Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

Re: [SLUG] Desktops

On Sat, May 08, 2004, Dean Hamstead wrote:
> i believe there is a gnome version of oo that has ms style buttons and
> stuff.
> also gnome or kde should behave enough like windows for normal users.
> just click on button, click on app.  easy!

He's talking about power users of MS Office that haven't generalised
over office type functionality, by the sounds of it.

"Normal" covers a wide variety of things, and the most common stumbling
block is this perception that the 'menu', 'file', 'desktop', 'open',
'save' etc metaphors are well understood by "normal" users and that a new
desktop with similar metaphors will make them go 'bing!'.

Bad assumption. There's a chunk of people who either don't really
understand the metaphors, or whose understanding doesn't line up with
application developers. They learn things (perhaps unconciously) by rote
basically, and sometimes don't generalise to the extent where they try
clicking on new things at all even though to applications developers and
sophisticated users those things are all "buttons" and therefore
obviously activated by clicking.

> | On Sat, May 8, 2004 2:20 pm, James Gregory said:
> |> most commonly I field complaints that
> |> OpenOffice is "completely unusable" on the basis that menu items are
> |> arranged differently.

That is, people who know a particular sequence of menu items that get to
a "Save" dialog, but haven't generalised to the extent of "Menus called
'File' tend to contain something that does saving, and these things tend
to be called something like 'Save'". I find it rather hard to pin down
exactly how people who don't have these generalisations get anything
done in office applications but they exist and can even use quite
complex functionality if you dont't change anything that effects the
really really specific set of mental images they use to save a file.

People who use computers that way aren't asking for "something with a
pretty picture to click on" before they think it's easy to use. They're
asking for something that lines up with their highly application
specific (and probably quite detailed) set of mental images.

I suspect using MS Office under WINE is the way to go here, but in the
case of your users, James, how do they deal with upgrades?