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-  xyzzymagicat's profile  . -  Fan of (10)  . -  CV   . -  Friends   . -  Artwork   . -  Latest Comments (15)  .  
Usability & being a follower vs. leader
Jul 26 2014  on story Plasma 5 Brings a Cleaner Interface on Top of a New Graphics Stack

Human beings rely on a number of cues in visually identifying items, whether they're physical or on-screen: shape, color, and depth-shading. The more of those cues are missing or ambiguous, the more cognitive power & time it takes to ID the item.

If I drew a circle, you'd have no way of knowing what it means; if it's red, it's still ambiguous but you can start guessing from context. But start adding the shading:
* Hard white highlight at the 2:00 position plus shadowing on the opposite side and it's a clown nose.
* Soft highlight in the center that fades slowly as it radiates outward makes it a stoplight.
* Mild light shading along the top, mild dark shading on the bottom and a shadow underneath it indicates it's a ball.
...so on and so forth into infinity.

Yes, many users don't notice a difference, and all that matters to them is that it looks trendy. That's not the case for people that are newbies, tired, have subpar vision, distracted, etc.: the subtle extra effort of working without full cues reduces the enjoyment from using the system and increases the chances of frustration, added fatigue or that using the system is a chore.

Apart from the cognitive load, there's also another very, very serious thing to consider...

KDE's known for being a huge leader in the GUI field; new things in it usually show up months or years later in other OSes & DEs. Your plan for KDE 5's appearance is exactly the opposite, as those elements appeared in Windows 8 at least a year ago, and is already in Firefox, Chromium, Android, iOS, OS X, plus (I think) a few Linux WMs/DEs. KDE will look like an old, dated follower trying to mimic the "cool kids" if it takes that route... :-(

KDE did it first, Windows copied
Mar 1 2012  on poll Do you like or dislike Ubuntu Unity?

The new Kickoff style was done by KDE first; Windows copied it as far as I'm aware.

I always set mine to the classic menu mode that we've been using since Windows 95, though. I dislike the new popular menu styles found all over that only let me view one category/subcategory at a time, as it slows me down.


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