Ayao "Alqualos" Kuroyuki (ayao) wrote,
Ayao "Alqualos" Kuroyuki

GNOME Human Interface Guidelines

Misunderstand me not. I really love GNU. I really admire Richard Stallman and his followers. In a way, I am one of them as well. But I sometimes just can not understand what these guys are thinking about.

For example, I read in GNU coding standards "Please don't use “win” as an abbreviation for Microsoft Windows". Is it really that important that Windows should be written in full or abbreviated to one letter, but not to three? What about four? Will they say that I am being rude to Mother Nature abbreviating "Windows" to "Wind"? Or what if I really like the funny way "Windo" (accent on last "o", please) sounds? Weird guys. But that is okay, that is just their religious preoccupations. It is harmless anyway.

Now here is another thing. GNOME Human Interface Guidelines say that in "confirmation alerts" (for example, when application asks whether it should save document before closing) buttons should be ordered like "Close without Saving", "Cancel", "Save". Okay, calling them like this instead of usual "Yes", "No", "Cancel" seems like a good idea because it decreases the chance user will mistake one confirmation with another (for example, they may think that they are being asked whether application should really close). So that is perfectly fine.

But what the hell is about this weird ordering?! I had a discomforting feeling all the time that something is wrong here, and when I stopped and thought "Why do I dislike these GTK+ confirmation dialogs so much?", I finally realised: it is not "Yes, No, Cancel", it is "No, Cancel, Yes"! So, no single button is on its rightful place. I am not saying that "Yes, No, Cancel" should be like that simply because it is like that in Windows. But it is something most people used to. It is something natural, after all! I have seen many "Y/N" questions even in DOS, but I have never seen "N/Y" question. People say "Please answer with yes or no", but they never say "no or yes". The root of that discomforting feeling was that each time I knew I should save, I was tempted to press first button which is "Close without Saving", but then I saw that it is not usual "Yes" and was stuck.

I thought that some developers do not really think about ordering when making such dialogs and so they mess it up. But now I see this thing in something like standard guidelines I just can not understand why they are making more enter barriers then there are already. After all, all the point of GNOME and similar environments is to give the right feeling to people who are used to GUI environments, not to give them something even more weirder than CLI which is just a different thing, but at least without any unnatural attachments.

I am really happy that I use very few of these GUI things, otherwise I would probably be constantly mad about stupid design and inconvenient interfaces. But I just can not rid of the feeling that all these GNOME things is just another "let us make something really different, no matter how and what".
Tags: it, unix

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