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System settings layout suggestion

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imagus
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System settings layout suggestion

Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:09 am
Hi all

I am a relative new KDE user, yet I am attracted by its great interface. After use KDE for a while I think I noticed several small issues. Here is a screen shot of the "system settings" applications on my laptop

Image

As you may immediately notice, when the window is maximized you would find large blank margins on the right side, as the grid distance between icons is not scaled with windows size. Also, the distance between icons seems a little bit small, that some of the text below wraps into three lines. Third, the default icon size seems small when using large screen / high resolution.

From a personal opinion I would suggest:

1. either make the grid distance scale with window size so the icons are going to be more evenly distributed when the window is maximized; or make the window size fixed for this application.

2. make the default distance between icons larger so the text below do not expand into three lines or more; two would be at most I think.

3. make the default icon size larger for high resolution.

The mageia/mandriva control center has done something worth to see:

Image

Please notice though they have multiple lines, the text is beside a large icon, not under it.

Any ideas for this?
User avatar Fri13
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System settings layout suggestion

Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:53 pm
Even that current system settings looks good, it is a direct copy of OS X settings panel. And I find it harder to use than Mageia (Mandriva) control center where you can just choose the group from left side and then you have those on right side. And the icon+text position is nicer by my opinion.
User avatar Wizard
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System settings layout suggestion

Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:05 pm
I liked old tree the most, but what imagus is proposing is better than current one
Evropi
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System settings layout suggestion

Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:36 pm
I have yet to see an implementation better to openSUSE's YaST. Mageia turns it ugly and doesn't fit in with the theme but openSUSE keeps it compact, fills the windows and allows you to easily jump from on category to another.

It's far too cluttered at the moment and overwhelming. This is a key point to work out. Why not the Windows XP approach? I use classic as I fancy myself a bit of a power user (for Windows, I have much to learn about Linux yet) but it works really well for most people, including--well, my mum who's a bit of a blithering idiot with this sort of stuff. 50 and blonde. So I think that would be nice.

For all I know, the current system settings need to be replaced ASAP.
User avatar Fri13
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System settings layout suggestion

Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:17 pm
"It's far too cluttered at the moment and overwhelming."

That is what I would say about Yast. Even that Yast and MCC shares the same idea of groups on left side and actual modules on right side. The Yast idea to not follow groupping on right side is very annoing.

First you click example "Security" from left side and then you end up seeing everything else as well on right side, not just security modules (11.4 release).

Here is package manager and Yast main interface is behind it


It is even faster just to scroll down with right side than using the groups on left side.

MCC does this with logick and simplicity by only showing the modules what belongs to that group on left side.

Mageia has own theme for that and different from Mandriva. What is good thing as distribution can theme it how they want it (Even that I suggest to follow the KDE style if KDE would use such).

I remember the time when it was discussed how KDE4 system settings should look and work. About the theme and groupping, where the group text should be (top or in the group) etc and the result was what we have today.

The idea was to copy the OS X (then Mac OS X) settings panel.


It were nice and simple then as we didn't even have so many modules. But now even Adobe Flash is there.

And one big problem what we have is that the modules do not share same logic in the UI. This has been pointed out by xpete brainstorm.php?mode=idea&i=96374#anchormain

The control panel in Windows XP is terrible because all kind modules are just in alphabet order without logic for what area they belong.


That is reason why MCC is better as you choose group from left side and you narrow down the modules what are about it. Much easier to user even on support call when user does not need to spend time to searching one thing but help him to narrow the topic down by saying "Click networking on left side" and then seeing just 6 modules instead 31

Does this look nice?


The current systemsettings works great when compared to that, while I would say the group name is very tough subject to discuss.

The Windows 7 grouping is better than XP or non-groupping


When using OS X system settings, it just feels good. It is about the space how tidy they are and the group look.
But it goes bloated as well when adding more third-party modules in there.

Like this



I think in the end, there ain't just "best" choice.
Evropi
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System settings layout suggestion

Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:28 pm
Fri13, you're being awfully hypocritical. You're not talking about the YaST Control Panel which I was referring to but the package manager.

When I said Windows XP I specifically did say I didn't mean the classic view! I meant the one also in Windows 7 in the screenshot you posted! Not everyone uses the classic theme, I mean Luna which comes by default!...

Also, I would say I prefer the Mac interface for the system preferences to KDE's system settings. This is because there are less options to choose from (a few things could easily be integrated into, say, icons encompassing others within) and because it fills the space nicely like OP said. Also, the separations between each category are much better-looking on OS X.

As for MCC, it's decent but I feel that YaST integrates better to the system and like it for being more compact.

In short, I think you're trying to discredit my views as you're seemingly such a big name and all around here... you consistently ignored my points and made up your own so my argument would lose credibility only due to your damned popularity. Whatever, I won't argue with someone who doesn't even listen to me.
User avatar Hans
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System settings layout suggestion

Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:36 pm
Woah, woah, we need to calm down here. Refrain from personal attacks and discuss the content. Also, remember the KDE Code of Conduct, which is part of the forum rules.


Problem solved? Please click on "Accept this answer" below the post with the best answer to mark your topic as solved.

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User avatar Fri13
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System settings layout suggestion

Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:11 pm
Fri13, you're being awfully hypocritical. You're not talking about the YaST Control Panel which I was referring to but the package manager.


I were not?

Here is package manager and Yast main interface is behind it


I could not find the full default one quickly with size enough bigger (not even from Opensuse wallpaper collection).
All YaST screenshots are from old versions what I could find in few minutes, not from 11.4 or soon coming 12.1.

And there is even one big technical difference between System Settings and YaST (or at least were), when a user opens a module in YaST there is new window opened for that module.
When a user opens module in System Settings, the same window shows the settings.
It is multiple windows vs single window and that is one point what I didn't bring so clearly out as I just pointed to the idea what one other person had here. The YaST screenshot what I had, shown this that package manager what was launched from YaST is top of it. That is one reason why YaST can be so small as it more like a launcher for panels instead configuration panel (even that System Settings modules can be started separately).

When I said Windows XP I specifically did say I didn't mean the classic view!


You are partially right, my mistake was I had XP installed on my computer was - maybe 2002-2003. Last time when I used control panel on XP might been 2005. So when I made just search with "Windows XP control panel" and I could not find anything else than the "classic view" in first view I didn't even assume you would mean group view.

But still, you mentioned classic in way that at least I didn't even remember group view:

Why not the Windows XP approach? I use classic as I fancy myself a bit of a power user (for Windows, I have much to learn about Linux yet) but it works really well for most people, including--well, my mum who's a bit of a blithering idiot with this sort of stuff. 50 and blonde. So I think that would be nice.


Do you think there were not even possibility to understand that you really meant classic view and not anything else?

I had forgotten that the luna theme did even exist but so you meant this:


Is it so much different from Windows Vista/7 group view in control panel? No, just missing the shortcuts for many modules.

As for MCC, it's decent but I feel that YaST integrates better to the system and like it for being more compact.


YaST does that better way as it is written for Qt and GTK+ separately. It has different UI for GNOME and other GTK+ using desktops and different for KDE.
That is thing what MCC have lacked long time as Mandriva developers wanted only to use GTK+ instead Qt what would have done better job to fit for KDE as well.

Still those (YaST and MCC) are good ideas for "one control center for both desktops" vision, but even then the implementation is own.

In short, I think you're trying to discredit my views as you're seemingly such a big name and all around here... you consistently ignored my points and made up your own so my argument would lose credibility only due to your damned popularity. Whatever, I won't argue with someone who doesn't even listen to me.


And I tough't it was not about credits but the ideas. I am not "big name" or all around here at forums.kde.org. And you didn't make many points what to even try to ignore.

Do you want that I collect your "points"?

1) YaST is best
2) MCC is ugly
3) It should be tidy
4) Needs fast groups
5) System Settings is cluttered
6) Windows XP (classic) style works most of the people
7) System Settings need to be replaces

Did I forget something? I red your whole post and even by two times and tough I add other suggestions and examples.

Even that I quoted your phrase, I didn't mean that I wrote personally to you, but to continue that phrase what I quoted. I brought different visuals to others who might read the topic so they don't need to go out there and search them.

Personally It isn't so important does someone like me or not. I don't want purposely do a personal attacks or get credits.
And sorry to say but now I feel that because I didn't praise the YaST, you felt that whole post was personal attack toward your opinion.

In the end, I don't think it is so important what is a advanced user demands for system settings (or any software) for its default settings. As it is should be designed so default settings are for basic/new computer users.
Then secondly, it (any software) should be done usable by advanced users as well. If not by default settings, at least so they can configure it to be such that it is easy to use by advanced users.

As one of my opinions is that software needs to be stupid simple, but only by default. And have great amount of configuration possibilities so most (if not all) users can configure the software to adapt their needs, not a way around. A advanced user can do it easily, but new user does not know from where to start.

That is one great thing in System Settings that old users can switch to Classic Tree View from settings as it almost were in 3.5 version.



So personally apologies if you felt discredited.

PS. when you say you can not argue when other person does not read others arguments, did you read mine about YaST unlogical view or about same problem in OS X as current SystemSettings?

When using OS X system settings, it just feels good. It is about the space how tidy they are and the group look.
But it goes bloated as well when adding more third-party modules in there.


You could have argue about my examples and instead that you felt you needed to attack against "my big name" or "popularity" here.
imagus
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System settings layout suggestion

Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:04 pm
Totally re-design the system setting interface would be much more work. And I have no preference over the mageia control panel or other control panel. I just want to suggest some common UI design ideas which could be useful for system settings: the proper spacing between icons to avoid aggregated text, and proper distribution of UI elements.
xpete
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System settings layout suggestion

Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:54 am
imagus wrote:Third, the default icon size seems small when using large screen / high resolution.

I have a 1680x1050 screen and it doesn't look small to me but maybe can be created an option to change the icon size.

If you look at "System Settings" and MacOS X "System Preferences" side by side like here(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MOp3 ... tting2.png), you will notice a huge diference.
"System Preferences" is far smaller, far easier to read and far easier to find what you want.

So, I think in "System Settings" all the clutter around the lines should be removed, the lines should have diferent colors to make them easier to read. The lines height should be smaller as well. Better default fonts should be used as well.
The exit button should be removed too... It's already on the title bar so it's useless to have it on the toolbar.

Last edited by xpete on Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar Fri13
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System settings layout suggestion

Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:55 pm
I made today some historial digging from Internet about another topic and I ran to this:

http://blog.ereslibre.es/?p=166

It is blogpost as answer to Celeste's post abut system settings usability problems at http://weblog.obso1337.org/2008/system- ... gn-lesson/

You can find out little different ideas and reasons to current one from those.

@xpete

I have a 1680x1050 screen and it doesn't look small to me but maybe can be created an option to change the icon size.


That is good idea. I think that icon size should be choosable like person can choose what size is in Dolphin. Range from 22-64 should be enough. That is feature what I at least wish to have.

So, I think in "System Settings" all the clutter around the lines should be removed, the lines should have diferent colors to make them easier to read. The lines height should be smaller as well. Better default fonts should be used as well.


Just having lines without shadowing will cause more contrast what can be bad. Having a smooth fade helps and having a round edges to those groups helps a lot as well. I must say I really like the Apple system preferences look with plain background changes without group header lines. So that would be compromise to copy directly Apple by that. But same feature should be done to dolphin as well.

And lines should not have different colors. That would add even more clutter.

The font question is problematic. Example I am fairly blind for different fonts, but many fights about very very small differences on what is best.


The exit button should be removed too... It's already on the title bar so it's useless to have it on the toolbar.


The exit button were not there from beginning. It was added the by usability reasons. I would like to have possibility to remove it but....

If I remember correctly, reason was netbooks and touch screens. Where window was set in fullscreen by default and the possibility to close systemsettings was non-existing or hard to do.

That I just can not get why it is not possible remove by user....

ps. Your link does not work
User avatar Moult
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System settings layout suggestion

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:01 pm
In the interest of stopping this debate which doesn't seem to be yielding anything before the temperature rises too much...

Fri13, it is clear you have some very strong points about usability and a very critical eye when it comes to design. It is much easier to present your ideas in form of a proposal than a post talking about older solutions. I would recommend that you create a proposal and submit it as a brainstorm idea.


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xpete
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System settings layout suggestion

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:35 am
@Fri13

You can find out little different ideas and reasons to current one from those.


I agree with Celeste but not with the "fix".

Just having lines without shadowing will cause more contrast what can be bad. Having a smooth fade helps and having a round edges to those groups helps a lot as well. I must say I really like the Apple system preferences look with plain background changes without group header lines. So that would be compromise to copy directly Apple by that. But same feature should be done to dolphin as well.


Sorry for my bad engish. with lines i mean the rows. net "group header lines".

And lines should not have different colors. That would add even more clutter.

I mean the rows should have alternated colour like stripes.
This is not copying from apple, this an old standdard way to make rows easier to see...and should be used on Doplhin and in every list on KDE... so it's not rocket science.
So i think we agree on all stuff.

Ao my proposal is something like:

The row colors where chosen ramdomly and maybe somebody can find better colors that work well for color blind people.
The button on the bottom left corner open the tree.

ps. Your link does not work

Fixed
User avatar AHoneybun
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System settings layout suggestion

Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:53 am
The Mac OS X control panel is great and all, but Linux needs advancement on it's own. More thinking then just coping.


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User avatar J_L
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Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:18 am
I have another suggestion (when I have time I make a mockup and make another more explanatory post), it's about making the icon view more intuitive;

Imagine the icon view posted by xpete above - standard icon-click layout.
For three years with KDE my problem with settings layout (I feel tree-layout is too cluttered) been that I can't seem to find what I want. When I want to change looks, I always end up trying to find where to make the change (i.e "was it in applications appearance, desktop appearance or desktop effect ..or?!?" etc etc.


So standard icon view - and basicly my suggestion would be to make each row expandable.
If I click on "Desktop appearance" a sub row with those icons open below it. Beside that sub row, other sub rows of settings appear that are similar to what I possible want to change. In the case of "Desktop appearance" - "Application appearance" & "Desktop effects" would open beside in a sub row. Several new options open up when I would like to change something. Maybe this could be confusing at first but to me it would be a great feature.

One thing to add is that each row could have a reference colour i.e "Common-", "Workspace behaviour & appearance", "Network and connectivity", "hardware" & "System administration" each have their own colour that will be defined in the sub row that opens up.

On a quick view I see several settings that are divided that could have common interest to the user;

Desktop behaviour - application behaviour - desktop effects

File associations - startup and shutdown - default applications

Account details - personal information - User management - Locale

Partition manager - Device actions

Display and Monitor - Window behaviour

I guess the associations could be endless which would be a problem, and I'm not saying these above are the best layout/associations, those are simply more of a reference to let you understand what I mean.

When I get time I'll make a mockup for better understanding

Oh and since it isn't tree-view nor is it icon-view, I'd like to call it <b>leaf-view</b> - catchy huh? ;)

B.R

Jonas

Edit; btw, I have no idea how Windows and OSX look like now, so not sure if this would be copy or new ;)

 
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