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[Design Project] System Settings

User avatar bcooksley
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Re: [Design Project] System Settings

Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:31 am
With regards to the Device Actions module - it is a tool intended for use by Power Users, as it requires knowledge of the specific properties devices can expose. This is why it offers a file browser immediately - because you'll need to extend the command further to ensure the application knows how to handle the device properly.


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Sogatori
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Heiko Tietze wrote:As I said some postings ago, the best method to study those types of information is card sorting. This method does the same as we did: it provides the participants with so called 'cards' (i.e. items with hierarchical information) and asks to create groups where items belongs to. The clue is not the individual organization but the statistical analysis which usually presents results as dendrogram.

I found a provider for free online card sorting and prepared a study. Unfortunately, it allows only up to 50 items. Maybe that's a good decision because card sorting takes time. And I'm not sure if module's labels are good enough to get the difference between "IM and VOIP > General" and "Account Details > General" (if existing). Therefore I stripped down the item list to 50 by removing unclear, double, and some arbitrary items. Please take a look if the study is good enough to ask people for participation (which I'd do if we agree on the approach).

And here comes the link: http://conceptcodify.com/studies/keodby8c/via/68r99gey/

PS: Results can be found here: http://conceptcodify.com/studies/keodby8c/analyze/

This looks pretty interesting! So, if I get this right the important information this site gathers is which items are grouped together and not how the user/tester categorised them?
Other than that it seems like a very good way to gather information necessary to decide how the we should (re)categorise KCM.
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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Sogatori wrote:This looks pretty interesting! So, if I get this right the important information this site gathers is which items are grouped together and not how the user/tester categorised them?
Other than that it seems like a very good way to gather information necessary to decide how the we should (re)categorise KCM.

Participants/users do their own categorization. You can add as many categories/groups as you want, name it and place KCMs (or rather function names, aka item/card) into your groups. The statistical analysis (hierarchical cluster analysis: Wikipedia) compares groups and arrangements, and builds an average model. The dendrogram as shown in the results will be the basis for our KCM grouping.
User avatar alake
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Heiko Tietze wrote:As I said some postings ago, the best method to study those types of information is card sorting. This method does the same as we did: it provides the participants with so called 'cards' (i.e. items with hierarchical information) and asks to create groups where items belongs to. The clue is not the individual organization but the statistical analysis which usually presents results as dendrogram.

I found a provider for free online card sorting and prepared a study. Unfortunately, it allows only up to 50 items. Maybe that's a good decision because card sorting takes time. And I'm not sure if module's labels are good enough to get the difference between "IM and VOIP > General" and "Account Details > General" (if existing). Therefore I stripped down the item list to 50 by removing unclear, double, and some arbitrary items. Please take a look if the study is good enough to ask people for participation (which I'd do if we agree on the approach).

And here comes the link: http://conceptcodify.com/studies/keodby8c/via/68r99gey/

PS: Results can be found here: http://conceptcodify.com/studies/keodby8c/analyze/


Wow, this is amazing Heiko! So I encourage everyone who has participated in this thread so far to go the link Heiko provided:

http://conceptcodify.com/studies/keodby8c/via/68r99gey/

And just start creating groups and putting the cards representing the each system settings module into the groups you create. Group them in the way that makes the most sense to you. This is a fantastic way to just do it and make some great, informed progress in determining how to arrange system settings modules.

So, please, go to that link and start grouping away. The more people that do this, the better. Tell your friends and get them to fill it out too! Doing this will be extremely valuable to help to determine a credible design direction.

Thanks so much for setting this up Heiko! :-)

P.S. Did I mention that you should go to that link? Cuz you really should! :-)
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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alake wrote:Wow, this is amazing Heiko! So I encourage everyone who has participated in this thread so far to go the link Heiko provided...

Thank you. Actually I just asked about the study design. If nobody complains on the item list I will call for participation as soon as our new blog (http://user-prompt.com) is online (which is listed on Planet KDE). Bjoern promised to manage it this weekend...
Nevertheless, you are welcome to run the test now!
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Question: how was similarity assessed in the analysis? Feel free to PM me so it doesn't get OT.


"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
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anandr
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This a very nice initiative and much needed. I find the existing settings very powerful but a bit overwhelming as well. Had much lengthy debates over G+ on it. I feel, having an advanced mode will help and tone it down for new users. (especially for refugees from another camp where support eXPired >:D )

You may want to have a look at Cinnamon DE’s System Settings as well. Some of their icons are eye-candy / pleasing as well. Also, screen edges are fancily named as "hot Corners".
Below, is a screenshot (not complete)


It is not as powerful as KDE but pretty much all one needs to configure one's desktop. Even Cinnamon is lacking in certain areas, in my view. They used to have an advanced mode which is removed in 2.2.

Am sharing what i felt as honest and critical feedback. I have used KDE and Cinnamon over the past one year and find benefits in each and some rough edges in both DE's. So I keep suggesting in both places on what they can improve. :)
Eg: Newly designed KDE Plasma Network manager is just brilliant and i created a feature request for that in Cinnamon. Similarly, suggested many improvements to Nemo based on mighty Dolphin features.

In fact, Clem himself has acknowledged and picked some KDE features to MATE / Cinnamon. Cross-learning across different opensource projects will benefit all.
User avatar ken300
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Anandr,

I agree completely that the current KDE System Settings may benefit from a few tweaks! Having every single setting available as soon as you open it might not make it the most friendly thing in the world.

What would you like to see added to Cinnamon Settings (when i tried it i thought the settings that were in there were fairly comprehensive given their target audience) & would you just add them in with the current settings or keep them separate (in a more advanced mode or something)??
tjennings
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I posted some suggestions for the test on the comment thread, but I think I should re-post them here:

First, it is limiting me to 10 categories, which seems kind of arbitrary. I picked 11 categories, but it wouldn't let me do that.

Second, many of the items listed are unclear. For instance "Devices" refers to bluetooth devices, which isn't at all clear from the name. Similarly, "Activity Settings" refers to per-activity power management settings, which again is not obvious. I had to look up many of the settings. Having better names, or at least a description on mouse-over, would makes things much better.

I have some more fundamental issues, however:

First, I think it not the best approach to divide these up by KCMs. The way settings are currently divided into KCMs may not be optimal. For example, power management includes what to do on screen lid close, while session management includes what the default “leave” option is. Someone very well may think these sorts of things belong together. Similarly, customizing the system bell sound is in "accessibility", while customizing the system bell volume is in "System Bell". So I think it would be better to divide up into tasks rather than KCM modules. That way it can also detect situations where the KCMs themselves need to be reorganized.

Second, I think that requiring people make their own groups requires a lot of time and work from testers. Further, it may introduce uncocious biases, for instance by thinking about items in terms of the current grouping.

So here is a proposal for an alternative testing approach:

  1. You go through the KCMs and determine the general tasks that are performed in the KCM. Come up with easily-recognizable names for each task.
  2. Dump all the tasks into one big pool.
  3. When a user starts the survery, randomly draw, say, 5 items from the pool (this number of just a suggestion).
  4. Display these 5 items to the user, and ask them to click the 2 most closely-related tasks. Alternatively, randomly select 1 item initially, and ask the user to pick the one of the remaining 4 that is most closely related to that item. Do NOT let them select “none”.
  5. Repeat this, say, 20 times for 20 random sets of 5 (again, 20 is just a suggestion). Make sure the same set isn’t duplicated in a session, although individual tasks can be.
  6. Give each item a distance from each other item of, for example, 1/(n+1), where n is the number of times the two items were placed together (again, 1/(n+1) is a suggestion).
  7. Do a cluster analysis based on these distances.
anandr
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Re: [Design Project] System Settings

Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:06 am
ken300 wrote:Anandr,

I agree completely that the current KDE System Settings may benefit from a few tweaks! Having every single setting available as soon as you open it might not make it the most friendly thing in the world.

What would you like to see added to Cinnamon Settings (when i tried it i thought the settings that were in there were fairly comprehensive given their target audience) & would you just add them in with the current settings or keep them separate (in a more advanced mode or something)??


I am not sure if we should discuss Cinnamon settings here. Dont want to hijack this thread. :) What I had meant was it is not advanced as KDE in configuration but as you say target audience differs as well.
One thing I can recall at top of the mind is merging some settings. Eg: Applets and Panel could be clubbed in same setting as different tabs.
Suggested here.
User avatar ken300
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Re: [Design Project] System Settings

Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:19 am
anandr,

Have you done Heiko Tietze's card sorting exercise mentioned earlier in this thread??
anandr
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Re: [Design Project] System Settings

Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:49 pm
ken300 wrote:anandr,

Have you done Heiko Tietze's card sorting exercise mentioned earlier in this thread??


Yes, that's what led me to this forum. :)
User avatar alake
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So it's looking like at least enough people did Heiko's grouping exercise to start looking at the results:

http://conceptcodify.com/studies/keodby8c/analyze/

Man this is fascinating! Heiko, please stop me if the conclusions I'm drawing are incorrect. I see a few major, unambiguous groupings based on the hierarchical clustering analysis:
  1. settings related to appearance
  2. settings related to hardware
  3. settings related to network
  4. settings related to personal information or accounts
  5. settings related to shortcuts
  6. settings related to location and language type stuff
  7. settings related to window manager tasks and notifications
  8. settings related to activities, virtual desktops and screen edges (workflow type stuff?)

I confess 6 and 7 are sorta the challenging ones for me. The best group names I can come up with based in part on the group names analysis and a touch of my own communication instincts are:
  1. Appearance
  2. Hardware
  3. Network
  4. Personal Information
  5. Shortcuts
  6. Location and Language
  7. Workflow
  8. Tasks and Notifications

That seems a pretty digestable set of groupings to me. If the kcms are not redesigned right now, then at least grouping them (and ordering them within each group) in a manner guided by this study seems like a big step forward. In the medium term, if kcms are redesigned, at least we'll already have defensible groupings, and we can just focus on merging, rearranging and simplifying the settings within each group.

I have to say this study Heiko set up is super interesting to me in terms of how well it helps sort through this kind of challenge, while also bringing some well-needed credibility to a historically sticky problem. Fun stuff! :-)
User avatar jensreuterberg
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I'd suggest moving onward with grouping, essentially hammering it down and get it sorted.
There has been some talk about remodelling the KCM's, the individual settings, (even though that is far off at the horizon) and perhaps after we've finished working on a common layout for the System Settings shared area we could move slowly on to that? :)


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User avatar Heiko Tietze
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alake wrote:So it's looking like at least enough people did Heiko's grouping exercise to start looking at the results:

You are pushing hard, Andrew. Not a minute to rest... ;)

But you are right, the results are fairly stable with 100+ responses. I had a Hangout with colomar (aka Thomas Pfeiffer) and we discussed the results based on the dendrogram. The colored areas mark the top level categories.
Image

  • Light blue: Appearance
    * Shouldn't "Display Configuration" & "Gamma" belong to Hardware/Devices?
    * In total this category might contain of too much items; perhaps we should split it into two sections.
  • Red: Network
    * File transfer seems to be distribution specific (@davidwright: The list is based on your post, Which setting is done per "file transfer"?)
  • Green: Hardware/Devices
  • Brown: Shortcuts
  • Magenta: Window Management / Workspace
    * Notification here?
  • Yellow: Accessibility
  • Blue: Individualization / Personal settings

Probably we need a further category for 3rd party settings. For example, Adobe Flash Player resides under 'not assigned' in Arch Linux.
(Unfortunately I'm not allowed to attach files. I send the LibreOffice-Draw document with the dendrogram and overlaid shapes per PM/email on request.)

 
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