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Re: bad UI defaults

From: Luc Teirlinck
Subject: Re: bad UI defaults
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 20:32:21 -0500 (CDT)

Richard Stallman wrote:

       I'm surprised to hear you use that as an argument.  Rather than
       `better looking', let's have `more usable'.

   If there is a clear and convincing argument for what is more usable,
   then probably we should follow it.  But is there a clear usability
   difference here?

I do not see what "convincing arguments" have to do with this.  You
either have perfect vision and clearly see the arrows and the
difference between the two states of the boxes (such as enabled and
disabled options) in the current default, or you do not.  These are
biological differences, rather than differences in opinion.  To me,
the arrows do not stand out very clearly (in the default), but I have
no real problems seeing them and, the difference between the states of
the boxes is somewhat "fuzzy", but visible nonetheless.

       > 2002-04-29  Pavel Janík  <address@hidden>
       >        * xlwmenu.c <XtNmargin, XtNverticalSpacing, XmNshadowThickness>:
       >        Change default values.

       So these things are customizable?  No-one said so before as far as I
       remember, and it doesn't look as though the manual is complete and
       correct now.

   If there are additional X resources, I'd like to list them in the
   manual.  Could someone tell me the details?

All three values whose defaults were changed are documented in
(emacs)Lucid Resources.  Only `shadowThickness' seems to have anything
to do with the problem.  Putting:

Emacs.pane.menubar.shadowThickness: 2

in one's .Xdefaults should make the boxes and arrows stand out a lot
better.  Conceivably, this might come at the expense of making things
"uglier" for people with normal vision.  Values 3 and above definitely
start to look weird, but 2 still looks reasonable.  Things also seem
to be affected by `background', but color is an area where individual
differences can vary extremely widely.

I have no strong opinion on the subject.  Maybe one could just point
out more clearly in (emacs)Lucid Resources that `shadowThickness' and
maybe `background' are the things to customize for people having these
kinds of problems.

Personally I would prefer boxes with check marks.  These are a lot
clearer and, to me, also look better.  I do not believe that the Lucid
menu widgets offer this as an alternative, however.



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