New Laws of Desktops

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as well)
and thinking:

1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents laid
out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office document, as a
little icon is very clear.

2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly don't
understand "file extensions".

3) Taskbars and "start" buttons are very redundant. Yes, they are ways
to organzie programs that are not on the desktop -- but they are way too
confusing.

4) When I click on a desktop with the main mouse button, nothing happens
unless I click on an icon. That is really wasteful. Using the
secondary mouse button brings up settings for changing wall paper and
screen savers and resolution - that is also wasteful as these are not
everyday things for 95% of users (yes, some people like to change them
everyday, but not very many).

5) The tray is appealing, but also cumbersome. I don't need to look at
these icons all the time -- I like popup alerts, but it doesn't require
an icon to be sitting there, taking up real estate 24x7.


So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop. It
would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of programs in
a popup menu. It would use the right mouse button to set the desktop
config, but also to show items that are now in the "tray". Any alerts
that popup from TSR programs would just show as a baloon right on the
desktop.
9 answers Last reply
More about laws desktops
  1. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    John Bailo <jabailo@texeme.com> wrote in news:VvWdnZYHDtvQoWffRVn-
    rw@speakeasy.net:

    >
    > I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as well)
    > and thinking:
    >
    > 1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents laid
    > out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office document, as a
    > little icon is very clear.
    >
    > 2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly don't
    > understand "file extensions".
    >
    > 3) Taskbars and "start" buttons are very redundant. Yes, they are ways
    > to organzie programs that are not on the desktop -- but they are way too
    > confusing.
    >
    > 4) When I click on a desktop with the main mouse button, nothing happens
    > unless I click on an icon. That is really wasteful. Using the
    > secondary mouse button brings up settings for changing wall paper and
    > screen savers and resolution - that is also wasteful as these are not
    > everyday things for 95% of users (yes, some people like to change them
    > everyday, but not very many).
    >
    > 5) The tray is appealing, but also cumbersome. I don't need to look at
    > these icons all the time -- I like popup alerts, but it doesn't require
    > an icon to be sitting there, taking up real estate 24x7.
    >
    > So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop. It
    > would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of programs in
    > a popup menu. It would use the right mouse button to set the desktop
    > config, but also to show items that are now in the "tray". Any alerts
    > that popup from TSR programs would just show as a baloon right on the
    > desktop.

    Well I am just the opposite. I have absolutely nothing on my desktop. I have
    all my commonly used programs in my Start Menu for quick access and have
    only a few items in the system tray. Different strokes...
  2. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    John Bailo wrote:
    >
    > I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as well)
    > and thinking:
    >
    > 1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents laid
    > out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office document, as a
    > little icon is very clear.
    >
    > 2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly don't
    > understand "file extensions".
    Normal people do understand the concept of folders, when they're
    organized and displayed properly. If one were to extend physical
    metaphors... 'drives' should cease to be an interface element, and
    folders should become elements of a 'cabinet' or something.

    What regular users do NOT understand, are pathnames. They understand
    having a 'cabinet' called 'Documents', for storing documents. They don't
    understand having Documents in 'C:/Documents and Settings/<username>/My
    Documents'. Most would even understand it a step further, having
    documents in various folders within a cabinet, much like a physical file
    cabinet is arranged. Such as the '1997 Mountains Trip' folder, within
    the 'Pictures' cabinet. They wouldn't understand 'C:/Documents and
    Settings/<username>/My Documents/My Pictures/1997 Mountains Trip/'.

    In other words, the traditional way interfaces present drives and
    content is inherently confusing to regular users. That's why they put
    everything on the desktop.

    >
    > 3) Taskbars and "start" buttons are very redundant. Yes, they are ways
    > to organzie programs that are not on the desktop -- but they are way too
    > confusing.
    Hardly. Dock-style shortcut bars are quite obvious. The only thing that
    isn't totally instinctual is removal of items from the dock (they
    shouldn't poof out of existance, they should act exactly like any other
    shortcut).

    >
    > 4) When I click on a desktop with the main mouse button, nothing happens
    > unless I click on an icon. That is really wasteful. Using the
    > secondary mouse button brings up settings for changing wall paper and
    > screen savers and resolution - that is also wasteful as these are not
    > everyday things for 95% of users (yes, some people like to change them
    > everyday, but not very many).
    You never want the function of a button to change. Ever. People
    understand that when they hit 't' on a keyboard, it corresponds to the
    character 't' being printed on-screen. The same can not be said for
    contextual functions.

    >
    > 5) The tray is appealing, but also cumbersome. I don't need to look at
    > these icons all the time -- I like popup alerts, but it doesn't require
    > an icon to be sitting there, taking up real estate 24x7.
    I disagree.

    >
    >
    > So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop.
    The ideal desktop would be one that corresponds to the way the user thinks.

    > It
    > would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of programs in
    > a popup menu. It would use the right mouse button to set the desktop
    > config, but also to show items that are now in the "tray".
    Use a transparent task management model. Don't have seperate 'launch'
    and 'manage' menus. If the app is already launched, selecting that app
    brings it's main window to the foreground. If the app is closed,
    selecting that app launches it and brings the main window to the
    foreground. Ideally, you would not use any mouse buttons to accomplish
    that (there are more pressing uses for such prominant buttons). IMO, a
    mouse button should never invoke a context menu. There should be an
    'activate' button, a 'select' button, a scroll wheel (That does NOT act
    as a button), and possibly two extra buttons reserved for user-defined
    functions. Maybe have one on both sides, and have it act as a 'grab'
    function when both are pressed (as was originally proposed).

    Furthermore, hot corners are such a good idea it would be insane not to
    incorperate them. Use the top right corner to spawn the 'launch menu' by
    default. Use the top-left to spawn the 'app menu' or 'function menu' or
    something.

    > Any alerts
    > that popup from TSR programs would just show as a baloon right on the
    > desktop.
  3. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    TheLetterK wrote:

    > John Bailo wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as
    >> well) and thinking:
    >>
    >> 1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents
    >> laid out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office
    >> document, as a little icon is very clear.
    >>
    >> 2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly
    >> don't understand "file extensions".
    >
    > Normal people do understand the concept of folders, when they're
    > organized and displayed properly. If one were to extend physical
    > metaphors... 'drives' should cease to be an interface element, and
    > folders should become elements of a 'cabinet' or something.
    >
    > What regular users do NOT understand, are pathnames. They understand
    > having a 'cabinet' called 'Documents', for storing documents. They don't
    > understand having Documents in 'C:/Documents and Settings/<username>/My
    > Documents'. Most would even understand it a step further, having
    > documents in various folders within a cabinet, much like a physical file
    > cabinet is arranged. Such as the '1997 Mountains Trip' folder, within
    > the 'Pictures' cabinet. They wouldn't understand 'C:/Documents and
    > Settings/<username>/My Documents/My Pictures/1997 Mountains Trip/'.
    >
    > In other words, the traditional way interfaces present drives and
    > content is inherently confusing to regular users. That's why they put
    > everything on the desktop.

    In addition, and pmfji, becuase the traditional model is confusing it
    makes it that much more difficult for the average user to remember where
    something was put. Hence, the everything on the desktop scenario.
    >
    >>
    >> 3) Taskbars and "start" buttons are very redundant. Yes, they are
    >> ways to organzie programs that are not on the desktop -- but they are
    >> way too confusing.
    >
    > Hardly. Dock-style shortcut bars are quite obvious. The only thing that
    > isn't totally instinctual is removal of items from the dock (they
    > shouldn't poof out of existance, they should act exactly like any other
    > shortcut).
    >
    >>
    >> 4) When I click on a desktop with the main mouse button, nothing
    >> happens unless I click on an icon. That is really wasteful. Using
    >> the secondary mouse button brings up settings for changing wall paper
    >> and screen savers and resolution - that is also wasteful as these are
    >> not everyday things for 95% of users (yes, some people like to change
    >> them everyday, but not very many).
    >
    > You never want the function of a button to change. Ever. People
    > understand that when they hit 't' on a keyboard, it corresponds to the
    > character 't' being printed on-screen. The same can not be said for
    > contextual functions.
    >
    >>
    >> 5) The tray is appealing, but also cumbersome. I don't need to look
    >> at these icons all the time -- I like popup alerts, but it doesn't
    >> require an icon to be sitting there, taking up real estate 24x7.
    >
    > I disagree.
    >
    >>
    >>
    >> So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop.
    >
    > The ideal desktop would be one that corresponds to the way the user thinks.
    >
    >> It would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of
    >> programs in a popup menu. It would use the right mouse button to set
    >> the desktop config, but also to show items that are now in the "tray".
    >
    > Use a transparent task management model. Don't have seperate 'launch'
    > and 'manage' menus. If the app is already launched, selecting that app
    > brings it's main window to the foreground. If the app is closed,
    > selecting that app launches it and brings the main window to the
    > foreground. Ideally, you would not use any mouse buttons to accomplish
    > that (there are more pressing uses for such prominant buttons). IMO, a
    > mouse button should never invoke a context menu. There should be an
    > 'activate' button, a 'select' button, a scroll wheel (That does NOT act
    > as a button), and possibly two extra buttons reserved for user-defined
    > functions. Maybe have one on both sides, and have it act as a 'grab'
    > function when both are pressed (as was originally proposed).
    >
    > Furthermore, hot corners are such a good idea it would be insane not to
    > incorperate them. Use the top right corner to spawn the 'launch menu' by
    > default. Use the top-left to spawn the 'app menu' or 'function menu' or
    > something.
    >
    >> Any alerts that popup from TSR programs would just show as a baloon
    >> right on the desktop.
  4. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    In article <VvWdnZYHDtvQoWffRVn-rw@speakeasy.net>, John Bailo wrote:
    >
    > I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as well)
    > and thinking:
    >
    > 1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents laid
    > out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office document, as a
    > little icon is very clear.
    >
    > 2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly don't
    > understand "file extensions".
    >
    > 3) Taskbars and "start" buttons are very redundant. Yes, they are ways
    > to organzie programs that are not on the desktop -- but they are way too
    > confusing.
    >
    > 4) When I click on a desktop with the main mouse button, nothing happens
    > unless I click on an icon. That is really wasteful. Using the
    > secondary mouse button brings up settings for changing wall paper and
    > screen savers and resolution - that is also wasteful as these are not
    > everyday things for 95% of users (yes, some people like to change them
    > everyday, but not very many).
    >
    > 5) The tray is appealing, but also cumbersome. I don't need to look at
    > these icons all the time -- I like popup alerts, but it doesn't require
    > an icon to be sitting there, taking up real estate 24x7.
    >
    >
    > So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop. It
    > would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of programs in
    > a popup menu. It would use the right mouse button to set the desktop
    > config, but also to show items that are now in the "tray". Any alerts
    > that popup from TSR programs would just show as a baloon right on the
    > desktop.


    What you are describing, is pretty much a default fluxbox installation.
    With the exception of the tray, alert stuff... But, hey it's OSS - so
    you could modify it to do that if you want :)

    I actually have a few icons on my current Fluxbox desktop - but, I'm
    seriously considering removing them. The main reason is that I almost
    never use them. I've pretty much created key bindings for every program
    I use on a regular basis - so, I have no need for the icons.

    --
    Tom Shelton
  5. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    Tom Shelton wrote:

    > What you are describing, is pretty much a default fluxbox installation.
    > With the exception of the tray, alert stuff... But, hey it's OSS - so
    > you could modify it to do that if you want :)
    >
    > I actually have a few icons on my current Fluxbox desktop - but, I'm
    > seriously considering removing them. The main reason is that I almost
    > never use them. I've pretty much created key bindings for every program
    > I use on a regular basis - so, I have no need for the icons.
    >

    I will try fluxbox! I've used Ice before, but it was a bit too ragged.
  6. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    In article <42FA419C.4020700@texeme.com>, John Bailo wrote:
    > Tom Shelton wrote:
    >
    >> What you are describing, is pretty much a default fluxbox installation.
    >> With the exception of the tray, alert stuff... But, hey it's OSS - so
    >> you could modify it to do that if you want :)
    >>
    >> I actually have a few icons on my current Fluxbox desktop - but, I'm
    >> seriously considering removing them. The main reason is that I almost
    >> never use them. I've pretty much created key bindings for every program
    >> I use on a regular basis - so, I have no need for the icons.
    >>
    >
    > I will try fluxbox! I've used Ice before, but it was a bit too ragged.

    Be advised though, that fluxbox by it's self is VERY minimal. In fact,
    it doesn't support desktop icons at all without additional support. I
    use a program called idesk to actually display icons on my desktop.
    There are no gui config programs really. All configuration is done by
    editing config files that live in your .fluxbox directory. I actually
    installed fluxbox syntax support for my vim :) The results, are pretty
    nice though, once you get it going...

    There are a couple of things that I really, really like about fluxbox
    though... It's very light. It supports tabbed windows. And the
    keybinding facilities are awsome. Like I said, I rarely use my desktop
    icons at all - and I think I use the program menu even less.

    --
    Tom Shelton
  7. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    John Bailo wrote:

    >
    > I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as well)
    > and thinking:
    >
    > 1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents laid
    > out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office document, as a
    > little icon is very clear.
    >
    > 2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly don't
    > understand "file extensions".

    I'm afraid newbies don't understand anything...
    typical real conversation...

    s. Click on xyz
    What do you see?
    <long pause>
    Whats taking so long?
    u. Its gone.
    s. whats gone?
    u. It all fail
    s. What does it say on the screen now?
    u. nothing
    s. The screen is blank?
    u. The little pictures still there
    s...

    It took me several weeks to work out that the user was clicking
    xyz and then clicking all the buttons after it, until it has
    finished installing and 'it has gone'. And now if you read
    that coversation again, it all makes perfect sense.
    Newbies don't know that when you ask them to click on xyz,
    it actually means do just that, and then stop and report what you see.
    Instead they obeyed all the instructions that came up and
    finished the install and then claim it all failed
    because they don't understand any of the messages.
  8. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    John Bailo wrote:

    > So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop. It
    > would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of programs in
    > a popup menu.

    Yah, that's how X on Unix used to work, back in the late 80s, early
    90s, before Windows became so ubiquitious.

    Duke
  9. Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

    John Bailo wrote:

    >
    > I was looking at my XP desktop ( this applies to my KDE desktop as
    > well) and thinking:
    >
    > 1) People understand desktops. Seeing both programs and documents
    > laid out on a surface, is very clear. Seeing an Open Office
    > document, as a little icon is very clear.
    >
    > 2) People don't understand folders, directories and they certainly
    > don't understand "file extensions".
    >
    > 3) Taskbars and "start" buttons are very redundant. Yes, they are
    > ways to organzie programs that are not on the desktop -- but they are
    > way too confusing.
    >
    > 4) When I click on a desktop with the main mouse button, nothing
    > happens unless I click on an icon. That is really wasteful.
    > Using the secondary mouse button brings up settings for changing wall
    > paper and screen savers and resolution - that is also wasteful as
    > these are not everyday things for 95% of users (yes, some people like
    > to change them everyday, but not very many).
    >
    > 5) The tray is appealing, but also cumbersome. I don't need to look
    > at these icons all the time -- I like popup alerts, but it doesn't
    > require an icon to be sitting there, taking up real estate 24x7.
    >
    >
    > So, an ideal desktop would be one without anything BUT the desktop.
    > It would use the main mouse button click to bring up a list of
    > programs in a popup menu. It would use the right mouse button to
    > set the desktop config, but also to show items that are now in the
    > "tray". Any alerts that popup from TSR programs would just show as a
    > baloon right on the desktop.

    A couple of freewares to help with this:

    - Iconiod = hide desktop icons (and more) until you need them
    - Free Launch Bar = create launch bars for programs to avoid start menu
    - DM2 = minimize to desktop and tray, etc.

    Anyway, these are a couple of freebies that help.

    DC
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