[Openicc] GoSoC 2011: CPD and target printing

Robert Krawitz rlk at alum.mit.edu
Fri May 6 19:16:11 PDT 2011

On Fri, 6 May 2011 13:42:24 -0700, Hal V. Engel wrote:
> On Friday, May 06, 2011 12:26:23 PM Chris Murphy wrote:
>> On May 5, 2011, at 7:32 PM, Robert Krawitz wrote:
>> > 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".
>> I would not call the current presentation of Gutenprint driver options as
>> successive disclosure of complexity. Its present disclosure of increasing
>> complexity occurs in parallel. But even if it were successive, you're
>> talking about a rabbit hole of successive disclosure and that still makes
>> software obscure.
> I agree that the current print UI(s) do a poor job of presenting
> complexity adn that how these do this for the GutenPrint drivers
> makes this particually obveious but we aren't talking about the
> print UI as they exist today.  WIth the CPD how this is presented to
> the user can be altered greatly by editing the PPD file.  And it can
> be made to be very successive in it's disclosure of complexity.
> This is integral to the UI design of the CPD as one of it's design
> goals was to deal with this issue.

PPD files in general, and CUPS specifically, were never really
designed with successive disclosure of complexity in mind.
>> > 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.
>> This sounds very nice in theory, but in practice what happens is that as
>> users get more advanced, the options they require differ radically. So
>> what happens is moderate to advanced users will have to sift through
>> multiple extra panels

And that's why the options need to be available -- because different
users will need different options.

> There is only one options panel in the CPD and the user can control
> what apppears on it.  Don't conflate current print dialog UI design
> with the CPD's UI design as the CPD has a very different UI.  It was
> specifically designed by a UI design expert (actually a team of
> experts) to deal with this issue.  It does a good job of presenting
> the complexity continum if the PPD file for the printer driver is
> done correctly.

Bingo -- and that's what we need to fix.

>> So what this does is it kicks the bucket of obscurity down the road to just
>> moderate and advanced users. They are still users, just because they are
>> advanced does not mean they should be subject to sifting through options,
>> 90% of which do not apply to them.
> Again this is a matter of how this is presented to users.  I just
> brought up the most recent version of the CPD on my machine to
> refresh my memory using the GutenPrint driver PPD for the Epson
> R2400.  This driver is close to as complex as any GuenPrint driver
> can get with options for setting many things that most users will
> never use.  The current GutenPrint R2400 PPD is not real well
> designed to take full advantage of the CPD with option groups named
> things like "Output Control Common" for things like Brightness and
> Contrast which some users will use, "Output Control Extra 1" and
> "Output Control Extra 2" (through 4) for things like GCR, drop
> sizes, ink density and other things that are used very rarely.
> There is a "General" options group that has things like color model,
> media source, media size and media type that many users will use at
> least some of the time.  Most of these groups do not have very
> descriptive names but I am fairly sure that the GutenPrint folks
> have not had the time to look at these names in detail to improve
> how this is presented in the UI.  On the other hand the groups do
> appear to be fairly well orginized and the items in the groups
> appear to be logically grouped.
> The GutenPrint R2400 PPD also creates five additional non-Default
> presets "Text", "Graphics", "Mixed Text and Graphics", "Photograph"
> and "Line Art".  But I am not sure if these are correctly setup in
> the PPD file since I don't seem to be able to select any of these.
> This could be a problem in the CPD as well.

I've certainly used them, at least in testing.  What happens if you
try to select them?

>> There is a cost to designing a GUI for 99% instead of 80%, and that
>> means 99% of the people will have an increasingly negative
>> experience for each option inserted into a print dialog that cannot
>> be anywhere nearly as effectively hidden from the user as is
>> possible in applications.

Yup, there is a cost -- the remaining 1% will be inconvenienced.
That's why I'd like to get that number *higher* than 99%, not lower.

As Hal points out, the real problem is that the print dialog needs to
be more effective at presenting only the options each user needs.  I
don't claim to know how to do that.  But I *don't* see how successive
disclosure can work just fine in applications, but not in common

>> This is why I think the bulk of Gutenprint options should be in an
>> application.

> And what application should that be?

And it means that if I do want to use those options I have to somehow
export it to that special application and hope nothing goes wrong
along the way, in addition to requiring a clumsy extra step.  I just
think that that's the wrong design point.

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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