My UI principles was: (Re: [squeak-dev] Re: Simple Frame Adornments - default value...)

Igor Stasenko siguctua at
Thu Mar 4 02:50:06 UTC 2010

On 4 March 2010 04:02, Chris Muller <asqueaker at> wrote:
> I think Preferences are a good tool for reconciliation of our UI
> differences.  However, another good tool is if we can establish a
> constructive dialogue about UI.  Such a dialogue could perhaps
> occasionally spare us a new preference in favor of a slightly more
> cohesive result, because it was a solution that was good enough for
> the overwhelming majority.  Let's talk about it!  Of course
> preferences are great because they allow our users to heavily
> customize the system..
> I hope, my having gone through Maui and forced myself through dozens
> of painstaking design and usability choices, at least illustrates my
> own _interest_ in this subject.  I'm interested, in talking about
> these ideas with those interested in making Squeak look drop-dead
> gorgeous not just on the surface, but in the details too.
> Understanding each others' core-UI principles I think would be very
> helpful in establishing a constructive dialog.  Here are mine:
> 1) That, at least the a software dev-environment (which is about what
> we're talking about), that this software, Squeak, expects users to
> have Basic Computer-Literacy before attempting to use Squeak.
>  "Basic Computer Literacy" is defined as:
>    - Use of the keyboard, including the Enter or Return key, arrow
> keys, page/home/end.
>    - Use of the mouse as a pointing device.
>    - Use of the (red/left/primary) mouse button as a means to
> "select" or "activate".
>    - Use of the (yellow/right/alternate) mouse button, and
> understanding that is how to ask an object for options or information.
> 2) A user with Basic Computer Literacy, will be able to, at least,
> _discover_ how to operate a system with merely those skills.  If the
> system requires further skills, it should be discoverable via help or
> guidance-elements accessed only with BCL.  Typically, users learn
> about UI-elements not already obvious to them by yellow-clicking for
> interrogation and discovery.
> 3)  Humans direct, software responds.  Software should take care not
> to interrupt human.  Software should no't ask "are you sure?",
> instead, provide undo.
> 4)  Ensuring not to break rule 2, give the user the most powerful
> gestures possible to efficiently operate the software.  This typically
> means:
>   - minimize the demands of the users fine motor-skill (i.e.,
> small-area left-clicking)
>   - employ high-traction strategies, such as the power of pointing
>   - good keyboard support is almost always, really necessary.
> That's it, those are my UI principles.  If software requires user to
> be "frantic" to go fast, then it does not provide enough
> power-per-gesture.
> The principles I heard from rado are:
>  - favors practicality over aesthetic
>  - that the machine should make it easy on him, not force his eyes to
> "search for the corner" to see the status (and not forgetting, there
> may be several dirty windows with their corner exposed)
> I understand these.  The principles from Igor are:
>  1. friendly for newcomers
>  2. convenient for citizens.
> however, I am not sure what he meant by "friendly" and "convenient".

Just two examples:
Friendly means that user should not be puzzled by UI , like what does
that red rectangle means.
Drawing a semitransparent 'changed... [v][x]' in the text morph corner
is what i calling friendly.
It could be combined with red rectangle, if you want, but not rectangle alone.
And convenient means, that if i going to learn how to use UI more
efficiently (mainly using keyboard shortcuts)
then first and obvious thing what i need is a way to see the list of
current keyboard shortcuts bindings as well as
be able to change them in case if i prefer using different keys.

> Igor, I am very interested in your ideas in a constructive dialogue..
>  - Chris
> On Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 5:56 PM, Igor Stasenko <siguctua at> wrote:
>> On 4 March 2010 01:21, radoslav hodnicak <rh at> wrote:
>>> I do not care whether a feature is ugly as long as it's practical and making
>>> it less ugly means making it less practical. I also do not care if a feature
>>> is counterintuitive to newcomers, if making it less counterintuitive means
>>> making it less practical too.
>> Practical is to use cell phone for calls. This means that your iPhone
>> is not much more practical than
>> 10-year old cell phone with tiny monochrome display. So, why people buying it?
>> I know people who still prefer using a unix command line and feel very
>> distracted, when they need to switch to graphic mode to look something
>> on the web. But let us be realistic: user interface is User Interface,
>> meant for humans, not for robots which doesn't have any sense of
>> aestetics or any use of good look and feel.
>> A good UI is one which is
>> 1. friendly for newcomers
>> 2. convenient for citizens.
>> remove either of above, and you don't have good UI. You will have crap.
>> We should always care about both of these.
>> Just my 2 cents..
>>> Sure a red frame is not very pretty aesthetically speaking (although I'd be
>>> hard pressed to rate an orange rectangle in the corner as a dramatic
>>> improvement), but it provides a very clear visual clue that is accessible
>>> *immediately*, without focusing on a window corner with my eyes.
>>> Substance > Style
>>> That said, as long as it's a preference, I don't mind what the default value
>>> is.
>>> I'd like to ask all folks messing with the user interface to always add
>>> preferences for the the changes you do - in other words: add features and
>>> keep the old ones. Don't replace. I'm open to trying out new things and see
>>> if they speed up my workflow, but chances are they won't.
>>> rado
>>> On Thu, 4 Mar 2010, Igor Stasenko wrote:
>>>> Chris,
>>>> i add -1 to red outline too. This is a counterintuitive and ugly.
>>>> I still remember when i first opened squeak and i were unable to
>>>> figure out what this red herring means. :)
>>>> On 4 March 2010 00:22, Chris Muller <asqueaker at> wrote:
>>>>> Ok, thanks for speaking up, I just didn't know whether there was any
>>>>> voice at all for the new look.
>>>>> And please don't get me wrong, I am *all for* better form.  And I even
>>>>> agree, this one "looks" better, artistically.  It's just that some of
>>>>> the 3.11 improvements to form have come at a cost to function, and
>>>>> THAT, in itself, can sometimes detracts from form somewhat (i.e.,
>>>>> greater function has implicitly better form).  Perhaps we considered
>>>>> making the ugly solid-line red-frame simply look better, like with
>>>>> three progressively-more translucent rectangles, each inset one pixel
>>>>> of the outer?  Or maybe a combination of the two looks, one
>>>>> (translucent?) line combined with the new (corner) look.
>>>>> Since your -1 is big and fat, I consider it the winner of the vote and
>>>>> I'll adjust my own Preference file accordingly.  Going forward, if we
>>>>> can find ways to have our cake and eat it too, it would be better than
>>>>> having introduce a yet another Preference that forces one to choose
>>>>> between form and function.
>>>>>  - Chris
>>>>> On Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 3:49 PM, Andreas Raab <andreas.raab at> wrote:
>>>>>> On 3/3/2010 12:40 PM, Chris Muller wrote:
>>>>>>> Thanks for adding the preference, but unfortunately the default is
>>>>>>> false such that the new way still presses in for each new image.
>>>>>>> In the original thread, there were two people who expressed this was a
>>>>>>> "step backward" for them, but there were no proponents for the change
>>>>>>> voiced.  Therefore, unless there are strong objectors who can make
>>>>>>> some arguments for, I'd like to put the default value for this to
>>>>>>> restore the default functionality that has been there for years.
>>>>>>> 3.11 has suffered several usability degradations over 3.9 in terms of
>>>>>>> the UI.  I would like to begin addressing them, starting with this
>>>>>>> one.
>>>>>> A big fat -1 from me. From my perspective the rectangular frame is ugly.
>>>>>> Simple as that. It's visually unpleasant and in conflict with the rest
>>>>>> of
>>>>>> the window and the default shouldn't be that. If the new cue is too
>>>>>> subtle
>>>>>> to be of use for you personally, that's what we got preferences for, but
>>>>>> I
>>>>>> think we should at least *try* to get a teenie weenie bit less heinous
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> the default L&F.
>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>  - Andreas
>>>> --
>>>> Best regards,
>>>> Igor Stasenko AKA sig.
>> --
>> Best regards,
>> Igor Stasenko AKA sig.

Best regards,
Igor Stasenko AKA sig.

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