Re: Some random thoughts on usability(OT)

Subject: Re: Some random thoughts on usability(OT)
From: Aaron Lehmann (
Date: Fri Aug 11 2000 - 12:05:40 CDT

As the emacs user here, I also disagree. The first thing I turn off in
XEmacs is the stupid toolbar. The next thing to go is the window
decoration. I use the key sequences exclusively, and they are a LOT
faster than menus. In fact, the only reason why I have my emacs menus
enabled is for a "Recent files" menu and a "Buffers" menu. I've
removed the File menu, Edit menu, etc.

That said, I do find the toolbar in AbiWord very handy. This is
becuase it actually gives me useful information. The "B" icon will be
emphasised if I am typing bold text. It's also so commonly used that
it's easier to hit than a menu item. If I bothered memorizing the
keyboard shortcuts, I doubt I would use the toolbar anymore, though.

Not like these opinions reflect those of typical AbiWord users - in
fact I haven't used AbiWord ever since I discovered LaTeX and AUCTeX
mode. So this message is just an opinion, but not necessarily one that
has any value.

On Thu, Aug 10, 2000 at 10:32:12PM -0400, Tim LaDuca wrote:
> This doesn't deal directly with anything currently going on with
> AbiWord, but certainly deals with it's eventual goal...
> Menu bars will NEVER be user friendly. The fact that most applications
> have both toolbar buttons and menu bars will always be a source of
> confusion for the masses and the menus often go little used. One thing
> that has really caught my attention as having great potential in the
> user friendliness area is my own Gnome desktop. Right now it has a very
> colorful scheme. The various 48x48 pixel buttons I have are quite
> self-explanatory and practically jump out at me because the buttons'
> backgrounds are a different color than the button bars background. A new
> user is too often confronted with a see of grayness. Gray boxes gray
> buttons, gray menu bars, gray scroll bars. I countless times see new
> users totally unable to distinguish between a dialog that has just
> popped up and the rest of the screen. User friendly applications will
> learn to make better use of color and better use of pictorial(icon)
> representations of various actions that can be performed. The menu
> bar(menu's altogether?) has to go and tool bar buttons must become fewer
> and larger.
> Regards,
> Tim LaDuca

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