Are UI developers all left handed?

John Moser john.r.moser at
Wed Aug 8 17:52:45 UTC 2012

On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM, Jordon Bedwell <jordon at> wrote:

> It has a lot of bearing for people.  Proper usability testing would have
> pointed that out, and Canonicals decision not to allow the toolbar to be
> on the right if users wanted is completely ignorant, more ignorant then
> the joke of a Usability test Canonical did...

And Gnome with the Activities button

And Apple with MacOSX, which Unity mimics; though if I wanted to go on
a tirade about Unity specifically, I'd say something about menus at
the top of the screen (which has become relevant with 26 inch wide
screen displays at 1920x1080, where maximizing things is ridiculous
and so windows float around on the screen... 2 clicks to open "File"
on that window over there instead of 1).

UI design is something everyone's an expert in and nobody gets right.
Focus groups and thick tomes on "User Interface Design Principles" and
they still bring out ridiculousness.

GNOME2 for example is so great precisely because it's familiar and
sensible--it looks kind of like everything else, though with the panel
at the top that's new territory for a Windows guy... but at least the
menus are organized in a sensible way.

Gnome Shell is closer.  Tap Activities, everything is there.  Start
typing, it searches through programs.  Mouse on the right side, play
with virtual desktops.  Drag and drop to move windows around,
seriously point and grab.  Seems like everything is in perfect context
and works so obviously well... ... But then when you start trying to
muck about with the stuff at the bottom right (notification icons),
they don't always work as expected.  Sometimes you get kicked back out
to the desktop for unknown reasons trying to get information out of
'em.  The notification at the bottom of the screen covers a third of
it, in the center, but prevents mouse clicks from going through on
that entire horizontal area (plug in a USB drive?  The bottom 3 inches
of your screen are unusable until you dismiss the pop-up!).

Windows is a mess.  Windows 7 is an even bigger mess, to the point
that I can't figure out where stuff is.  Now apparently I have
Documents and Downloads and Pictures, I'm not sure where it all goes,
some of this is new, some of it moved.  I appear to have a Home folder
now that CONTAINS Documents, and some stuff randomly saves there
instead of "My Documents" ... oh, and inside there I have two folders
named Desktop, two folders named "My Documents", "My Music", "My
Pictures", etc.. but only one "Contacts" or "Downloads" or "Favorites"
folder.  And they split these things that are "Mine" up between
"Favorites" (Desktop, Downloads) and "Libraries" (Documents, Music,
Pictures) on the navigation pane in Explorer, instead of just calling

I hate Unity but I think I'd have trouble making a decent argument,
given the above.  Really I just want to know why EVERYTHING except
Windows (which doesn't do anything useful in the first place) puts the
useful stuff in the top left when it's ergonomically and
biomechanically [B-B-B-BUZZWORD C-C-C-COMBO!] easier to move your hand
away and outward from your body.  I don't think we can really blame
Canonical for that.

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