Some usability ideas for Ubuntu

Tristan Wibberley maihem at
Fri Mar 17 00:09:25 UTC 2006

Anil Kumar wrote:
> Hi all... I have managed to write some usability ideas for dapper. Please take a look, comment, and implement in final release of dapper or next Ubuntu.
> Here is the thread:
 > 1. Firefox
 >     Clicking address bar in firefox should highlight the entire
 > address. At present I have to click and erase the existing address
 > first... only then I can enter the new website address. The same
 > stands true for most applications in Ubuntu - the existing text entry
 > does not get highlighted by default.

This does not fit the Linux interface, it sounds like you have come over 
to Linux from Windows, welcome, and I hope you enjoy your stay :). In 
Firefox on Linux, clicking on the favicon next to the address selects 
the address (without diddling the X Windows cut buffer).

FYI, there is a special text-only cut&paste feature of the X Window 
System where merely selecting text makes it available for pasting via a 
click of the middle mouse button. If you select an URL, and you want to 
paste it into the address bar, selecting the address that's already 
there so you could delete it would wipe out your previous selection - so 
you'd paste the old address back in. By clicking the favicon with the 
middle mouse button, it will replace the address with the new url and go 
there. Very speedy.

 > 2. PDF printer
 >     A generic pdf printer should be installed for global system use by
 > default, and...

I thought it was.

 >     ... the newly created pdf files should open up by evince or other
 > pdf viewers by default rather than the user digging the home directory
 > to open them.

An interesting idea, perhaps it shouldn't be saved by default, but just 
opened with evince offering to save when you close it.

 > (Minimize number of mouse clicks to get the job done -->
 > increase productivity).

That all depends on what you're trying to do, but I think you would 
normally want it open as you say, if evince had a menu item to send as 
new email, and other things like that.

 > Also, when a PDF file gets created for the
 > first time, the user should get an alert that "pdf file has been
 > created in your home/pdf directory" and a checkbox for "don't show
 > this message again".

I don't think that would be necessary if it were opened instead of saved.

 > 3. Universal media player
 >     The official media player of Ubuntu should be able to play usual
 > media files, streaming music, CDs, DVDs. Currently many of these
 > features are scattered over different candidates (AmaroK, XMMS,
 > Rhythmbox etc). I wish someone could combine the powers of all these
 > programs in one so that one program does it all.

People don't just have a "play media" task in their minds. They will 
want a jukebox when they want some background music, a traditional media 
player when they are watching a movie, a media scheduler when they want 
to set up a queue of movies to play one after the other (totem has 
this), and possibly a panel-embedded play, stop, skip interface for 
media started from "browse" tasks, like the web browser or nautilus.

 > 4. Evolution
 >     Evolution should be able to minimize to the notification area by
 > default.

I don't understand, what do you need that for that closing it doesn't 

 > 5. Realplayer
 >     Version 10 installer wanted in synaptic, instead of realplayer8.
 > The proposed universal media player in Ubuntu (see 3 above) should be
 > able to play real media as well.

You should contact about supporting it better or open-sourcing 
it - or at least writing a gstreamer plugin.

 > 6. Preferred applications
 >     Not only browser and email program, but also programs to open
 > usual files should be listed, with an option of adding a
 > filetype/program. We can have a third tab for this.

This dialogue is for programs that want to specifically start a web 
browser window or your email program. Filetype associations are handled 
by nautilus - directly at the file. The preferred applications dialogue 
once had a full and reconfigurable list of uri schemes handlers, it 
would be nice to see that come back, but I think that would need support 
from GNOME.

 > 7. More tooltips
 >     Some sort of tooltips should be created for new users of Linux to
 > make their work easier... I know we have tooltips for many programs
 > but we need more of them...

You should report bugs at for each program that is missing 
valuable tooltips - listing which items are missing them.

 >     Does someone know whom should I contact if I have written some
 > tooltips?

See above. I'm sure the developers will be pleased as punch to be given 
a list of suggested tooltips in the bugs you report.

 > 8. Low disk space notification
 >     Low disk space notification should appear only for critical
 > volumes (root and home partitions I think) and not for every disk
 > volume.


Tristan Wibberley

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