i was going to be working on NX stuff today, but will do it tomorrow instead. i've been driven to work on kcontrol ideas today. i'm about to go out and get some groceries and a new water gun for my son (he broke his beloved water shoorter today and was rather disapointed by that). i also have some recycling to drop off. i'm about to take a break to do this stuff. but before i go, here's a bit of stream-of-consciousness verse to all those who like to pester me about what a shitty job i'm doing with regards to KDE's usability.

i'm sure it feels great
to log on to some
random spot on the web
and disagree loudly
and rudely
with the efforts being put in
by dozens of people
you don't even know
to make your desktop
a bit nicer to use

for some reason you
think that
with your lack of
and effort
and understanding
that you are entitled
to bitch
at one of the people involved

well, you'll have to try harder
because i'm certainly not stopping
and i don't think anyone else is

i wouldn't deny you
the right to your
disappointingly flaccid opinion
but i do wish you'd
voice it where nobody could hear you.


p.s. whee! kdedevelopers.org now censors my potty mouth with punctuation. good for all the families who read my blog together right after the Disney Channel's movie of the week, i suppose ;-P for the rest of you, from here on out you'll just have to imagine the vulgarity of my voice.


well said

By macewan at Sun, 02/15/2004 - 22:24

Aaron, let my vote neutralize one of those who say your usability work "make KDE less usable by default." among other glamorous phrases.
And don't spend so much time on the dot, it's not healthy :)

When the commit generated so much noise on kde-cvs I imagined this would go to the dot at some point, resulting in one big... :)

Judging from the posts on the dot, and from other situations I think it could be a good idea to define KDE's userbase. Mostly to ease the process when we discuss usability but also to unify and make development go in one direction.. The content of that document wouldn't be new to some people, merely stating in a suiting language that the majority of KDE's userbase is mortal people; the majority of people don't understand computer languages; KDE aims to provide functionality which does not require unix skills, etc, etc. Hm.. I have a draft on this somewhere..



By Frans Englich at Sun, 02/15/2004 - 23:50

Anyone who is willing to try and change KDE for the better is a brave man. It is certainly easier to get new functionality into KDE than to try and improve something. If you go the route of change you need to be strong in your convictions, very able to argue your points and put up with a good deal of often irrational backlash. Or so it seems. Keep up the good work as not all of us are brave enough to try to change things!

By mxcl at Mon, 02/16/2004 - 00:12

I second that, your doing great work Aaron.

By sean odubhghaill at Mon, 02/16/2004 - 00:32


I appreciate your work a lot.

About the konsole shortcut, I first thought if we needed a usability study to show exactly how many people really need the shortcut on kicker. On second thought this kinda study would be a waste of time.

If I did - and I would if it was needed - a study to find out how many _real_ end users need the shortcut, I'd know the results forehand. When I take a look at my colleagues and co-workers, I see something about zero percent command prompt usage.

I'm about to post you details of the browser icon thing you wanted, and I'm ready to do a lot more usability testing. I've got a good environment to test, since I teach at a high scool and we have about 45 users (personell) and few hundred students around. In case you need something to be tested, please let me know.


By Tapio Kautto at Mon, 02/16/2004 - 12:58

thanks for providing data... that's our #1 need, followed closely in #2 by people who can write code to implement what #1 tells us =) depending on how the konqueror web shortcuts thing goes and what i learn from that experience, i'll be announcing more such discovery projects in the future.

as for the konsole shortcut thing... you're right: it's pretty obvious. i have daily to weekly access to computer users ranging from barely computer literate, to intermediate and familiar with KDE, to very literate but new to KDE in 3 different companies and here at home. these people are my unwitting guinea pigs; when i have a question about something, i turn to their usage patterns for answers. as it turned out, only the advanced users used konsole regularly, in particular those who had used Linux in a CLI environment previously. one used to use Linux remotely for email and IRC back in the mid-90s before moving to KDE on her own desktop 2 years ago, the other manages headless Linux servers from the CLI but has until just this year used Windows on his desktop.

the other users practically never use konsole. if there is someone there to prod and teach, some will make the transition. one woman who is a web developer that got moved to Linux as part of an office-wide move in the developer's area used konsole for various file management and CVS tasks after a series of 10-minute "quicky tutorials" on things i gave over several weeks. all the other developers stuck with GUI tools as much as possible, dropping to konsole only to do things like log in to the remote servers.

among the general office workers, usage of konsole is practically 0.

By Aaron J. Seigo at Mon, 02/16/2004 - 17:14

Aaron, I agree with you.
I'm a very frequent user of the konsole and it's one of the three icons I got in my kicker (between my Kmenu and the Home icon). But being a power user, usually the first thing I do after a fresh install is a bunch of customization, and I won't be bothered by having to drag a konsole icon to my kicker. Too often I see people new to KDE wonder what that icon with the shell does, or if I need to do something for them and I ask them to 'open a console' they have no clue they need the konsole icon because they never used it and its existence only confuses them.
In short: I agree users shouldn't needlessly be exposed to icons they don't know how to handle, and they should definitely not be in such prominent places by default (then again, I also think the Up button should be removed from Konqueror's browsing profile :) )

Arend van Beelen jr.

By arendjr at Tue, 02/17/2004 - 19:58