jmak jozmak at
Mon Aug 4 17:41:53 UTC 2008

Funny, the ubuntu people are having the same kind of usability debate
as we do. Here, I copy one of the comments that is instructive for us
as well.


"Mark Shuttleworth has expressed that Ubuntu should surpass the
experience offered by the OSX. Perhaps before OSX can be surpassed it
must be equaled. The current usability of Ubuntu does not equal OSX. I
see there are members of the community who think Ubuntu should offer a
UI that is different from other offerings but this is a very difficult
to do and still meet the expectations of the general computing public
who we recognize as an important audience.

What is it that makes the OSX such a great UI?

* consistent widgets across all applications;
* extremely smooth, stable and polished visual behavior from startup
to shutdown;
* sophisticated use do color, contrast, texture and placement of
widgets and decorations;
* attention to detail (seems that they have thought about the sizing
and placement of every element and every mimetype);
* seamless integration of visual and aural elements (for example, in
Ubuntu the very long default logon sound is often over before the
desktop is ready for use);
* visually strong wallpapers;

This attention to detail is what draws users to OSX. I think Ubuntu
has to do the same. I don't know if the current UI toolkits like QT
and GTK are up to the task.

Ubuntu designers need to get over their aversion to looking like Vista
or OSX until they have mastered the best those UI's have to offer.
Ubuntu is not going to re-invent the usability wheel any time soon.
Vista. Office 2007 and the Novell "slab" have shown how disastrous
this mindset can be. Modern GUI users expect toolbars, icons, menus,
form fields, etc. They expect them to be in places where they are used
to finding them. You cannot simply do something different just for the
sake of being different. Keep in mind, Apple and Microsoft are
leveraging years of UI development research. Apple does a far better
job and is the horse to beat. OSX is not perfect; for example, Finder
is a clumsy file manager. This lack of usability is not the fault of
the UI artists, however. They do a miraculous job".


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