timevariant GUI elements (Re: systemd (Was Re: tmpfs for strategic directories))

Roberto Ragusa mail at robertoragusa.it
Wed Jun 2 09:25:56 UTC 2010

Kevin Kofler wrote:
> Roberto Ragusa wrote:
>> In recent times some stupid (IMHO) ideas have been adopted in Linux
>> just to copy what others do. Just as examples: the control of desktop
>> widgets in KDE4 (functional GUI elements modified by a mouse-over???),
> I only know of 2 plasmoids triggering actions on mouse-over:

Sorry, I didn't manage to explain me well.
I'm referring to the vertical bar which popups at the left of right
of _every_ plasmoid. The thing with the close button and which you can
drag around to move the plasmoid. It is basically a window title bar
done vertically. The bad part is that it popups on mouse movement and
creates active elements (buttons) just under your mouse by guessing that
you want them. If you have a crowded screen with overlapping
windows and plasmoids, you get this popups in your way when you just
want to click on a near window. Tooltips in general have this
problem (uncontrollable creation of obstructions), but in this case
the tooltip even contains clickable elements, so you have to be careful
to not click them by error.
Be_careful => be_slow_and_think => bad_GUI_concept.

The folder view popping up you cited is another bad example
(but I was not thinking about that).
You say it's only visualization, but it changes the context,
in the sense that now my dropping the icon has a new meaning
(something randomly changed under my pointer). If the change
happens just an instant before I'm releasing the button,
my jpg will not go into Friends, but into Friends/DiscardedPhotos.
So what should I do? Be careful to not park my pointer on any active
area while I'm thinking about where to place my jpg; and every folder
is now an active area; my desktop has turned into minesweeper. :-)
I think the original idea from Apple was to use the spacebar to
enter the directory. That is perfectly acceptable.

In my opinion every "automatic" element (popups and tooltips) should only
be allowed to show inactive things (better yet if the obstruction is not
complete, for example, by using partial opacity and, if we want
to be smart, increasing the opacity when the mouse is near, for legibility).
In no case this thing must have clickable items.
In no case this thing must intercept clicks: if I click on it
the click should go to the elements it is covering (that is where
transparency helps), because those elements have earned my attention
for some time, before the appearance of the little intruder.
The mouse pointer should be blended _below_ the tooltip.
Tooltips should just be semitransparent post-it notes attached to
my monitor.

   Roberto Ragusa    mail at robertoragusa.it

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