OSDev.org

The Place to Start for Operating System Developers
It is currently Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:31 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:45 pm 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:07 pm
Posts: 550
Location: Throw a dart at central Texas
But what about having 2 on screen at once?

_________________
Owner of Fawkes Software.
Wierd Al wrote:
You think your Commodore 64 is really neato,
What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:59 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:01 pm
Posts: 7399
Location: Germany
Funny to see how "alternative user interfaces" usually boils down to using windows, icons and the mouse differently...

What about bringing the different technical interfaces together?

  • GUI mode: 2D screen, keyboard, mouse
  • Text mode: ncurses style terminal, keyboard
  • Script mode: remote control of one or more applications through a script
  • Handicapped mode: braille terminal, voice I/O, ...
  • SciFi mode: 3D environment, gestures

If you create an UI framework that caters for all of those, that would be probably much more of an impact than trying to figure out a GUI metaphor that goes contrary to everything millions of users came to expect. (Personally, I despise these "new user experience" interfaces, because the only ones that do not stumble over them are those who never used a computer before...)

_________________
Every good solution is obvious once you've found it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:06 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:31 pm
Posts: 299
Location: Boston
Yea but you can do all those things through windows. Also, linux may have multiple VT's, but you cannot look at them side by side. Windows are much more flexible. I really dont know anything about UI design, but abstractly this just seems to me like the only way.

_________________
http://code.google.com/p/eliax/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:08 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:01 pm
Posts: 7399
Location: Germany
yemista wrote:
Yea but you can do all those things through windows.


You can group radio buttons on a braille terminal? You can communicate a UI canvas'ed for slicker looks via a narrator device?

Quote:
Also, linux may have multiple VT's, but you cannot look at them side by side. Windows are much more flexible.


Multiple VT's don't need a graphics chips driver, windows do. Sure I love juggling 'konsole', two browsers, an Eclipse instance and my MP3 player across multiple screens, but when I don't have X11, I need those multiple VT's, or I'd go crazy.

Quote:
I really dont know anything about UI design, but abstractly this just seems to me like the only way.


It's the best we have today given you have the hardware, driver support, and the sensoric ability to use it. But I think "doing windows" first and considering things like a text interface as a "second class citizen" isn't that smart a choice.

_________________
Every good solution is obvious once you've found it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:24 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:31 pm
Posts: 299
Location: Boston
Quote:
It's the best we have today given you have the hardware, driver support, and the sensoric ability to use it. But I think "doing windows" first and considering things like a text interface as a "second class citizen" isn't that smart a choice.


I did not mean that at all. They both have their place and I personally prefer a text interface for a lot of things, but what I meant by window was basically just a graphical output box. Its true VT's are useful when you dont have X11, but when you do, you just need to open a terminal window, and I think having a lot of terminal windows open is a much easier way to work than cycling through VT's. All I am trying to say is I have a hard time seeing how you could design a working, efficient GUI without the use of some kind of windowing system. Again it could be short sightedness on my part, and in fact most innovations come from something no one else could see, but it just appears that no matter what you call it or how you structure it, essential it will be a window based system. This just seems to be the nature of running applications in a GUI.

_________________
http://code.google.com/p/eliax/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:04 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:01 pm
Posts: 7399
Location: Germany
Ah, OK, now I see what you mean.

Yes, I agree it "seems natural" - if for no other reason than that we are all used to it.

I'm absolutely pro innovation. But if you want to break with things that are so established and widespread as the "windows GUI", you have to have a killer reason to do so. "Marginally better", "cool" or "different" doesn't justify "completely alien".

_________________
Every good solution is obvious once you've found it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:09 pm 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:06 am
Posts: 158
Location: Berlin, Germany
I'm sorry I haven't read through the whole thread yet, but I want to reply to the OP. Is it something like this you mean? See the "screenshots" in http://www.daimi.au.dk/~walling/fullscr ... ea.tar.bz2


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:18 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:52 am
Posts: 361
The tab thing is really just maximized windows with the taskbar at the top (and in the screenshot some frills to make things more confusing).

With today's huge screens it makes sense to be able to show multiple windows at once, so I think the always-maximized idea isn't cutting it.

In my opinion it would be more fruitful to focus on specific annoyances with current guis and how to fix these (could be small fixes or completely redoings of the paradigms), rather than trying to make up something new only because it should be different.
Alternatively look at effective user interfaces and ask what's so good about them and if they can be reused.

A window is just "a visual area where an application presents itself to the user". I don't think we can get around that easily, but that doesn't mean all windows are equal.

Points to consider
- Blender has non-overlapping windows. Could that be useful in a desktop setting?
- I often want to show two windows side by side. This is every easily done in Windows XP, provided the programs don't misbehave (just select the windows you want to tile by ctrl-clicking the taskbar buttons, then ctrl-right-click the last taskbar button and select how you want them to tile). However, they always show up with the wrong window at the left/right, and I have to move them manually. How can window tiling be made to produce the results expected by the user?
- All major desktop OSes is configured by default to allow seeing the desktop outside the windows. Does this feature have any usefullness at all? Would it be more useful if the windows filled all available screen area by default, and then shrunk when necessary?
- Could the above feature be implemented in a useful fashion without having to resort to window reflowing (window shapes flows around other windows like text flows around an image)?
- Can window reflowing be implemented in a way users like?
- Can window reflowing be implemented without extensive application-level support?
- It is very important that programs are easily distinguished (Photoshop and Illustrator may look very similar at first glance), however, it's even more that important that programs are consistent with buttons and workspace in the same places. This seems like a contradiction, can it be solved without a tradeoff?
- Would automatic window colouring be useful (each program gets a unique tint to show which window belongs to which program)? Could look good when the window is textured (like OS X windows) and alleviate the hungers for programmers to manually skin their windows. Obviously it would have to be persistent so Photoshop was blue every time and Illustrator was red every time. Makes all programs stand out from the crowd while still remaining consistent with buttons in the same places, standard widgets, etc...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:03 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:06 am
Posts: 158
Location: Berlin, Germany
Craze Frog wrote:
With today's huge screens it makes sense to be able to show multiple windows at once, so I think the always-maximized idea isn't cutting it.

I don't agree. I work a lot on my X41 Thinkpad (12") and Eee PCs (7-10") are quite popular (in Scandinavia anyway). I think we'll see a mixture in the future; a lot of small devices (smart phones, minibooks, e-books) and a lot of nice and big screens (HD screens). We are seeing that already.

Craze Frog wrote:
- I often want to show two windows side by side. This is every easily done in Windows XP, provided the programs don't misbehave (just select the windows you want to tile by ctrl-clicking the taskbar buttons, then ctrl-right-click the last taskbar button and select how you want them to tile). However, they always show up with the wrong window at the left/right, and I have to move them manually. How can window tiling be made to produce the results expected by the user?

You say that it is very easily done in Windows XP. On the other hand you say they often show up wrong. I don't think that's easy. Dragging a tab to the edge of the screen is easy. I'm sure it's a matter of opinion.

You have a lot of interesting points to consider and I think it's raises some of the problems I want to tackle. Another question is: How do you easily develop an application that runs and behaves nicely on both smart phones (4"), minibooks (10") and maybe even HD screens (large)? Maybe you have to redevelop the user interface part, but can it be done in a way where you reuse the rest of the code base? You have to think about the different performance on a small ARM compared to a Dual Core X64.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:06 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:06 pm
Posts: 1437
Location: Redmond, WA, USA
Craze Frog wrote:
I often want to show two windows side by side. This is every easily done in Windows XP, provided the programs don't misbehave (just select the windows you want to tile by ctrl-clicking the taskbar buttons, then ctrl-right-click the last taskbar button and select how you want them to tile). However, they always show up with the wrong window at the left/right, and I have to move them manually. How can window tiling be made to produce the results expected by the user?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TnWwxuPZFM

Craze Frog wrote:
Would automatic window colouring be useful (each program gets a unique tint to show which window belongs to which program)? Could look good when the window is textured (like OS X windows) and alleviate the hungers for programmers to manually skin their windows. Obviously it would have to be persistent so Photoshop was blue every time and Illustrator was red every time. Makes all programs stand out from the crowd while still remaining consistent with buttons in the same places, standard widgets, etc...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLZcGDya ... re=related

Both incremental improvements, but still interesting.

_________________
Top three reasons why my OS project died:
  1. Too much overtime at work
  2. Got married
  3. My brain got stuck in an infinite loop while trying to design the memory manager
Don't let this happen to you!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:16 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:52 am
Posts: 361
Walling, my post was mostly aimed at desktop GUIs, because that's what I am interested in. For small devices I agree that my arguments don't hold.

Colonel Kernel wrote:
Craze Frog wrote:
I often want to show two windows side by side. This is every easily done in Windows XP, provided the programs don't misbehave (just select the windows you want to tile by ctrl-clicking the taskbar buttons, then ctrl-right-click the last taskbar button and select how you want them to tile). However, they always show up with the wrong window at the left/right, and I have to move them manually. How can window tiling be made to produce the results expected by the user?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TnWwxuPZFM
It's a nice improvement, but it seems like it's not possible to dock windows to the top of the screen (to tile them horizontally). There is no reason that should be harder to achieve than tileing vertically, right?

Craze Frog wrote:
Would automatic window colouring be useful (each program gets a unique tint to show which window belongs to which program)? Could look good when the window is textured (like OS X windows) and alleviate the hungers for programmers to manually skin their windows. Obviously it would have to be persistent so Photoshop was blue every time and Illustrator was red every time. Makes all programs stand out from the crowd while still remaining consistent with buttons in the same places, standard widgets, etc...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLZcGDya ... re=related

Both incremental improvements, but still interesting.[/quote]Wow, except that I thought of this a long time before Windows 7, and I want to do it for the entire windows instead of just the taskbar buttons.

Oh, and if Windows 7 doesn't have text for the taskbar buttons I'll die. I've tried this (SyllableOS) and working with it is just plain and simply not possible.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:42 pm 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:06 pm
Posts: 1437
Location: Redmond, WA, USA
Craze Frog wrote:
It's a nice improvement, but it seems like it's not possible to dock windows to the top of the screen (to tile them horizontally). There is no reason that should be harder to achieve than tileing vertically, right?


I suppose. I'm guessing that tiling vertically is a more common use case though, since people tend to read and compare things side-by-side.

Craze Frog wrote:
Oh, and if Windows 7 doesn't have text for the taskbar buttons I'll die. I've tried this (SyllableOS) and working with it is just plain and simply not possible.


The dock in Mac OS X doesn't have text until you mouse over the icons. I'm guessing Windows 7's taskbar will behave similarly (I haven't tried it yet). If the icons are memorable enough, it isn't a problem in practice, especially since they stay there in the new taskbar (like the OS X dock). So not only do you recognize the icon and its primary colour, but also its position. These are enough cues for most people to find commonly-used items very quickly.

_________________
Top three reasons why my OS project died:
  1. Too much overtime at work
  2. Got married
  3. My brain got stuck in an infinite loop while trying to design the memory manager
Don't let this happen to you!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:59 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:03 am
Posts: 1029
Location: Hobart, Australia
Colonel Kernel wrote:
I'm guessing that tiling vertically is a more common use case though, since people tend to read and compare things side-by-side.


I must be an outlier then. I quite often have PuTTY and Internet Explorer open on top of each other, so that I can read the full width of lines whilst following a tutorial. On the other hand, I never put things side by side.

_________________
My Personal Blog | My Software Company - Loop Foundry | My Github Page


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:32 am 
Offline
Member
Member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:06 pm
Posts: 1437
Location: Redmond, WA, USA
JackScott wrote:
I must be an outlier then. I quite often have PuTTY and Internet Explorer open on top of each other, so that I can read the full width of lines whilst following a tutorial.


I use a translucent terminal window with the browser underneath it. ;)

_________________
Top three reasons why my OS project died:
  1. Too much overtime at work
  2. Got married
  3. My brain got stuck in an infinite loop while trying to design the memory manager
Don't let this happen to you!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Alternative User Interfaces
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:22 pm 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 202
Craze Frog wrote:
The tab thing is really just maximized windows with the taskbar at the top (and in the screenshot some frills to make things more confusing).

Yes, you are right.

yemista wrote:
The advantage of GUI over command line is that you can run multiple programs at once and have simoultaneous outputs going at once. I may be unimaginative, but I cant see how else you can do this other than some kind of a window, whether you call it a page or whatever.

Also, I think VTs are not very different from windows in the sense that both represent something you are working on. You can mimic the useful effect of having multiple windows with multiple VTs.
This guy was saying that you cannot have a better UI without having some kind of abstraction for multiple "workspaces", call it a window, a VT, or a tab.

JJ


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group