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Latest revision as of 02:35, 13 February 2020

This page catalogs the results of various discussions that appear over and over again.


Basic/advanced modes

This design pattern is not always wrong, but must be used sparingly. The pattern can work when implemented as a sort of progressive disclosure model where a view first presents data in a simplified form, but more detail about each item can be shown if desired. For example, the Colors KCM has a "basic" grid view of all the installed color schemes, but each color scheme can be edited in another window--the "advanced" view.

However the basic/advanced paradigm does not work at to use for grouping and separating features, especially when explicitly using the terms "basic" and "advanced" in the user interface. The problem is that different users have different needs, and what one user considers advanced will be considered basic to another user. Also, even "basic" users may very occasionally have a need to use or configure "advanced" features. Users who doubt their technical prowess will fear entering the advanced view, while users of great ego will find the basic view insulting even if it meets their needs better than the advanced view.


First-run wizard

It is often suggested that KDE should have a first-run wizard shown on boot that asks the user to choose their preferences: light vs dark theme, traditional task manager vs dock, and so forth.

It's important to understand that wizards are one of the worst ways to ask the user for input. They tend to request information that the user does not know the answer to or have an opinion on without a lot of context, and it isn't clear where to go to change a setting later.

The questions asked during system installation can be considered a kind of first-run wizard. Note the kinds of questions that are typically asked: only those absolutely necessary to proceed (e.g. keyboard layout, system language, password for the user account), plus a few more about the user's preferences regarding things they are guaranteed to have preferences about (e.g. telemetry vs no telemetry).

If a first-run wizard were ever to be implemented, the best place for it would be in the installer itself, as the last set of steps. It should indicate to the user where to go to change whatever selection they make in the wizard. And it should only ever ask questions whose answers the user is guaranteed to know or have an opinion about. For example:

  • Would you like to turn on telemetry [with an explanation of what this means]?
  • Are you right-handed or left-handed [for the purpose of choosing the default button in Libinput]
  • Do you prefer text to be compact or large? [with a visual aid showing the difference]

Inappropriate questions would include the following:

  • Choose KDE style vs macOS style vs Unity style
  • Choose preferred web browser/text editor/video player/etc.
  • Choose between Kickoff/Kicker/SimpleMenu/etc.
  • Right-click by using virtual buttons or by pressing with two fingers on the touchpad?

In the above cases, the user is being asked to choose from among options they may not be familiar with or understand.


This page was last edited on 13 February 2020, at 02:35. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.