3 or 4 options for Desktop-Effects capplet?
Matthew Paul Thomas
mpt at canonical.com
Sun Sep 23 06:28:47 BST 2007
On Sep 23, 2007, at 1:24 AM, Mirco Müller wrote:
> Am Freitag, den 21.09.2007, 22:02 +0200 schrieb Mirco Müller:
>> I'd also like to hear your suggestions and opinions on the wording
>> and layout.
> Taking the advice from others, this looks currently like the way it
> is going:
This is an improvement over the previous versions. There are some minor
problems with the language:
* The word "effects" appears ten times, which is roughly eight times
too many for one tab.
* The phrase "this setting" appears four times, which is four times
too many. It is appropriate (and common) for sentences in a
control's caption to have the user's activation of the control as
their implicit subject. For example, you can rewrite "With this
setting you will get a simple desktop environment..." as "Provides a
simple environment...", or even just "A simple environment...".
* Avoid using the word "will" in instant-apply options.
* "Window effects" and "performance requirements" should not be
* "Normal Effects" should not be italicized.
* "Demands" should be "requires".
* "More capable" would be simpler written as "faster".
* "Einstellungen..." should end with an ellipsis.
However, I think a much bigger problem is that these options say
nothing about what they actually do. What is a "desktop effect",
anyway? (Is that where I have an aquarium next to the computer on my
desktop?) What is the difference between "desktop effects" and "window
effects"? What do you mean by "improve usability"? If one of these
options provides a "good balance", why do the other options even exist?
And do "performance requirements" apply to me, the computer, or
It may be impossible to describe the options usefully in a few words.
But if it isn't, then don't use so many words in the first place. Just
provide one intro sentence, then have a slider labelled "Faster" at one
end and "Snazzier" at the other. (Similar to the hardware acceleration
settings in Windows.)
I also think the first option will make little sense to those people
who aren't familiar with the implementation details. For example, when
you double-click on an icon and the cursor turns into a spinning disc,
that is an effect. And when you minimize a window in Metacity and its
outline zooms into the window list, that is an effect. So "a simple
desktop environment without any effects" doesn't really mean what it
says. "Minimal" would be a more accurate term to use here.
Finally, if there are no really good icons for each of the options,
don't be afraid to go without icons. It will make the interface
simpler, and it will make the clickable area for the radio buttons more
obvious. (Disclaimer: I think Gnome overuses icons generally.)
To summarize, I suggest: Rename "Desktop Effects" to "Effects". Rename
"No effects" to "Minimal", and remove the word "Effects" from the other
options. Produce *useful* one-sentence summaries of each option, to
replace the existing captions. If that isn't possible, don't use
captions at all, and consider using a slider instead. And consider
removing the icons.
Matthew Paul Thomas
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