[Openicc] GoSoC 2011: CPD and target printing

Robert Krawitz rlk at alum.mit.edu
Thu May 5 18:32:20 PDT 2011

On Thu, 5 May 2011 13:38:29 -0600, Chris Murphy wrote:
> On May 5, 2011, at 1:24 PM, Alastair M. Robinson wrote:
>> Having a CPD flag that applications use to signal that "advanced"
>> options should be shown would be just about tolerable, I suppose,
>> but still seems like needlessly sacrificing functionality on the
>> altar of user-friendliness to me.  (And we see so much of that
>> these days that some of us, myself included, are admittedly
>> hyper-sensitive and quick to shout if we see any hint of it
>> happening!)
> This is not a hill I'm going to die on. However, I just think we're
> talking about an extreme fraction of users who need to even use the
> feature so why subject real estate, even in advanced options. This
> will certainly be the least used advanced option.
> It isn't merely about user friendly. It's about use necessary. I
> just don't see the vast majority of apps needing such a control,
> therefore there is no sacrificed function.

I don't agree with this reasoning.  I think it's important to have all
such options available from all programs with a print dialog; we
should figure out how to present them most effectively.

There are two schools of thought that I see here.  One, which seems to
be exemplified by GNOME (yes, I'm calling that project out by name),
is to have UI experts determine the minimum set of features needed by
users and present an absolute minimal interface.  The other, which I
greatly prefer, is what a former colleague of mine described as
"successive disclosure of complexity".

What that phrase means is that inexperienced users, or those with
simple needs, should see a very simplified view of the system --
possibly even as simple as Hal's proposal that they only see the name
of the printer and how many copies or the like.  As people's needs
grow, they can access more elaborate functionality.  Most
well-designed applications actually operate like that -- think
OpenOffice.org, where you can simply start typing into a text
document, but as you learn more, you learn how to use spreadsheets,
with increasingly elaborate functionality as your needs changed.  One
could argue that the default set of toolbars presents too much
information at the start, but ultimately, if you need to do things
like mail merge, that functionality is there.

I don't see why this shouldn't apply to printing, and in particular, I
don't see why the CPD shouldn't be designed along the same lines so
that every application has the same dialog (which also helps reduce
confusion).  In particular, just because we don't see a certain use
case with a certain application doesn't mean that somebody else

Robert Krawitz                                     <rlk at alum.mit.edu>

Tall Clubs International  --  http://www.tall.org/ or 1-888-IM-TALL-2
Member of the League for Programming Freedom  --  http://ProgFree.org
Project lead for Gutenprint   --    http://gimp-print.sourceforge.net

"Linux doesn't dictate how I work, I dictate how Linux works."
--Eric Crampton

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