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Ktouch usability issues

kde-dreamwalker
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Ktouch usability issues

Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:23 pm
Hi,

I've just upgraded to KDE 4.10.0 and had some serious trouble working with new version of ktouch. I may not be a "target" user because I don't use the default courses, but still I found this soft usable. Now it is not.

I won't complain about one-button menu - I hate this, but it's not a problem compared to the rest of failures.

My main usage scenario looks like follow:
- open custom file
- practice, practice, practice
end

It appears that it's pretty much impossible now.

First, there's no fast&easy option to open a custom file (I've checked many times. If I'm blind, please enlighten me). Instead, I had to add a new course and exercies. Happens. Maybe as I set it once for all it would be more comfortable.

Second, I couldn't change the course to my newly created (or any other). Again, I may be blind, stupid, whatever. But it's not obvious (still, after clicking every thing clickable in this app). Is there ANY way to do this?

Sorry devs, I know you wished all the best for this app, but I have no other choice than to move to another. Current ktouch is unusable for me.
User avatar scummos
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Re: Ktouch usability issues

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:06 pm
I'd say the first complaint is a design decision and it's okay to do it like this.

The second one, tough... I already noticed it in the beta (well beta, at some random point during development), but I tought it was just not implemented yet. There's not so many buttons in the program, so I doubt we have overlooked it? Maybe it relies on an auto-detect algorithm for the lesson to choose... the one it selects for me is not unreasonable. It's still pointless that you can't change it manually...

Maybe an email to the new maintainer would clear things up?

Greetings,
Sven


User avatar scummos
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Re: Ktouch usability issues

Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:09 pm
I asked Sebastian in an email about this, he explained it: Change your keyboard layout to what you want to train, and ktouch will select the possible courses automatically depending on that. Then, you can cycle through the available courses with the two little green arrows in the right top corner of the window.

Greetings,
Sven


sebasgo
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Re: Ktouch usability issues

Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:07 am
Hi everyone,

I am the principal developer of the new version of KTouch. I think scummos explained well enough how to switch to a different course. But I want to shed some light on the other issues raised by kde-dreamwalker

kde-dreamwalker wrote:I've just upgraded to KDE 4.10.0 and had some serious trouble working with new version of ktouch. I may not be a "target" user because I don't use the default courses, but still I found this soft usable. Now it is not.


The target audience for KTouch is anyone wants to learn touch typing. Learning this is most effective when done early, e.g. if one hasn't developed any own less-efficient typing technique yet. So the software has to usable by young children as well. That's the main reason for simple user interface design KTouch employs. And more importantly, it is necessary that KTouch is usable right from the first launch. Any kind of setup requiring knowledge about intricate technical details like keyboard layouts is way to complicated.

I think this scenario--provided there is a course for the user's keyboard layout--is there the new version of KTouch excels.

kde-dreamwalker wrote:My main usage scenario looks like follow:
- open custom file
- practice, practice, practice
end

It appears that it's pretty much impossible now.


I agree that the old version of KTouch may be more suitable for experienced typist. But the deficiencies experienced here to not stem from my unwillingness to provide certain features for the sake of simplicity, the reason is much more profane: man power.

I am pretty much the only developer regularly working on KTouch, the old version was abandoned altogether. When I started working on KTouch I had to make the basic decision whether to improve the application incrementally or to start over. So I have tested the old interface on my friends (mostly Computer Science college students) and even they struggled to perform basic setup tasks. How should technically unexperienced users like children should pass this hurdle? At that point it was clear for me that the old interface had no future. Unfortunately in the old version the user interface code and logic was tightly intervened. This led to the decision to rewrite the whole application.

Rewriting software is always a huge task, still at some point one has to make release. The new version was in preparation for over one year, still not all the features the old version provided have been implemented. Nonetheless I think it was the right decision to release the software to the public since the features it actually ships are arguable much more usable as their counterparts in the old version.

As for the missing feature to provide the ability to train on custom texts in a comfortable way--this feature will return, probably in the next release. Originally I wanted to ship with this feature in the initial release but simply didn't manage to implement it before the Feature Freeze.

kde-dreamwalker wrote:I won't complain about one-button menu - I hate this, but it's not a problem compared to the rest of failures.

Better don't. The menu has total number of ten entries including the five entries of the standard KDE help menu, it would be ridiculous to provide a classic menu bar for them. And in my research I found that the overly complicated menu system of the old version was the prime reason for its usability problems. People simply didn't find the correct menu items for the tasks I gave them.

kde-dreamwalker wrote:Sorry devs, I know you wished all the best for this app, but I have no other choice than to move to another. Current ktouch is unusable for me.


Knowing your usage pattern I can understand that decision. Maybe amphetype (https://code.google.com/p/amphetype/) the right application for your needs?

 
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