNUstep has suffered from this more than 
anything else, as has the HURD.  If GNUstep had been in its current state in 
1996-1997, things would probably have been quite different.  Likewise, if 
OPENSTEP/Mach had matured in the early 80s instead of the early 90s, it would 
very likely have been much more successful.

That being said, I'm glad that themes and different menu styles are available 
in GNUstep and I think the default theme for GNUstep should be Nesedah.

> When you design an interface, you cannot assume that what you like
> someone else will like. Perhaps thats obvious.

Well, it's more than just what somebody will like.  In the case of Apple and 
NeXT, significant psychological research went into studying the way humans 
read, write, and interact with computer interfaces.  As an example, we read 
from left-to-right in Western cultures and this effects our priority when 
performing a visual scan of an object.  That's a fact that cannot be denied and 
has nothing to do with subjective appraisal of an interface.

Now what you like on first contact has a lot to do with previous experience but 
very little to do with actual suitability.  The GUI for Blender 3D is an 
excellent example of this.  It's different from other similar tools and people 
often complain about it when first using it.  But after a short time, they 
never want to go back to anything else.  The increase in productivity and 
decrease in frustration is impossible to argue against.

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