2 Aug 2008
(updated 2 Aug 2008 at 01:06 UTC) »
GNOME: People or Objects?
Recently, I'd had this book recommended to me. I immediately picked the book
up, and read straight through it today. I strongly recommend it for anyone who
is currently, or wishes to get involved in, the open source community. If we
all take the advice within to heart, and get out of the box, so to
speak, we would get a lot more done.
Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box is a great read, yet short and to
the point. It's less than 200 pages, and I read it in the span of only a couple
of hours. If it's not on your bookshelf, put it there. Everyone should read
Taking the content to heart in terms of usability and accessibility
development, would be especially helpful in the GNOME desktop. Currently we
treat end users, and users with disability, as lower class objects, rather than
real people. Making the user interface better and more accessible for anyone
other than us is something we often see as a burden. It slows us down,
and gets in the way. We blame accessibility technologies for problems in
design and code. We need to just treat these users as people too, and fully
understand how they currently use the desktop, and what changes would make
using the desktop better for them, as well as for us. We need to fix these
problems in design and code, not avert blame, or justify them with mediocre
workarounds that the users themselves can accomplish.
A good example of this is the argument about a problem in git, which hp and
jclinton were having on IRC, earlier today. Havoc was explaining how and why
it was a problem. Talking about why git should not allow the user to perform
such action at all. Jason on the other hand, was simply arguing to justify
the behavior, as there are trivial ways to resolve the issue, though such
resolution must be performed by anyone using the central repository where the
issue becomes a problem. Seeking to justify the behavior doesn't make the
behavior any more valid. It just means there are possible workarounds or
solutions that can be done, once the problem appears, and is noticed.
Seeking to justify the means, just means everyone loses.
That example is great, because if whoever wrote the commands for git did
some basic usability testing, and treated users as people instead of objects,
the whole issue could probably have just been avoided in the first place.
I'm sure there are many more examples I could come up with, especially in
GNOME or KDE, but this one was fresh in my mind. And it's a great example of
how just relaxing and treating people as people, could help resolve a lot of
our conflicts in the community, and make our software much better for everyone.
Syndicated 2008-08-02 00:03:54 (Updated 2008-08-02 01:06:17) from dobey's blog