Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Are Usability Studies Hurting the Free Desktop?

Filed under
Software

The recent history of new interfaces on the free desktop is not a happy one. Three years ago, the release of KDE 4.0 resulted in a user revolt whose like had never been seen. This year, the releases of GNOME 3 and Ubuntu's Unity have produced similar revolts, but on a smaller scale.

Looking at these reactions, I am starting to wonder: Are the developers of free desktops become obsessed with design principles at the expense of what users actually want?

Not too many years ago, the question would have been absurd. Built on the free and open source software (FOSS) principle that developers worked on whatever interested them, the free desktop used to be a hodgepodge in which just getting a dialog to have the same name when it was opened from different places was a major achievement. Back then, the idea that too much attention could be paid to usability would have been unthinkable.

But, beginning with Sun Microsystem's detailed user study of the GNOME desktop in 2001, free desktop developers have been becoming increasingly aware of usability issues. Almost always, the result has been interfaces that are easier to use, more efficient, and more aesthetic.

rest here




re: Free Desktops

Shouldn't that be the LACK OF usability studies?

Cause it's pretty obvious none of the current GUI developers are doing anything close to UI studies.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Development News

  • KDevelop 5.0.3 Open-Source IDE Improves GitHub Handling Authentication, More
    The development behind the open-source and cross-platform KDevelop IDE (Integrated Development Environment) was proud to announce on the first day of December the availability of the third point release for KDevelop 5.0 stable series. KDevelop 5.0.3 arrives one and a half months after the second maintenance update, but it's a small bugfix release that attempts to patch a total of nine issues reported by users since then. However, it's a recommended update for all users. "We are happy to announce the release of KDevelop 5.0.3, the third bugfix and stabilization release for KDevelop 5.0. An upgrade to 5.0.3 is strongly recommended to all users of 5.0.0, 5.0.1 or 5.0.2," reads the release announcement.
  • PHP 7.1.0
    The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.1.0.
  • PHP 7.1 Makes Its Debut
    This first major update to last year's huge PHP 7.0 release builds several new features on top. Introduced by PHP 7.1 is nullable types, a void return type, a iterable pseudo-type, class constant visibility modifiers, support for catching multiple exception types, and many other language enhancements plus more performance optimizations and other work.

Games for GNU/Linux

OSS Leftovers