Archive for février 2007

Task Tabs

février 26, 2007

Simply make a taskbar with tabs.


When for a given application there’s more than one window, the number appears on the tab (nothing new here), then one can expand horizontally the tab showing the windows by name.
One can expand a tab vertically as a drawer, the user decides how he wants to display the windows, either by name or with thumbnail. The user can as well put in the tab some tools or utilities of the application e.g for a web browser, the personnal bookmark.
Eventually there’s a scrolling bar, though one could also set the height of the drawer as needed.
Hovering an object displays information in the prompt. Though, it could be displayed with a layer as well.

There’s a tab too for the desktop, then, instead of put it in front, one just have to expand the tab to get its content. It could be the same for the trash folder.

By this mean, one can have a quick overview upon some documents related to a global task.

Let’s the user getting access to the functionalities

février 21, 2007

Currently GNOME is flamed about printing dialog, not enough functionalities. Maybe one better has to uncouple the back-end from the front-end.
Let’s say a driver, its functionalities are accessible through a set of keys which differents kind of values (boolean, integer…), something like Gconf. Then, with a GUI-toolkit, the user picks the keys that he needs and figure out graphicaly their values as he wants. By this means, everything being equal, people from GNOME can make their desktop environment as they think it ought to be; if the user disagree, he just has to change it.
No more flames about the printing dialog, just maybe that GNOME requires from the user some extra-works. Even not. If people can also share their customizations, the desktop environment developement will become a matter of back-end. Hence the front-end could be let to the user or to some communities of users.
Sure, my opinion is quite simple, but the technologies developement is better when they are uncoupled.


The GUI-toolkit

février 17, 2007

It could be a good thing if the GUI-toolkit used by the developers was shared with the user. Standardized GUIs are well conceived, nonetheless that doesn’t mean that they fit to the user needs and so on. Try every theme avialable on your desktop, let aside the look and feel, the structure doesn’t change but is more or less clear depending the theme.
So, having a lot of themes is great as well as to customize a toolbar, but that doesn’t touch really to the layout structure nor to its behaviours. That seems to be the same thing to have a lateral pane instead of a drawer, but not for the user because this is a subjective preference which corresponds to a reality at use. Last but not least, only the user knows what could be the best for him.


Of course, I let aside the kind of GUI-toolkit requiered for this purpose, obviously, it should be WYSIWYG, easy to use and so on; it could be a front-end able to struggle with GTK, Qt and Co°, or whatever. But, at least, there will be something in common between the developers and the users, that seems to be a win-win deal. Excepted for the consulting buisness in GUI design.

Contextual menu

février 17, 2007

What could be said about that ? Certainly, the philosophy there, is to give an access by a right-click to some functions that the target don’t present or offer itself. It’s not true under GNOME: the contextual menu of a launcher offers to launch the launcher, action which can be done by a simple click (is it not the function of a launcher?)
Now, what does one put in this utility? The choice could be completely arbitrary indeed. In other words, what is the context here? Well, in fact, there’s nothing really contextual, it’s just a remote control with a selection of functions.
So, one could let the user editing the contextual menu but, since it’s just a remote control, it seems better to provide a personal area like this one:


One puts there what one needs or used to use. Depending the task or the job to do, one gets directly the relevant tools of the software. Not really useful on 15″ screen monitor, but very useful on a 20″ and more. Ok, I’m not sure, but it’s not very new.

In Between

février 3, 2007

This category is created to list the utilities, programs and whatever which could stand between the user and a operating system, or a information system. Some third terms upon which one could enable an user interface a little more closed to the communication scheme.

Calendar, bookmarks, contact and tags these things are the easiest. This is mainly about content and its management, so a content managment system could be this third term.

Well, calendar is different since it is about event through the time but not primarly about content. Nonetheless, when one considers a mailer one has in this case some contents which are tied to some events: awaiting or giving a answer, for example. Further, the event is also an action, more exactly its output, hence, one retrieves here the cybernetic scheme: people have a common goal, they transmit and receive some content, perform some action upon it accordingly to the goal. This implies that content isn’t just a set of data, but can be a call to some action through the time just because there is a common finality. Maybe this is why some mail client present a task manager but this function doesn’t have to belong to the client only because most of these tasks involve somebody else. In this regard the mail notification scheme is more relevant since it gives a feedback about an event/action.

So far, one imagines the user as the person in front of a computer, though one can consequently include the developer as an indirect user. This is the case each time one does a bug report, either through the web or through a bugtracking program. Of course, this purpose is really complexe but it’s just to give the idea: the user is a broad notion.

If one sticks only to the solely user then, some other functions could be stand as a third term. For example the window manager. It’s primarly a service to the programs which are a set of service to the user. The window manager could be a service for the both, a common service. At use there is no difference between a window and an icon, in appearance one does more or less the same things. Maybe each object of a GUI could be a window. Certainly too much work for a single window manager and a poor graphics card, but let’s that aside. The main idea is that the system has to cope with the pixels meanwhile the user has to manage the limited space of the screen. Hence there is here again a common concern.

If you have a look at this post, feel free to comment the kind of thing which could be in between.