[hoary] initial usability reactions

David Feldman mailing-lists at interfacethis.com
Wed Nov 17 02:15:45 UTC 2004

Just got Hoary working on my PowerBook, thanks to some speedy 
bug-fixing by the Ubuntu team. Neat.

Some initial usability-related reactions from a UI designer who can't 
help butting in:

- Particularly for those switching from Windows or Mac, the desktop 
itself is a bit bare. I'd like to see the various options that put 
Trash,  Computer, and Home icons on the desktop enabled by default, to 
increase familiarity and provide a few extra "oh, I can click on that!" 
sorts of things. They would also serve as a handy indication to new 
users that everything has loaded up properly. It would be cool to have 
a Network icon as well.

- Some Linux distros have a handy feature wherein readable partitions 
other than those in /etc/fstab are automatically displayed on the 
desktop the same way removable media is. It would be extremely cool if 
Ubuntu did that, and again a great thing for non-technical users to 
have. (The average computer user probably shouldn't be editing 
/etc/fstab and may not realize, coming from Windows or Mac, that other 
partitions need to be explicitly mounted...and, ideally, they shouldn't 
have to be.)

- I've mentioned these before, but I would love to see a more unified 
(and perhaps slicker) collection of icons than the GNOME defaults. I 
suppose that's less a usability comment and more an aesthetic one, but 
there you go. Bridging the usability-aesthetics gap, I'd also still 
like to see the default theme provide a little more of a 3D effect on 
controls to help users recognize their "clickability".

- It would be cool to see more GUI admin tools available, either 
through Synaptic or installed by default. Fedora does a pretty nice job 
of this with its various config tools for enabling and disabling 
services, configuring Samba, etc.

Just my two cents. Hope it's helpful.


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