Jump to content

THE GUI SHOULD BE BETTER

Recommended Posts

13 hours ago, Eisen said:

Hey, i'm an amateur pixel artist. While i can't chime in too much, I did do something kind of strange that may seem interesting to some folks here.

 

 

Hey, a pixel art theme could be pretty awesome for the OS.  I'm a fan of that style.  When editing the video, I found myself wishing my OS looked like I was living in the racing game world at the end.

Share this post


Link to post

I can drop a bit on Dvorak and for anybody who's interested.

 

If you're really enthusiastic about keyboard layouts and keyboard design, then you should probably learn Dvorak and/or other layouts like Colemak and Workman and such simply because you'll find it fun -- hard work, but fun. Similarly, if you care a lot about the feeling of typing (like you're collecting keyswitches and such), then it's almost rediculous to not be well-versed in a second layout (if for anything but the fun of it). Otherwise.... there's not really anything in it for other people.

 

Personally I started using Dvorak because I needed to break a lot of bad habits really quickly. My home row was Shift+WAD and JIOP/arrow keys, one of my thumbs anchored itself awkwardly on the front edge of the keyboard, and over the course of a year I was starting to get a really burning in my wrists after typing (noting here that I'm 20 years of age and an aspiring programmer, go-figure). Learning a proper, clean way of using the keyboard doesn't get rid of the build-up of pain, but over the course of two years it's far milder. (Because of this, I also use a 42-key Atreus keyboard so I don't have any far-reaching stretches when I type.)

 

If you want to type more productively, then learning a new keyboard layout isn't for you -- unless maybe you want to get into stenography, but that's a whole separate skill. Faster typing is a product of practice, and a new layout is going to set you back with a 100 hours of awkwardness. Then there's the technical problems: changing your keyboard layout is a native function of Windows and Linux and BSD and such, but all the default shortcuts for programs are meant for QWERTY, not all of those shortcuts are re-mappable, and some programs are going to ignore your OS's selected keyboard layout and will try and parse the keyboard scancodes with their own half-assed methods. Depending on whether or not you're using a native Dvorak keyboard especially messes with this stuff.

 

The final note I'd like to make about this is that after using Dvorak full time for a month, I completely forgot how to type in QWERTY. To other people I'm like this big computer expert, but I sit down in front of their computers and I have to stare face-down into the keyboard and type with one or two fingers.

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, koyu said:

I love the GUI of Haiku, for example it has a couple of cool features

 

Yeah, it's not QUITE my look, but I like a lot going on there, I tried to include a BeOS shot in the video.

56 minutes ago, NoahDVS said:

Repeating the same tasks over and over is extremely easy. A GUI can't really ever match its efficiency at doing that.

  1. Unlike GUIs, CLI tools often can be made to work together, allowing you achieve more with fewer programs. Info is often text that can be passed around and modified freely. It would be very difficult to design a GUI ecosystem that works as well with passing around and modifying text.

 

See, I disagree with the "can't ever" sentiment.  I think that's a lack of imagination (though to be fair, if there's one thing I'm good at it, it's imagination).  I think gestures actually COULD get you there and potentially even faster, but they would really have to be thought out.  It feels so weird to me, it's like we're existing in a time before martial arts even exist.

 

Anyway, I'm glad to see some sanity. I recognize that CLI can do a lot, but I think there really are scenarios it just isn't as good as even a present-day GUI.  That's why I tried to show in my video examples of selecting many specific files files from a line up to move, jumping from multiple subdirectories as fast as possible, using a frontend to change options for DOSbox on-the-fly, etc. (actually that later one I could potentially see being as fast in a CLI with the right utility, but certainly not by default). 

 

If I could express one point to the CLI die-hards here, it's that no, the CLI is not 100% faster than the GUI in all situations, even with what we have now.  I think with the right tools, it could be MUCH faster, but I'm still trying to figure that out.  The people who insist it's better in ALL situations I think are making it more of a religion rather than trying to look at it objectively (or hell, prove me wrong in my examples above).

 

I think it depends on what you do too.  I'm not a programmer.  I'm very multimedia-heavy with my work.  If I'm not typing sentences for scripts, emails, and searches, I really don't need to be on the keyboard that much.  Heading to the keyboard is usually the greater inconvenience for me, whereas if you code all day, the mouse might be the bigger pain for you.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with the mouse either, I was getting tempted by those motion control gloves + keyboard.

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, bdlf1729 said:

If you're really enthusiastic about keyboard layouts and keyboard design, then you should probably learn Dvorak and/or other layouts like Colemak and Workman and such simply because you'll find it fun

I'm too busy for that kind of fun, but I could maybe make the jump if the end result was worth it.  I have a similar attitude on GUIs actually.  I don't want to fiddle with this stuff forever, I want to put in the work to get it right, then forget about it for 10 years or more and bask in how much nicer the experience is.  As for keyboards, care to weigh in on which method you think is best?

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, Ross Scott said:

See, I disagree with the "can't ever" sentiment.  I think that's a lack of imagination (though to be fair, if there's one thing I'm good at it, it's imagination).  I think gestures actually COULD get you there and potentially even faster, but they would really have to be thought out.  It feels so weird to me, it's like we're existing in a time before martial arts even exist.

Fair enough, and macros do exist for GUI software now that I think about it. Despite not being a heavy keyboard user (despite programming being some of the work I do), I don't like the idea of mouse gestures because it seems like it would be easy to mess up. You can't backspace on a wrong mouse movement, you can only cancel (hopefully that's an option) and start over. However, I'll admit that I've never tried mouse gestures despite knowing about them for maybe almost a decade. The idea just never appealed to me despite not being a heavy keyboard user. Like you, I often have one hand on the mouse and one hand on the keyboard, even when programming.

3 minutes ago, Ross Scott said:

Anyway, I'm glad to see some sanity. I recognize that CLI can do a lot, but I think there really are scenarios it just isn't as good as even a present-day GUI.  That's why I tried to show in my video examples of selecting many specific files files from a line up to move, jumping from multiple subdirectories as fast as possible, using a frontend to change options for DOSbox on-the-fly, etc. (actually that later one I could potentially see being as fast in a CLI with the right utility, but certainly not by default). 

Yes, I don't disagree that a CLI is not good for everything. I mainly use the CLI for things that I do repetitively or when I just want access to text. For instance, I can easily and very quickly search through gigabytes of text for a pattern of text in the CLI. It could be done in a GUI, but the terminal is already right there when I have Dolphin open. It's just faster for me to run `rg "some text goes here"` and see everything neatly formatted and copy/paste-able next to my file view.

 

3 minutes ago, Ross Scott said:

If I could express one point to the CLI die-hards here, it's that no, the CLI is not 100% faster than the GUI in all situations, even with what we have now.  I think with the right tools, it could be MUCH faster, but I'm still trying to figure that out.  The people who insist it's better in ALL situations I think are making it more of a religion rather than trying to look at it objectively (or hell, prove me wrong in my examples above).

Right, I agree with that.

3 minutes ago, Ross Scott said:

I think it depends on what you do too.  I'm not a programmer.  I'm very multimedia-heavy with my work.  If I'm not typing sentences for scripts, emails, and searches, I really don't need to be on the keyboard that much.  Heading to the keyboard is usually the greater inconvenience for me, whereas if you code all day, the mouse might be the bigger pain for you. 

I understand. As I said above, I also use the mouse a lot and I even do programming with one hand sometimes. Some of the work I do is programming, some of it is making vector graphics in Inkscape. Having to use the keyboard with both hands is an inconvenience for me too, but luckily my Zsh plugins take care of a lot of that. There's still a learning curve to the CLI though. GUIs have way better discoverability for different features than CLI. If you don't know about something in CLI, you'll probably never know unless you find it accidentally or from searching for how to complete a specific task.

3 minutes ago, Ross Scott said:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with the mouse either, I was getting tempted by those motion control gloves + keyboard.

Personally, I think augmented reality + keyboard would be amazing. There's already some work being done to bring Linux desktop environments to VR/AR with sponsorship from Valve Software: https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-vr-linux-desktop-is-on-its-way/

Share this post


Link to post
52 minutes ago, Ross Scott said:

I'm too busy for that kind of fun, but I could maybe make the jump if the end result was worth it.  I have a similar attitude on GUIs actually.  I don't want to fiddle with this stuff forever, I want to put in the work to get it right, then forget about it for 10 years or more and bask in how much nicer the experience is.  As for keyboards, care to weigh in on which method you think is best?

If all one does is write grand 700-page novels six days a week then Dvorak's an easy reccomendation; but short of that, if one's working a normal typing job with articles and scripts and that then I think that just learning how to touch-type (as it's called) on a normal QWERTY keyboard is worth it. It's a lifetime long skill: a hard short-term change (especially as you start doing work in it you'll be slowing down a lot, and that's super frustrating) but you've got decades of simpler keyboard interaction in front of you if you can get past those first few months.

 

Oh and by the way, there's little bumps on the F and J keys, where the index fingers go on the home row. Even if you don't learn how to touch-type, you can use them to get your hands into the right place when you switch away from the mouse.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

The GUI is one of those things I have to make an effort not to mind-- I start to notice all the little issues and it starts to bugger me all over again how inefficient things tend to be, even on linux you have either tacky GUIs or arcane tiled window managers. One of those things that make me want to sit down and spend a few weeks learning2code.

One of my big issues with tiling WMs is them being so prone to breaking when windows have fixed sizes (AKA almost any dialogue) and only very grumpily accept floating windows, sometimes, when the planets are aligned. Ideal window manager? Mine would be something like this, maybe? Gawdy 4 AM designs...

untitled.png.e72a275c66d446b4b591b82092852c33.png

Say hi to bird.

- No goddamn animations. Those things are *made* to break as Ross himself showed (Seriously, having an animaiton glitch in and out fast as it can because they didn't give it a cooldown is such a common issue), and to waste time. They get annoying.

 

- Window frames are bare. ALT is used to move them anyways, and you can hover near the corners to make buttons for the window functions appear. (Always away from the mouse, mind you, and in bright values and THIS can have an animation to make it impossible to not notice). Window buttons become more important in linux when you have more functions (Always on top, roll up, always on active desktop, etc)

 

- IceWM gave me this: Multiple window layers. Not just always on top and always on bottom, but *32 degrees of layering* if I wanted to.

 

- The taskbar is small when unused, and bigger (Shows more info) when hoevered over, and colored with dark values to be more easily ignored.

    - Window buttons should function as widgets showing information about their apps. Windows 7 did this and it's great, why didn't linux? Is it patented by microsoft or something?
    - When it gets big, it doesn't resize every other window but instead renders over it, because resizing windows when you make the taskbar is stupid. Why does people do this? Why are they so awful?

 

 - Application tabs! I want to tab everything I want together! Cats and dogs, chrome and firefox! Everything!

 

Another thing: Directory bars should be like this, all of them. I want to navigate from any point in my path.image.png.271c87c361aab73e023852bba93cc677.png

Thus sayeth I.

6 hours ago, koyu said:

I love the GUI of Haiku, for example it has a couple of cool features

[...]

 

Haiku! I saw it on a Bryan Lunduke video and it was immediately in my watchlist, Partly for the icon theme alone, shallowly enough. Tired of that flat colored crap AND of the gnome icons. Deffo want to test it when hardware and stability allow.

 

Quote

Hey, a pixel art theme could be pretty awesome for the OS.  I'm a fan of that style.  When editing the video, I found myself wishing my OS looked like I was living in the racing game world at the end.

Ha, I've wanted to make a pixel art icon theme more than once, but a bare minimum one has a couple thousand minimum. Haiku's are some nice isometric-ish icons, though.

image.png.952a99e3c62701bae85ce3e90d78e2b8.png

Edited by DuendeInexistente (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I use XMonad window manager + Polybar on Arch Linux and i don't have any of the problems you mention in your video. You should really abandon Windows if you have so much trouble with it. I get it that it's famialiar and all, but really there's nothing Linux can't do better nowadays, even gaming is getting there.

 

My entire setup is made in such a way (as in I wrote the config file in haskell) so whenver I choose a new wallpaper, a program generates a color pallete out of it, and then applies in a smart way to all the GUI elements so the whole thing has a uniform appearance. Not trying to brag, just explaining the power of Linux with custom Window Managers.

 

Btw, if you are on Linux and use Ubuntu... you are just using the Microsoft of Linux. You are doing yourself a disservice by not really learning GNU+UNIX. Also pre-made Desktop Environments can't really satisfy the individual. Peace.

Edited by Misagh (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, Ross Scott said:

Anyway, I'm glad to see some sanity. I recognize that CLI can do a lot, but I think there really are scenarios it just isn't as good as even a present-day GUI.  That's why I tried to show in my video examples of selecting many specific files files from a line up to move, jumping from multiple subdirectories as fast as possible, using a frontend to change options for DOSbox on-the-fly, etc. (actually that later one I could potentially see being as fast in a CLI with the right utility, but certainly not by default). 

 

If I could express one point to the CLI die-hards here, it's that no, the CLI is not 100% faster than the GUI in all situations, even with what we have now.  I think with the right tools, it could be MUCH faster, but I'm still trying to figure that out.  The people who insist it's better in ALL situations I think are making it more of a religion rather than trying to look at it objectively (or hell, prove me wrong in my examples above).

CLI aren't faster, at all. They are plainly more powerful for any given task that do not require visual aid, which has the side effect of sometimes being faster. For example, working on a RPGMaker game I need to create a tileset from multiple individual images. For that purpose I can use one line in a terminal to ask a software to collate all images contained in a folder into one, that same task would be longer and a lot more painful if I were to use a graphical tool.

 

CLI as a user interface are unintuitively easy to use, requires a mental map of the task you want to accomplish and a proper understanding of the different available tools. That being said, your mouse driven interface also requires a mental map and accomplish much of the same. Different interfaces for the same outcome. One isn't better than the other, they're just different. CLI people rarely do use their mouses though, everything is driven by the keyboard. So much so that, in the various README and configuration files, they condensed the representation of those keyboard shortcuts to glyph-like symbols hard to understand for the neophyte. Example from emacs, a text editor, that has a keyboard driven interface: https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/emacs/Keys.html#Keys ; they explain the C-x thing in the previous chapter about user input (C means control, which is the CTRL key).

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Here are some Pie Menu-inspired menus created by Simon Schneegans who also created GNOME Pie (haven't tried):

 

The windowed/stacked grid-based item selector (used in GNOME Pie 2):

1-fs8.png.73db3e694f8a40e2b41db70859bbb697.png

https://vimeo.com/224827490

 

The Trace Menu

2-fs8.png.037f00ea4735de84a413f9dc60da9ef2.png

https://vimeo.com/51073078

 

The Coral Menu

3-fs8.png.f4e0889bb37129ac1c6a5305af00a604.png

https://vimeo.com/51072812

 

An earlier version of GNOME Pie:

4-fs8.thumb.png.63024e7d81df23a0ea9032634affdcba.png

https://vimeo.com/125339537

 

Cool stuff, here is his Vimeo page:

https://vimeo.com/schneegans

 

And his GitHub profile:

https://github.com/Schneegans

 

Edited to add his Github.io page with more information on GNOME Pie and Pie Menu related stuff:

https://schneegans.github.io/

Introducing: OpenPie

 

---

 

Also check out Don Hopkins' Medium posts if you happen to like Pie menus:

https://medium.com/@donhopkins

 

Pie Menus: A 30 Year Retrospective

Edited by dnl12 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Ross,

 

I know some other responses point out that browsers are giving issues with the copy/paste function, but I personally resolved the issue 100% when I got my new keyboard. Don't ask me how it resolved the mouse click menu copy function, but it fixed that too. Maybe it's because I got a keyboard that has software that can change the USB polling rate to 1000 times per second instead of the standard of 125, (kinda like my mouse) and it affects how Windows interacts with everything, I don't know.

 

As for your final questions, I personally really loved the Vista default look in transparent black/grey. (apart from some slightly too low contrast text, but you could change that quite easily with utilities built into Windows at the time) I loathe the push towards a flat UI like they did in 10. (3D is far superior, as our brains were designed to operate in that environment) Physical buttons for this are always going to be far more natural as well, and I really like the idea of the nested icon wheel coming up on the desktop. It's like the weapon/item wheel that you'll see in a lot of modern shooter games.

 

We do need the ability to have the "helicopter" style GUI system though, as it can be incredibly useful, and is definitely not a problem for the majority of people, and for most twitch-shooter gamers, it's not difficult to get those "headshots" on those smaller icons/checkboxes when doing faster movements. (something I find remarkably easy to do the vast majority of the time considering how many typos I need to fix when typing)

Edited by BTGBullseye (see edit history)

Don't insult me. I have trained professionals to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Maybe you like this: http://www.jacobiedema.nl/RadialMenu/

 

I tried getting it to work but adding groups or items to the dial is weird but maybe i am just too dumb.

 

 

Here's a little bit about my setup:

 

It's pretty comfortable and efficient but it still could be better. I'm thinking about getting a small touchscreen monitor in addition to my three 27" screens which i want to use exclusively to control foorbar2000 my media-player of choice.

 

I use the Logitech G600 mouse. The only mouse i know of that has a 4-way scroll-wheel AND a bunch of thumb-buttons plus a ringfinger-button.

 

This is how i bound actions to it's buttons (i translated the most important ones to English):

G600_Bindings.jpg.88d5a9eda23cd7b1d32f4598d072344e.jpg

I can easily open the startmenu by pressing the CTRL button and the ESC button and from there i click my most used programs which are pinned to it:

 

startmenu.thumb.jpg.40aa376b1795ab60e3754dd6c8d6980e.jpg

 

I still want to customize the tiles but that is still a bit of a hassle so it doesn't look as good as it could but it works pretty well in my case.

 

For a while i was using a little program called jumplistlauncher by hedgehog which lets you add whatever you want to the jumplist (jumplists are the list that opens upon rightclicking on anything pinned to the taskbar) of itself.

 

The site of the developer is offline so i uploaded it to my google drive: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R0vDtYYXDNKXoiNZwHe2wp97yiMVJP6e/view?usp=sharing

The file is clean: https://www.virustotal.com/gui/file/4f099ef9e78c98a158c445ea9d99190ed46a125233641435e84b31e898eb0b55/detection

 

In the Mouse button layout screenshot i mentioned a little tool called Volume² here's a link to the developers website: https://irzyxa.blogspot.com/p/downloads.html

 

Also Stardock Fences is amazing for keeping the desktop clean: https://www.stardock.com/products/fences/

Edited by alphatonic (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post

Something I just thought of that might keep Ross's apps running: try using Windows Sever instead of normal Windows 10. Modern version of server use the Windows 10 kernel and system libraries, but strip out all the bloated, user hostile bullshit that normally comes along with it. There is no WUP support on Server, which means no ads, no WUP apps like Corona and Edge, and much less aggressive updates.

 

I've used it in place of regular Windows 10 on a couple of machines, and once everything is set up, the experience feels much closer to Windows 7 than it does to 10. I've never had a problem with desktop overhauls, or app defaults getting reset. Custom interface software stands a better chance of working consistently on Server than any other currently supported version of Windows.

 

The only reservation I have about it is that certain drivers can be a pain to install. Any driver that runs on 10 is capable of running on Server because of the common kernel and libraries, but a lot drivers aren't explicitly signed for server and won't install without disabling a bunch of security settings and modifying the .inf files. Sill a solution worth looking into regardless, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, AtomicPurple said:

Something I just thought of that might keep Ross's apps running: try using Windows Sever instead of normal Windows 10. Modern version of server use the Windows 10 kernel and system libraries, but strip out all the bloated, user hostile bullshit that normally comes along with it. There is no WUP support on Server, which means no ads, no WUP apps like Corona and Edge, and much less aggressive updates.

It's also 501 USD for the cheapest edition and he'd be on his own for any software/game incompatibility he'd have.

 

A more sensible/cheaper path is to just buy Pro and use gpo to disable the consumer features. There's already several "Decrapifier" scripts that do most of those tweaks for you.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Man I had a good time watching this video.

Since you've asked to show up alternatives and screenhots, here is my attempt to rethink file managers.

 

cryo is a visual file manager

 

+ with mouse gestures ;)  (described in the docs)

 

https://cryonet.io

 

screen_hero0.png

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Professional usability expert Jakob Nielsen has done research on exactly this topic for decades, eyetracking and all. He focuses more on business websites since those are his customers, but all the same goals carry over. The ultra short version is that he heavily advocates minimalism and ease of finding things. He was quite proud that his old website had only one image on the homepage; a little 1kb arrow icon. A video he released on June 12: How UX has changed in 30 years. He's a person to pay attention to if you're passionate about UI on a grand scale. Not sure if you have the time? He gives time estimates for all written articles and videos.


https://www.nngroup.com/articles/

Edited by Presence (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post

The circle menu concept reminded me of Sacrifice's context menu system which I believe was an innovation at the time:

 

Sacrifice was also another game by Shiny Entertainment released the same year as Messiah and something Ross should definitely check out.

Share this post


Link to post

Looks to me like you take a lot of notes in Notepad/Wordpad. I’d like to recommend the program Joplin to you. It is a free open source Evernote replacement. It allows syncing (if you want to) between devices by your choice of service or hardware, lets you use markdown and/or a good-enough WYSIWYG mode, encryption, and is easy to export stuff from if the people writing it all explode.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Watching this video inspired me to customize my GUI experience as much as I could for Windows 10. If anyone wants, I can make a video of my setup for visual representation, but for now I'll just explain it here.

So essentially what I have is a cobbled together solution to remove all shortcuts from my desktop (using fences double click to hide in case other parts of my system fail) and still allow me to use my computer.

 

I have installed CircleDock, which is a dead and abandoned program and it's basically impossible to find the 1.0+ version of the program now. I'm running the 8.0 alpha cause the 8.1/8.2 alphas break mouse hooking. Anyway, CircleDock is mapped to middle mouse button and middle mouse button is mapped to a side button on my mouse cause I have a shiny razer mouse and I can do that. Also clicking the middle mouse button on this mouse sucks. CircleDock has all the shortcuts that were on my desktop in folders that I still need to find good icons for so I can tell them apart at a glance, but that's the human element of laziness not the program's fault.

 

So great, I can open my programs, but what about interacting with already open programs? Glad I asked! I installed StrokePlus.net for mouse gestures. I use the mouse gestures to replace as many frequently used keyboard shortcuts as possible. Alt+Tab, gesture. Minimize, maximize, close programs/windows, even media control which comes out of the box. I even set it up so I can full screen youtube videos in my browser with a gesture, cause I agree with Ross that double clicking is terrible. I even set my computer to single click to open, it's not near perfect, but it is better to me than double click to open.

 

So I have switched mostly full time to mouse everything, from opening programs that I bothered to have shortcuts on my desktop for to even replacing keyboard shortcuts, but I even went a step further. I bought a program called VoiceAttack for the brief moment I decided to play Elite Dangerous in VR and I wanted to go all out. Turns out, even VR can't make that game any less boring than it really looks like. Sorry to y'all who like Elite Dangerous, it's just not my type of game. I tried. To get back on track, VoiceAttack lets you use your voice to do a lot of cool things with your computer, and I have it set up so that I can turn my computer off with my voice, open and close certain very frequently used programs, basically shore up any inconsistencies or faults that the other two programs can't handle.

 

This system works for me, but I really shouldn't have to do this. I shouldn't have to use a combination of mouse gestures and voice commands, to have to install 3 or more different programs to get my user experience the way that I want it.

Edited by Straum12341 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in the community.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

This website uses cookies, as do most websites since the 90s. By using this site, you consent to cookies. We have to say this or we get in trouble. Learn more.