feedback : Improving user experience in desktop

Mohd Izhar Firdaus Ismail kagesenshi.87 at
Fri Nov 5 10:39:20 UTC 2010

Hi, i think this is my first post in this list after years on it XD.. anyway...

I had a chat (or more like.. an argument?) with my colleague in my
company about what Fedora lack in term of user experience which made
Ubuntu stand out more for normal users. He's an Ubuntu user, a
developer who view stuff from a non-technical, end user perspective,
who everytime he try to move to Fedora, Fedora's current state
always turned him off. Of course, he knows that he
can modify that himself, but thats not the point here, as we are
talking about user experience for a non-technical person.

So i thought of sharing the stuff he raised, hopefully someone who
have the resources (time/skill) to improve this read this and improve it:

1) Polish

While technically, Fedora desktop have almost the same apps Ubuntu
desktop have, however, Fedora desktop apps fell behind in term of
polish. 'Polish' here includes:

 * icon set

Fedora icon set, which uses Tango, is not user-friendly. Take for
example the notification area, in Fedora, our notification area is a
mix of colorful icons from many applications, which - doesnt look good
on the panel - but more importantly - makes the notification area
confusing and less useful. - the approach in Ubuntu, and in Mac, is
that application icons, especially those which have system tray icons,
are standardized in a particular style guideline. When a notification
area icon is idle, the icon uses a faded out scheme, but when theres a
notification, they switches to a brighter colored scheme

Similar rule apply to applications which involves notification such as
messenger, email, etc.

* application defaults

In Fedora, probably because of our upstream mantra, our application
usually uses whatever default configuration upstream provided. While
this works for technical people who knows (or bother to) change their
settings, a non-technical person would want a sane, usable defaults
when they first launch the application, which will allow them to do
the common tasks associated with the application without the need to
figure out how to configure it.

2) application feedback

Ok, i think this mainly apply to Fedora's packagekit, but probably
other apps too. Our packagekit UI lack of feedback, such as no
download progressbar, and the current task info is too vague. It
happens a lot where packagekit simply showing "downloading repository
information" .. but only remain like that until everything are
downloaded... if you are in a slow network, the user experience become
very bad as the lack of feedback made user anxious on whether
something is working, or not working. Its agreeable that user are not
supposed to care about the internal details, however, some sort of
feedback gives the user assurance that the application is working or
not.. Application feedback for events such as a usb device is
connected or unmounted, new hardware detected also makes a difference
in user experience..


Thats it for now i guess.. i'll post more if i end up arguing stuff
with the colleague about fedora again XD ..

Hope this post will be useful for someone :-)

Mohd Izhar Firdaus Bin Ismail / KageSenshi
Inigo Consulting (FOSS/Plone Development, Training & Services)
Fedora Malaysia Contributor & Ambassador
92C2 B295 B40B B3DC 6866  5011 5BD2 584A 8A5D 7331

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