Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

Sebastien Bacher seb128 at ubuntu.com
Mon Jan 2 16:11:35 UTC 2012

Le 28/12/2011 20:40, Nenad Lecek a écrit :
> Dear all,

> as I don't know where to put my comments about Ubuntu 11.10 usability, 
> I'm posting here. My apologies if this is not the right place, and I'd 
> be grateful if you point me where to post my comment.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience about Unity, seems quite 
a lot got discussed already on the list with other replies so I will 
just give some extra informations
> IMHO, the Unity is unnecessary, harmful step in wrong direction. The 
> Unity doesn't help to make user interface more intuitive. Even worse, 
> it is not solely the issue of quality of implementation, the Unity 
> design doesn't have potential to serve the user well. My 
> recommendation is to make the Unity optional and certainly not default 
> user interface for Ubuntu. Gnome  Classic Ubuntu desktop really fits 
> much, much better.
That's your opinion and a valid one but not one that everybody out there 
share. User testing on different groups of people, including non 
technical ones, indicated that unity is seeing as a step forward and a 
better interface that the old gnome "classic" by most users. They find 
it better looking and easier to use.

Now keep into account that unity is new, many of the flaws you list and 
other usability issues are known and will be worked, it just didn't 
happen yet.
> 1) Appearing/disappearing left side toolbar doesn't bring anything 
> compared to Gnome Classic Ubuntu desktop and menu. Why?

The next version of unity will have an option for not hiding the 
launcher (the left bar), if you don't like the appearing,disappearing 
you will be able to easily change it.

> Simply put if you know that you have couple of menus where you 
> programs are, this is much better/faster than unnecessary 
> dynamic/uncertainty which Unity provides. BTW, Classic gnome desktop 
> we had in previous Ubuntu versions was really well structured. Unity 
> doesn't provide that.

The menus were never "well structured" no,
- categories are not obvious for most people (what is the difference 
between accessories, system tools in the application menu and the system 
menus? where is the "take a screenshot"?)
- the menus had too many items making it hard to find for what you want
- if you like categories you still have similar categories as filters in 

> Personally, I do not see the point of promoting Unity as the only 
> desktop on Ubuntu, because classic gnome desktop was well structured 
> and good enough. Eventually, only search capability like in Unity 
> could have been added, although this functionality in Unity is far 
> from good, currently is just minor convenience.
> 2) The application menu is shown in main menu toolbar. This is 
> annoying at best, and from usability point of view very it is a really 
> poor choice.

That's a known issue and people are looking at addressing it.
Note that it's only an issue for people who use the menus a lot, in most 
applications the toolbar icons should be enough for most actions. Look 
at somebody using firefox and how much they use the menus for example. 
That's not to dismiss the fact that it is an issue for some users, it's 
just not one for everybody

> 3) Performance consideration: seems so that Unity eats performance and 
> batteries on laptops. Again, no value in service it provides in return.

That's a known issues and high on the list of things to address this cycle

> 4) Search applications capability in Unity is really poorly designed 
> and of limited usage. In some cases, you almost have to know exact 
> name so that application you are searching for could be found. In 
> others searching application itself has confusing, complex user 
> interface. This could have been done much better.

Suggestions on how to improve are welcome. The search capability is not 
"really poorly designed", it's rather than applications don't provide a 
lot of things to search for out of the menu title and description. The 
search feature does support keywords though and there are plans to 
increase their use starting this cycle, that should improve things quite 
a bit if most common applications define a solid set of keywords.

> Simplicity in user design, down-to-earth logic could guide designers 
> to much better user experience with Ubuntu.
You should like unity then, its "simplicity" is somebody most people who 
dislike it complain about ;-)

Sebastien Bacher
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