Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

PLD's GNOME menus need help. There's the good, where everything that shows up is pretty expected, the icons look good:

Games, well titled with pretty icons
The games category.

Then there's the bad: the text is inane and repetetive. The icons are nearly indistinguishable, and the category itself, "office" is wrong — grandma, writing a letter to her kid, is not thinking of an "office", she is trying to write a letter. Evolution is not under Internet, like I expect it to be, and it feels like miscelany:

Menu entries under the category "office": "OpenOffice" this, "OpenOffice that"
The Office Category

And then there's the ugly:

Menu entries titled "bc" and "dc", under a heading "edutainment", with identical icons


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you, yes. I've always hated Open Office's icons. Stupid and useless.
May. 12th, 2005 09:44 pm (UTC)

I find dc and bc both educational and entertaining! Doesn't everyone?

May. 12th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)
yes, but that does not make Edutainment a word.
May. 12th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC)

I showed this to other people on IRC. One person commented, on his way out:

<mendel> ok, really going to bed now, if I can pull myself away from dc

May. 13th, 2005 09:12 am (UTC)
May. 12th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
That's bc(1) ?
May. 12th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)
May. 12th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
gnome fun..
...and that's why I hate GNOME - in my KDE I have bc and dc in Education->Science->Math and it doesn't hurt anyone. I have absolutely no idea why GNOME tends to minimize the menu levels, it makes it impossible to find anything when you get a "half the screen tall" menu with a lot of useless apps...
May. 13th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
Re: gnome fun..
Augh, that's just as bad -- half-empty folders, layered deep.

Of course, I have tendonitis that comes and goes in my right arm. My mouse hand shakes. Minimizing the menus to what I actually use helps usability a ton.

I'm frustrated with both -- no, all -- systems.
May. 13th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC)
Re: gnome fun..
one of these days i'm gonna buy you a mac
May. 13th, 2005 12:43 am (UTC)

It ticks me off that “Other” isn’t last. My mother (or someone else, maybe) claimed to have met a teacher who would put test choices like:

  1. e
  2. 3
  3. π
  4. none of the above
  5. all of the above

Alphabetization is a fine thing, but a miscellany category deserves special treatment.

May. 13th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
May. 13th, 2005 07:22 am (UTC)
Thanks, Patrys, for starting the conversation on conversation on pld-devel-en
May. 13th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
Just an idea:

What if we split /etc/xdg/menus/applications.menu into:

applications.menu containing non-KDE, non-console, non-X11 apps
applications-kde.menu containing only KDE apps
applications-console.menu containing only console apps
applications-x11.menu containing only core X11 apps (xterm, xclock, ...)

Then create a small pyGTK application with 3 checkboxes (KDE, console, X11) writing ~/.config/menus/applications.menu to contain [MergeFile]...[/MergeFile] for each clicked option?

I am not sure if it is able to nicely merge more than one main file but according to the specs this should be possible.

-- Patrys
May. 13th, 2005 09:54 am (UTC)
I think that (especially under linux, where most people are comfortable with the command line) the default menu items should be 'functional' rather than labelled with the name of the app. Hence "Simple Calculator", "Scientific Calculator", "RPN Calculator", "Word Processor (OpenOffice.org Foo)", "Spreadsheet (OpenOffice.org Bar)" etc.
May. 13th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
I'm torn: partly, the people I'm getting to know are less and less knowlegeable about the commandline. Functional labels are good for those that neither know the command line at all and will never, and are okay for those that know it intimately, but the middle ground, I think, benefits from having applications proper names visible at all times.

When a tech asks "Are you using Epiphany?", and someone has no idea, that's bad. If you only ever see "Web Browser" and "EMail Program", the command line will be hugely mysterious when told to type a command like epiphany or mozilla-firefox. If they're familiar with the proper names, the why of the commandline suddenly is much easier to grasp. It seems less like magic words and more like a tool with a comprehensible system to it.

Names of programs are proper names. It makes no more sense to call Epiphany "Web Browser" than it does to call you "Human". It just confuses things when talking about them, which I find is just as important as using them.
May. 13th, 2005 01:33 pm (UTC)
Names of programs are proper names. It makes no more sense to call Epiphany "Web Browser" than it does to call you "Human". It just confuses things when talking about them, which I find is just as important as using them.

That's a good point. OTOH, linux is 90+% of the time a 'switched to' operating system, and the sheer plethora of new programs at one time can get overwhelming (when you buy a windows machine you learn to do one thing at a time, but if you then switch to linux you have all these tasks that you *already* know how to get a computer to do, but you have no idea what the appropriate programs are). One option would be to have what every program does in brackets after its menu name (ideally, with a description toggle). Another is *really* good "how do I" documentation that steps users through the right tools for common tasks. It's mostly a matter of time until the linux programs get as well known as their windows equivalents, I guess.
May. 14th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
Agreed. And the core set are slowly moving to be named obviously. "Writer" isn't bad. Also, the default set can be relatively small, and that helps a lot.

After seeing people baffled by the plethora on Windows, it's nice to see things making a bit more sense.

(By the way, I set up linux mostly for first-time computer users.)
May. 14th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC)
There's another thing. OpenOffice apps have meaningless names.

What the heck is Calc? Why is it different than Math?

Who can I Impress?

Is Web a browser or what?

-- Patrys
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )