[Libreoffice-ux-advise] Killed the ButtonBar in slide sorter

Michel Renon michel.renon at free.fr
Wed Sep 26 04:45:04 PDT 2012

Hi Cor, Jan,

Le 25/09/12 16:00, Jan Holesovsky a écrit :

>  [...]
>> Therefore the good OpenOffice.org developers and people conducted a
>> large project some years ago, Renaissance.
>> Of course the toolbar is one of the changes the was a result from that.
>> I guess all the work was done, because many obvious actions are not easy
>> enough accessible for Joe-average. And that these were only the first
>> steps in a route to make Impress (&more) more contemporary.
>> The little pop-ups fit more in modern UI (-expectations) I guess then
>> context menu's - let alone short-cuts and pull down menus...
> I don't think I agree with you here.  The touch-based devices need to
> have everything shown, nothing appearing based on a presence of a mouse
> pointer;

It's a technical fact : touch interfaces have no 'hover' event.
But look at what's happening with Nautilus : devs are making big changes 
to prepare for touch interface. The mistake is that they change 
*current* desktop version so that *future* versions may work on tablets.
Since last year, users just can see Nautilus has less and less 
behaviors. Devs just say "we know what's good for you : we'll bring them 
back later for touch".
The result is that the Nautilus project is forked and will be replaced 
very soon.
We have to realize what for next 2 years (and more...), most LO users 
will still use a computer (desktop or laptop) to edit.

Your modification will be useful for the tablet version of LO, but maybe 
not for the desktop version.

> and it seems to me as a good trend in general.

This is a personal and subjective opinion.
UI decisions should be taken based on facts, analysis, polls, statistics.
I also made that mistake : few months ago, I made a proposal for another 
"Insert" menu, based on most used items, well most items I used and 
supposed others also used. In the design list, I had some immediate and 
strict feed-back : don't suppose, provide real and pertinent usage 
values otherwise propose something different. They were right.

>  Please note
> that Renaissance is 3-4 years old project.

A good idea will never be obsolete ;-)

> I have heard complaints about this Button bar from several people, and
> no 'oh, I love these appearing buttons' - so I believe we are fine.  The
> same with the appearing / disappearing header / footer controls - lots
> of complaints that it is too much disruptive, so I believe that not
> using any controls that appear after a timeout only supports that the
> above mentioned trend is Good :-)

I may be the first, but let me tell you that I find the new 
header/footer control *very useful* !

The complaints I heard about OOo/LO were all about the "old" 
look/design. The header/footer control, while not perfect, brings 
something new that's really welcomed.
And I wish we can use that idea for table edition and much more.

Why not allow users to enable/disable such appearing-controls by 
preferences ?
Everybody should be happy :
- beginners and average users won't see changes between versions
- power users may choose what they prefer

As a general point of view on this subject, I would say that it shows 
several problems in the design team (that's why I'm CCing to design list) :

- there is a lack of long-term vision for LO's UI/UX : a vision, a 
roadmap, with tenets. Some big users (administrations, companies...) 
need that kind of information so that they can plan training, migration [1].
For example :
    - should we use or avoid appearing / disappearing UI elements ?
    - should we use floating and/or docked panels ?
    When a decision is made, it should not change for several years (3-5)

- a developer may decide to make big UI changes, just because he talked 
with few users : it's a complete by-pass of the existing UI process 
(whiteboards, proposals, discussions, vote) ; it may also bring some big 
inconsistencies [2]

- most important, it may changes/revert recent modifications --> users 
will be disturbed by those UI flip/flop (for example see previous 
changes between Rythmbox and Banshee in Ubuntu)

(please see absolutely no offense to you Jan, I'm just trying to analyze 
the situation ; and the context of my feedback is that I have not enough 
time to work, propose on the UI/UX team, so it's just a little 
reflexion/suggestion ; but as a simple user, I would be very disturbed 
by such changes)


[1] And in France, last week we had an important announce about OSS and 
the administration : they'll study different projects and choose some of 
them. Nothing is decided between LO/OOo : Each project's team has to 
prove his project is stable, well organized, well structured and has a 
clear roadmap.

[2] I just tried Thunderbird 18 (aurora channel) and the main window has 
no more menu bar ! Menus are now in a popup button on the right.
But the problem is that the compose window still has the standard menu 
bar : inconsistency, users will be disturbed.

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