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THE GUI SHOULD BE BETTER

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Ross Scott said:

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).

@NoahDVS never said CLI was better in all situations or that it was even superior to a GUI. I don't even use CLI that much but it is objectively faster/better in specific situations. Ironically, your rejection of CLI feels almost like religious fanaticism.

 

One example that is not even CLI but purely keyboard based would be - [Windows] > "ca" > [Enter]. This is the command I use to bring up the windows calculator in less than half a second. All I have to type is "ca" and Windows search lists calculator as the top result (based on use history) and hitting enter opens it. The only thing I can think of that would be almost as fast would be a mouse gesture, but that would require first creating one specifically for the calculator. However the ability to open almost any app I want in less than a second by pressing 4 keys makes the former technique far superior in flexibility and scope.

Edited by Isaiah (see edit history)

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10 hours ago, mpi said:

cryo is a visual file manager

When I do a followup, I was going to talk more about possible improvements for a file manager.  This may be halfway there, I'm not sure of its functionality.  I really like the more visual style of it, I guess my question is if this is something could be auto-generated or not.  Even if it can't, it might be good middle ground if you have a LOT of commonly accessed stuff.

8 hours ago, Presence said:

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.

Yeah, I need to get something better. I actually had one replacement earlier that was working out okay, but then I had a power failure and it erased an open file.  That was a bit of a shock for me, since I thought that could only happen if I was doing a save or something and all normal editing took place in memory, but apparently not!  I forgot the name of what it was, but I uninstalled it and have been meaning to get a replacement, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

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To the "just use CLI / keyboard" people.  I may put this in a followup video, but I think I realized what the issue is.  I work a lot in multimedia.  I'm editing images, audio, video, doing web browsing + I tend to be visually oriented.  By all means prove me wrong, but I'm guessing this is all stuff you don't want to do with the CLI / keyboard-only interface. 

 

My guess is the biggest proponents of it are coders.  So for you, the times you need the mouse could be in the minority, so it makes sense for you to push the keyboard as far as you can.  For me, unless I'm typing emails or scripts, it's reversed.  The times I need the KEYBOARD are in the minority, since so much of what I do relies on visual manipulation, which isn't the keyboard's strength.  Even then, I'm hardly in love with the mouse.  I wasn't kidding about wanting that Minority Report interface for video editing.

 

So before somebody else tells me to buckle down and go CLI, maybe consider the last time you edited pictures / audio / video using only the keyboard to better understand where I'm coming from.

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Posted (edited)

And the CLI could be a lot better as well, now it mostly is unstructured text that people use common UNIX tools on (like grep, sed).

Some of the alternatives which provide a more structured approach to the CLI are PowerShell, NuShell, jc and probably others I don't know of. You can read up on the Monad Manifesto which is the design document of PowerShell

https://devblogs.microsoft.com/powershell/monad-manifesto-the-origin-of-windows-powershell/

 

Edited by dnl12 (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

After watching the video I went into some kind of fey mood and spent hours piecing the closest thing to my ideal desktop GUI together. also did some windows changes using some patchers i found. it changes the workflow and enjoyability of the whole thing enough to where i say ti was a day well spent. 

EDIT: I should mention that its Windows 10 version 1909, as my windows hasn't updated to 2004 yet, nor do i think it will on its own. I have a button (to the right of the recycler) that makes desktop icons appear. The rest of the buttons are Bangs, or one click shortcuts of some kind. Hovering over some objects provides some detailed information, but most important information is available at a glance. 
 

p7R2YY1kK8.png

-

Edit*: This redundency has been removed after some ez script cleanup.
image.png.5088bfb23b2a013c2fa66dbcffb706f1.png
 

Edited by IVSTINVS (see edit history)

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Anyone who understands GUI can explain to me why the keyboard and the mouse are always treated as completely different entities? Like, really, are there any hotkeys that mix mouse buttons with keyboard keys? I never found anything about that and I don't see why that'd be a problem.
Like say, you want to bring your navegator up, so you hold the left mouse button and type C or whatever...wouldn't that be rather intuitive?
This part of the video specially made me remember that.

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19 minutes ago, Blindfolded said:

Anyone who understands GUI can explain to me why the keyboard and the mouse are always treated as completely different entities? Like, really, are there any hotkeys that mix mouse buttons with keyboard keys? I never found anything about that and I don't see why that'd be a problem.
Like say, you want to bring your navegator up, so you hold the left mouse button and type C or whatever...wouldn't that be rather intuitive?
This part of the video specially made me remember that.

in most xOSs , drag+ctrl = copy , drag+shift = move, drag+alt = create shortcut

Do you mean these kind of things?

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1 minute ago, kerdios said:

in most xOSs , drag+ctrl = copy , drag+shift = move, drag+alt = create shortcut

Do you mean these kind of things?

Yeah, like that, mixing up the two. Tho these shortcuts are kinda obsolete tbh.

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57 minutes ago, Blindfolded said:

Anyone who understands GUI can explain to me why the keyboard and the mouse are always treated as completely different entities? Like, really, are there any hotkeys that mix mouse buttons with keyboard keys? I never found anything about that and I don't see why that'd be a problem.
Like say, you want to bring your navegator up, so you hold the left mouse button and type C or whatever...wouldn't that be rather intuitive?
This part of the video specially made me remember that.

FL Studio, Blender, Inkscape, GIMP, Krita and other creative workflow apps that use the mouse a lot use a lot of modifier key+mouse button shortcuts. In a lot of Linux desktop environment or window managers, you can do alt or meta and left click to move windows around without using the titlebar or the same with right click to resize windows.

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5 hours ago, Ross Scott said:

To the "just use CLI / keyboard" people.  I may put this in a followup video, but I think I realized what the issue is.  I work a lot in multimedia.  I'm editing images, audio, video, doing web browsing + I tend to be visually oriented.  By all means prove me wrong, but I'm guessing this is all stuff you don't want to do with the CLI / keyboard-only interface. 

 

My guess is the biggest proponents of it are coders.  So for you, the times you need the mouse could be in the minority, so it makes sense for you to push the keyboard as far as you can.  For me, unless I'm typing emails or scripts, it's reversed.  The times I need the KEYBOARD are in the minority, since so much of what I do relies on visual manipulation, which isn't the keyboard's strength.  Even then, I'm hardly in love with the mouse.  I wasn't kidding about wanting that Minority Report interface for video editing.

 

So before somebody else tells me to buckle down and go CLI, maybe consider the last time you edited pictures / audio / video using only the keyboard to better understand where I'm coming from.

You're absolutely right.

 

I can programmatically edit video, pictures or audio if the task at hand is repetitive, however I need a visual aid and the help of a finger pointer if I need to create something new. The pointer can come from the mouse, which is most common, or a graphic tablet.

 

Audio is the bastard child though, probably the easiest of the three that can be altered without a graphical tool. But audacity is definitively more helpful than just text.

 

Some coders also get tired of the keyboard and move to a voice driven interface instead (due to typing related diseases), using code words instead of full english. More on the subject in that video:

 

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Also @Ross Scott I forgot to mention in my previous post, there is another web browser that you can remove the close tab button. Vivaldi. I've switched to it from Chrome because it is slightly lighter weight. It's not perfect though. It's built on chromium but the support for chrome extensions is minimal, not a problem for me adblock works just fine and that's all I care about. Also, I don't know if you can change close tab from double click to close, but again, I kinda want it difficult to accidentally close a tab so I like double clicking in this instance. It also has a sync service so you can use it on multiple devices as seamlessly as any other syncable browser.

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On 6/11/2020 at 2:32 AM, Rbon said:

Hey, another spacemacs user here. I want to elaborate on what hj said. This system is intuitive, fast, and crucially, context sensitive. Depending on what file you're working on (the major mode), you are offered different key sequences, in addition to a list of global ones.

 

 

As the guy whose working on 

https://github.com/HawaiinPizza/Ross-Good-Gui, I agree. One of the first requirements, before any thing else, is users have the ability to set context to the menu. So if you're playing Knights of Chalice and you run the program, it wouldn't do anything. But if you're on firefox, it would open it up. 

 

 

On 6/11/2020 at 2:32 AM, Rbon said:

Now, I'm not trying to say that spacemacs is the future of GUI (it's really not). The point I've been working towards is that the mouse radial menu system would be really really good if more applications had a way to receive signals from external programs. Imagine you're watching a video, and with one mouse motion, you pause the video, switch to your preferred email client, reply to the most recent email with "I'll get right on it," switch back to your video, and resume playback.

This is why the command line is great. It requires some programming, but just like Emacs, you can automate everything. I wrote a game launcher, directory bookmark sync, battery reminder weight tracker, and a whole bunch of other stuff: all of this was possible because of two things. First, is I use Linux. Sadly, Windows (and possibly Mac, but I haven't checked) don't expose the system as much as Linux, and so you can't change it around as much. The second reason is data is text.  What I mean since everything is text, you can manipulate that text and use it however you want. An example for the first is a little Muslim prayer reminder program I wrote, where I have it so every time I boot up my computer, it would get the times to pray that day. An example for text manipulation is the game launcher: if I want to launch a NES game, it would go find each file in my NES ROM folder for .nes extension, and each time it does, it would send it to a program called *dmenu*, which will go and make a menu where I can select the games.

However, this requires _some_ knowledge on programming. I'm not pretending that this is super complex, and you need to be a computer scientist to know. But, you'll have to learn the basics of shell scripting. If you're interested Ross and anyone else, the channel that got me into using command line was into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkgeFi4PwOg&list=PL-p5XmQHB_JREOtBfLdKSswBGYyXwXMUy&index=3&t=649s. He is really weird, and has a bit of 4chan in there, but other than that he taught me the basics.


In terms of Emacs, Ross I don't think it's for you. While I love Emacs, you have to memorize hotkeys and have to know some programming to configure it. But if you do start with Emacs, you have to use an Emacs con fig. Default Emacs is a bit demanding, especially on non programmers. I will list out the ones I think are nice.

- Batteries not included: https://github.com/purcell/emacs.d. The benefit to using this is it doesn't radically change Emacs, unlike other programs.
- Doom Emacs: https://github.com/hlissner/doom-emacs. This is more for users of a program called _vim_, which is heavily keyboard base. However, it's feature complete, and is really nice. I use this on windows, because I'm too lazy to port my con fig over.
- Spacemacs: https://github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs. Like Doom Emacs, except a little different


 

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Oh man, this hit way too close to home.

 

I've been trying to ditch the Windows GUI since XP, and back then it was so easy. A few dock programs, a few launchers and ease of use programs, throw in a nice looking, albeit cringeworthy theme and you were good to go. Then Vista hit, and it wasn't the worst UI redesign ever but I feel like since then we've been stuck. I GAVE UP trying when Vista came out, and just learned to put up with it. But we shouldn't have to settle for this.

 

Ideally I figured we'd be at UI levels of stuff like Ghost in the Shell or Evangelion, with all those holographic circles linking to other circles where you have statuses on the outermost circle for the application and then the inner circle displayed the program. Or at least Star Trek / Mass Effect where there was a structure to all the ship functions.

 

Hell, even the interface of Alien's MUTHUR computer seems to have a more logical design around it, if not more akin to a command line. 

 

Which is another thing I feel like should be another truth. "You shouldn't need the command line, HOWEVER it should always be accessible IF you need it... WITH DOCUMENTATION." Something Linux gets very right and Windows does not. With windows you have to go into the start menu, then type in CMD, then right click on it and select whether or not you want to run as an admin or as a standard user. Yes, I know you can do shortcuts or hell even use powershell, but with Linux it's always accessible even in the most broken state and you can switch user privilege levels ON THE FLY.

 

All of this being said, which is mostly just ranting. I don't have the know-how or design ability to construct a new UI but SOMEONE has to. It's an absolute nightmare out there. I work for a tax software / accounting software company and our UI makes me want to gouge my eyes out. The only reason I put up with it is because I've been TRAINED to use it. Which is another truth "You shouldn't have to TRAIN people to use your UI", people should be able to pick it up, poke around for a minute and get the general idea.

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I actually was fine with Windows 7's UI for years, but at the start of this year, I made the jump to Linux, specifically Fedora, and after some getting used to, I kind of rather like its GNOME-based GUI. If I need to switch windows or open something, I just need to throw my cursor into the top-left corner of the screen to bring up the favorites dock and the window view.

 

I do admit that I kind of want to have a more sci-fi-inspired interface, but I personally will put up with what I need to put up with. 

 

I also think that most of the attempts to innovate in UI have been in the mobile space, though as someone who uses a Samsung, most changes nowadays are more aesthetic than functional--that is to say, the appearance is changed moreso than button placement and the like.

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3 hours ago, spiderwaffles said:

Which is another thing I feel like should be another truth. "You shouldn't need the command line, HOWEVER it should always be accessible IF you need it... WITH DOCUMENTATION." Something Linux gets very right and Windows does not. With windows you have to go into the start menu, then type in CMD, then right click on it and select whether or not you want to run as an admin or as a standard user. Yes, I know you can do shortcuts or hell even use powershell, but with Linux it's always accessible even in the most broken state and you can switch user privilege levels ON THE FLY.

Powershell is meant to replace the command prompt, so yes you should be using it. You don't have to do anything fancy to pull it up either: right-click start (or Win+X) and press powershell. Or Win-X i/a if you want admin mode. If a user isn't already aware of those menus/shortcuts then odds are they don't have to.

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Thank you ross for the amazing video. It has long been a pet project of mine to try to overhaul the Windows GUI. In Windows 7 it was possible to straight up edit the icons in the dll's of Windows. 

How to rethink GUI?

I think it would be a lot easyer if we use similar ordering structures when starting applications to when accessing running applications so it is easy to get into the flow of things. This can be done by seperating programs based on their primary purpose. A possible separation could be:

  • Display
  • data entry
  • modification
  • configuration

After pressing a button (or combo) the user should easily (and quickly) be able to  flow into the selection of the application to be started / selected. I would do this by grouping these in quadrants of the screen (like the start of Skyrims inventory/spells/level screen shown below, but without the wait). After doing this a user should be able to quickly hover trough the options. Instead of making single-clicking the primary mode of interaction, hovering above items should make them more descriptive.  I think it should be visualised like an expanding node network if it get's complex (for example when many programs are installed). 

I think we also should rethink the way we alt-tab using a similar configuration. 

 

Also, I like the multiple desktop configurations idea macOs and Linux have been implementing, but with one major addition to make it work. You'll have multiple desktops with different program subsets for different kinds of workload.

Character's_Menu.png

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I don't know if it's ever been done anywhere else, but the radial menu interface you depict at 1:06 was implemented, pretty much exactly as it looks here, on the tragically short-lived Tapwave Zodiac, way back in 2003.  This contraption was conceived as a hybrid PDA, games console and multimedia system, and it was a thing of beauty.

It ran a highly customised fork of the Palm 5 operating system, pretty well back-compatible with applications written for standard Palm PDAs, with a traditional Palm-style stylus and touchscreen (An old-style resistive touchscreen, that is, so the stylus was actually reliable, fast and accurate.  I miss those) for handwriting input using the Graffiti system and other PDA-like operations, but it also had a left analogue thumbstick and right gamepad buttons either side of the screen in landscape mode, shoulder buttons, two SD card slots, stereo speakers, 128mb RAM, and ATI hardware graphics acceleration.

Why am I mentioning this here?  Because, in their fork of Palm 5, some conscientious engineer who surely thinks the same way you do had clearly taken a long, hard look at the Zodiac's controls, and then expressly designed an OS user interface around them, most specifically the joystick.  There was a hierarchical radial interface that functioned almost identically to what you've got in your video here, and it elegantly combined both subfolder navigation and action buttons into its radial lobes; you used the thumb-stick to move around the ring of blob icons, not entirely unlike playing the game Tempest.  If I remember correctly (it's been a while, I accidentally smashed my beloved Zodiac in an accident years ago), moving the stick outwards from its centred position to a subfolder blob would open that subfolder out into the ring; moving it to a program/action icon and clicking the joystick once would launch it (no double-clicking; I'm sure you'd approve), clicking the joystick in the centre neutral position would back up into the root folder/menu.  It was clean, elegant, intuitive, didn't require colossal precision, didn't really give you opportunity to make any mistakes, and you'd better believe it was lightning fast.  It was also back-compatible for those who didn't favour the joystick; you could click on the radial blobs just like normal touchscreen icons with the stylus, and they were the right size and separation from each other, surely deliberately, that you could even do it with just a pudgy finger, if you just had no class at all, but the joystick was by far the best, in my experience.

So, what happened?  Well, there were some utter bonehead launch decisions  (or possibly just sheer, run-out-of-time-and-money desperation) made elsewhere in the company.  After lovingly creating this wonderful games platform, I think they had a grand total of three release titles; two of which were ports of Tomb Raider 1 and Duke Nukem 3D, ancient games everyone had already long played to death, and Spyhunter, a bare-bones racing-shooting game that got boring after one level.  The stock multimedia player was also crippleware, and rigged to only play a proprietary video format that basically doesn't exist any more and required you to shell-out for the windows-only PC software to pre-convert your videos before you could play them on the device.  Furthermore, even though the ATI graphics chip could do hardware video decoding, there was no software capable of actually using this properly at launch.  In other words, the launch software line-up comprehensively failed to show anyone what the device was truly capable of.  The open-source community raced to fill the gap with TCPMP and a native port of ScummVM, but it all came too late.  I believe the device even had a product placement as a prop in the Stargate TV series, but even that was in vain.

Maybe it never stood a chance anyway, because even though the Zodiac and the PSP were announced simultaneously and Tapwave then beat Sony to market by just over a whole year, as soon as the PSP shipped, it just buried them.  I still miss mine.  It was a lovely machine.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/13/2020 at 5:46 AM, Ross Scott said:

So before somebody else tells me to buckle down and go CLI, maybe consider the last time you edited pictures / audio / video using only the keyboard to better understand where I'm coming from.

You seem to be talking about specific application guis here which is not at all what the video and discussion is about, so it's not really applicable, even though you can edit lots of types of media with the keyboard. You prefer a GUI (me too) and that's totally fine but the reason this whole CLI vs GUI debate happened was because you disputed the usefulness/efficiency of the keyboard. But just because you don't personally like using it doesn't mean it's objectively worse (quite the opposite in many cases actually).

 

However, none of this matters if you don't want to use the keyboard. You keep saying people are welcome to prove you wrong but at the same time you seem quite paranoid of keyboard proponents and seem to view them as irrational zealots who want to take away your mouse. So I'm not sure you are as open-minded as you think you are.  It might be a lot better if you just stated you're only interested in GUI solutions so nobody waste time suggesting things you'll never try.

Edited by Isaiah (see edit history)

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This was a very difficult video to watch. I feel like all of Ross's problems here are self-inflicted, and mostly due to trying to fit to his model an operating system that really doesn't want to. I should also say this: I'd hate for Ross's standards in GUI design to become the industry's standard. His choices are so alien and unappealing to me that I'd probably stop using GUI entirely if they were to become the norm.

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Not sure what to do about the windows themselves, but I have some thoughts about some other parts of the GUI. 

I've enclosed more detail on how to navigate the screens, but I think/hope it should be relatively self-explanatory. The only bit that is certainly not immediately obvious is that the "control surface"-- the full-screen interface for the computer that appears as an overlay on the desktop-- would be accessed by remapping alt+tab, using the windows key, or pressing on the thin taskbar seen on the bottom. Any other details you may need should be included in the attached .txt. You can ask me lingering questions here, and I'll get to them when I get to them.

Apologies for the crude visuals-- these are mock-ups, merely intended to get the idea across. In practice, the specific implementation could vary considerably.

Baseline Desktop Small.png

Control Surface Blip Selection Small.png

Control Surface Node Selection Small.png

GUI Design Documentation.txt

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