XFCE configuration for .next

Conservative of innovative?

  • Conservative, as in SZ1.54 - keep it as it is and don't add confusion, experienced users keep their

    Votes: 5 22.7%
  • Innovative, optimized for touchscreen / stylus / small screen - experiment and risk confusion, but i

    Votes: 4 18.2%
  • Let the user choose between the two approaches, offering two pre-made default configs

    Votes: 13 59.1%

  • Total voters
    22

hmc

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Hi guys,

after I spammed the current test image thread with the discussion about the XFCE configuration / panel layout for .next (sorry for that), I'd now like to continue the discussion over here.

The poll should give a general image of the tendency, as my suggested configuration raised some controversy over if it's better to give the user his known environment, or to try to increase the quality of user experience and efficiency but risking confusion of users by breaking some habits, that are suitable for desktop computers but - IMO - questionable for handheld clamshell devices like the Pandora due to the totally different handling.

I like Kodeln's idea to let the user choose between the conservative and innovative user interface.

The opinions about my suggested configuration so far are (click to read details):

- dreamer, Askarus: negative, they prefer the conservative approach

- Kodeln: rather positive

I'd like to hear more opinions please.
 
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Asiyura

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Done ;)
I'm standing my previous opinions.
I like your setup, but allowing the choice between "classic" and touchscreen-optimized is better.
People are used to having their menu on bottom left corner of the screen.

And they tend to be rather conservative.
 

Askarus

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Your poll is bad.

Conservativ: Keep it as it is

Innovative: More efficient, optimised.

With this poll you influence the voter.

Noot innovative means not efficient and unoptimized.

Only because you prefer this panel it doesn't mean, the other is unoptimized.

I work with the default settings as long as I study, so don't tell me I use my Pandora inefficient.

And why do you force choice between less and more?

So you force innovation here. Where's the leave as it it button?

If I have time after my exams I'll make a Panel as well.
 

pmprog

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You also only have Panel on the top or bottom. I have my panel (I'm assuming you're referring to the launcher/systemtray/taskbar panel) on the right hand side where it consumes the least realestate.
 

pmprog

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That's your opinion, just as the side is mine; but I can't vote for my opinion.
 

hmc

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oh, this is a good idea: I also had the panel on the right for some time, which was quite good IMO, but not as good as having it on the top. Everything was reachable with the stylus very well. But some widgets on the pandel didn't display nicely, e.g. the clock. Hence I dropped that idea again. But you're right, the poll should contain those options and I should provide some screenshots so that the readers can imagine how it looks like. 

I'll see if I can create screenshots tonight.


Having the panel on the right or left optimizes the available screen height, which is good for working on documents (because mostly height is more imprtant than width for applications such as text processors, spreadsheets etc.).
In fact, I have the panel on the side on all my other computers, too. Windows at work: on the right; Mac at home: on the left.
Strange that I dnd't hink of it anymore for the Pandora panel. ;-) I have added those poll options now.
 

Askarus, sorry, I tried to make the poll as non-influencing as possible (because I am aware that I tend to do this when I have a strong opinion myself).
Yes, I think the current panel is not optimized for efficient touchscreen / stylus use, and no, I did not say that you don't use it efficiently. When we met, I have seen how amazingly efficiently you use the Pandora. Really impressive. And for you and probably for others, who use their Pandora as efficiently already (being very much used to the current XFCE configuration) it would problaby really be a bad thing to change the configuration significantly. It would not make sense to force users like you to use a new user interface, that decreases their efficency.
And in case you didn't notice: I also mentioned the disadvantage of user confusion for the optimized panel: "Conservative, as in SZ1.54 - keep it as it is and don't add confusion". I just added "experienced users keep their familiar environment." I hope that's good enough for you now.

Imagine, if Google and Apple didn't optimize user interfaces for their tablet or smartphone OSes. The DOS-driven HP 200LX, that I used for a long time, did not have the stock DOS interface, also not one of those common DOS desktops, but also an interface optimized for the device, considering the special screen size, format and resolution, the F keys, some special keys etc.

Those devices would never have such a big success on the market without their user interface adaptions. I really see potential here, to convince more users to switch to the Pandora, if there is a really optimized user interface. MiniMenu is one approach, suitable for gaming, but for work, XFCE is the tool of choice. But stock XFCE is optimized for desktop computers with a mouse and large screen. We usually don't have a mouse and we have a small screen. That requires different priorities.

My poll may be bad, but with your very strong expression of your opinion ("side is even worse", "It has to be on the bottom. Pandora button has to be left. Show Desktop has to be right.") you're not helping much either. It's simply wrong. Those elements don't have to be where you say they have to be. If they had to, XFCE and many other desktop environments would not allow them to be configured otherwise.

I very much like to experiment in that field and find new ways of operating a computer, that require less complicated interaction with the device to achieve quick and good results.


I see that this question splits the users into two groups. That leads me to the assumption that the user should really have a choice. Two pre-configured panel variants, and a dialog letting the user switch between a "experienced user; conservative layout" and a "new layout, probably needs time to get used to, but may increase efficiency".

Maybe we can even introduce some simple "theming" support:
Create a directory /etc/xdg/xfce4_presets/ as the container for some /etc/xdg/xfce4 content tarballs, and a simple bash+zenity script that lets the user choose one of those tarballs, unpacks it to /etc/xdg/xfce4 and restarts XFCE. Then, there can be a few configurations, that the user can easily try out and choose the one that suits him best.
Ideally, that script also would have an option to save the current configuration under a user-specified name, so the user can save his custom configuration and get back to it later.

I can gladly provide such a script. Should not be too hard to implement, even for me. ;-)
 
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Askarus

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It's simply my psychology studies that make me notice such influence.

"Inefficient" and "confusing" are not the same level.

Also you forget that Pandora isn't a main touchscreen device.

So I would be fine if one can chose during startup if he/she likes a touch optimized panel or a more desktop like panel.

If I buy a mini PC I want at least the choice to make it look like one (without doing everything manually).

________________________________

For your touch solution:

Make the one you have with much more icon shortcuts on the top and a hidden one on the left/right which in not fixed size and only contains open programs.

That saves room on the display and you have your main stuff easy accessible.

So we can combine panel on the side and top for touchscreen use.

Please also show the date, not only time.
 

hmc

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Damned, and my psychology studies did not make me able to place such influencing stuff hidden well enough so you don't notice it. ;-)

Seriously: I didn't study psychology in university, but I had more than enough opportunity (and need, unfortunately) to study such subconscious influences in my familiar surrounding for many years. So I understand well what you mean, and I also hate that, so I try to avoid that. Not always entirely successful, as it seems.

You have good ideas,

however, I am not so sure about the hidden variant of the panel, since it's hard to make it visible using touchscreen only, isn't it? 

I did not forget that the Pandora is not only a touchscreen device, but I try to find solutoins that work well for both touchscreen usage and keyboard / mouse usage, as I assume many people nowadays either mainly use the touchscreen or at least switch often between the touchscreen and keyboard / mouse input.

Touchscreen is a very valuable additional input method. Using the nubs for mouse input can be quite hard simetimes, and you cannot always use an external real mouse. Often it's the fastest way to simply lift a finger off the keyboard and quickly tap that button of the dialog that just came up. For GUI navigation, I often use either the keyboard or the stylus. Often, keyboard usage is not optimal, since many applications or configuration dialogs are not meant or optimized for keyboard shortcut usage.

For example when configuring the XFCE panel, I did this mainly with the stylus. Hard to do it in another way, except with a real mouse, which I didn't have at hand when doing this.

My idea is to have a configuration that's always well usable, no matter if you use the keyboard and real mouse, nub mouse or touchscreen, since users are often forced to quickly switch between those ways of input by applications, so the always-visible desktop stuff should be accessible well using all of those methods, without needing to reconfigure and restart the desktop enviromnent.

But thanks for the idea. I'll soon test how a hidden panel works in accordance with that idea.
 

Askarus

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Don't forget you can change the size of the panel.

Make the left one with applications smaller maybe.

Didn't experiment much with the xfce 4.10 panel.

It's not that hard to make a working one on the big screen.

Have a good idea.

Will try out and report.
 

Askarus

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Hidden panel is bad for touchscreen.

What I wanted to do:

Make a transparent panel on the side which only has window buttons and reserve on space for it.

But on Pandora I can't change the alpha channel (can on computer).

Will inform aTc about it in the other thread.
 

_wb_

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I prefer OpenBox anyway, so I don't really care. But it's nice to have options, and I think it's a good approach to let the user choose between two approaches, which helps to emphasize that you can actually customize stuff. I don't care that much about where the panel is, as long as it is horizontal (vertical seems like a good idea given the aspect ratio of the screen, but the problem is that text labels in the taskbar need horizontal space).

Given the limited screen area, I prefer the minimalistic style of OpenBox, and I often even disable its panel (it is nice that you can easily toggle it). I prefer not to use the mouse (nub or stylus) at all for stuff it is not needed for, stuff like accessing menus or switching between windows. Most of all, I like that I can use the Pandora button to get a menu at any time (more reliably than the hacky click simulation thing in XFCE), and a menu that is very responsive even if you have a huge amount of PNDs installed like me.

In my opinion, OpenBox should be one of the default window managers in .next - maybe even the default one.
 

aTc

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A recipe for openbox exists, so I built and uploaded that in case anyone wants to try anything with it.
 

Asiyura

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More: Offer features - Show the user what's possible and let him then remove unwanted stuff(6 votes [50.00%])
I hate having to spend hours cleaning up thing when I get a new device/reinstall the OS. IMHO this should be avoided.
 
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Askarus

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More: Offer features - Show the user what's possible and let him then remove unwanted stuff
 (6 votes [50.00%])
I hate having to spend hours cleaning up thing when I get a new device/reinstall the OS. IMHO this should be avoided.
Others hate if they have to do everything on their own. ;)

You already have the choice to chose a plain panel.

What I really hate is that action button.

I can't get rid of it easily.

As long as I can't write any plugins for it a simple launcher is much better for me.
 

Askarus

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That menu button.

That C-program.

You wanted to write some plugin for me. and have one for your keyboard LEDs.

(Toggle USB, wifi, blluetooth, SD-mass storage, CPU-Speed and TV-out.)

As long as I don't know how to disable it I dislike it.
 
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