Auto-launching of applications

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Sun Feb 22 16:59:50 GMT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Chow Loong Jin wrote on 21/02/09 02:09:
> My concerns exactly. I like the current update-notifier behaviour, and I
> don't doubt many others do. I highly doubt irritating the hell out of
> many users just because some of them have poor icon observation skills
> is a good idea.
> If there must be a solution for users who have poor icon observation
> skills, then let it be one that does not irritate those who do have
> proper icon observation skills. 

Print out a screenshot, actual size, of the panel containing the
updates-available icon. Show it to fifty people who've used computers
before but haven't seen Ubuntu before, individually, and ask them what
that particular icon means.

Out of those fifty people, how many people do you think will guess it
has anything to do with software updates? Two of them, perhaps? Three?

If your benchmark for of "those who do have proper icon observation
skills" covers only a tiny proportion of the target population, it's a
useless and disingenuous benchmark.

And again, it's not a problem with that particular icon design; it would
be a problem with any design at that size. It's a problem with trying to
convey a bureaucratic idea in a 22×22-pixel space.

> Perhaps a persistent, dismissable notification would be good, though I
> understand this goes against the whole idea of the new notification
> system for Ubuntu. 

Update Manager *is* a persistent, dismissable notification. The most
important difference, interaction-wise, between it and a persistent
notification bubble is that Update Manager doesn't float in front of
everything else you're doing.

> Anyway, I currently see the update-notifier approach being used for
> other GNOME applications like Evolution, which puts an icon in the
> notification area if you have new mail. If you're going to change this
> behaviour to make update-manager pop up on its own, why not do a
> complete job and change Evolution to steal focus when you have new
> mail? (That, and every other application which uses this approach)

Because, as demonstrated by almost the entire mobile phone market, the
envelope icon is understandable to a sufficiently large proportion of
users. And because stealing focus is never a good idea, which is why
no-one has suggested that Update Manager should do it either.

- --
Matthew Paul Thomas
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