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Ross Scott: "The GUI should be better. A lot better."


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A video-rant by Ross Scott, about graphical user interfaces.

Whether you are;

  • casual computer user
  • a professional who relies on their system for their daily life and is constantly having to tweak it
  • or a software designer who is actually building a program for people everywhere to use...

You may learn something very useful here!
Also, props to Ross for using Malwarebytes~
🦊
P.S.: I apologize in advance if I already posted this video on this forum.

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It's worth noting that when I brought this topic up in the ReactOS community (they are creating a Windows replacement from scratch!), I actually got scoffed at. In fact, some people were even a little toxic about it. Eugh

There are a few more thoughts I've always had regarding GUI stuff...

  • A decent GUI should be color-blindness friendly, but still look nice if you're not colorblind. And no, I don't mean removal of color entirely.
  • There are actually typefaces out there that are specifically designed to be Dyslexia-friendly. That's pretty nice, actually!
  • Animated GUIs are awesome. They just shouldn't be too animated. Everything should have context, and not be super distracting.
  • The basic Win32 framework doesn't have native support for touchscreens. When you use a touchscreen, it is impossible to interact with multiple things simultaneously via that method, and instead the touchscreen just emulates a mouse pointer. Again, eugh. Somebody needs to fix that.
  • Wouldn't it be great if could seamlessly combine Command-Line and GUI interfaces, such that the distinction between the two became blurred?
  • Even if you are a Command-Line Purist, keyboards are not the perfect typing interface. They were originally derived from typewriters after all. Better typing interfaces exist!

And now specifically for input devices...

  • I really wish computers had buttons with full analogue control, meaning that the input the computer receives should vary with how much pressure I apply to the button in question.
  • Extending on that, we could possibly also have physical buttons that click, but also have touch-sensitivity in them as a separate layer of input? The computer being able to tell whether you're actually pressing a button versus merely touching it could open up so many options.
  • If mice with high-fidelity force feedback exist, I want one. It would be perfect if it were integrated with a UI.
  • If we had ways to seamlessly utilize parts of our bodies that are normally unused when interacting with your computers, our productivity could skyrocket. We're talking foot pedals, head tracking, eye tracking, etc, perhaps lifting our hands off our keyboards while typing to make quick gestures that are immediately recognized by our computers, etc.
  • Wouldn't it be great if we could seamlessly combine Mice and Keyboards outright? I mean, there have been attempts, but there are currently issues with them.
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1 hour ago, Amaroq_Starwind said:
  • Even if you are a Command-Line Purist, keyboards are not the perfect typing interface. They were originally derived from typewriters after all. Better typing interfaces exist!

Old mechanical typewriter character striking arms could get stuck against another if one typed too fast.  One had to physically separate striking arms.  So a keypad was designed to slow one's typing down to mitigate striking arm conflicts.  Thus was born the QWERTY keyboard.  Even after there were electric typewriters using Ball and Thimble print heads, the QWERTY layout was the de-facto standard where there were no striking arms to get stuck against each other.  Subsequently the QWERTY standard layout was inherited by computers.  Everyone knew the layout and were accustomed to it.

                9020446_orig.thumb.jpg.b7cc3d654164a25ff2880972a1e4a33c.jpg                 vs.                       Ball.jpg.112131b48c5b07b59ea0d5ee66755ff1.jpg                   Thimble.jpg.59f940f0dd8fae513f9a382ef1f16199.jpg

 

It blows my mind when you hear that a particular job position requires typing a certain number of words per minute.  That's a speed required on a keyboard layout that was deliberately designed to slow one down.

On the other hand is the DVORAK keyboard layout which was designed with a faster number of words per minute in mind.  However once a standard is entrenched, it becomes difficult to overcome even if it is flawed.  Just like how the flawed TCP/IP protocol became entrenched and GOSIP could not replace it.

 

Interestingly, there are two competing numeric keypad layouts.  Look at a telephone keypad versus other numeric keypads

1 2 3               7 8 9
4 5 6               4 5 6
7 8 9      vs.      1 2 3
* 0 #                 0

 

 

Edited by David H. Lipman
Edited for content, clarity, spelling and grammar
  • Confused 1
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QWERTY wasn't actually designed to slow people down, it was just designed to be mechanically reliable but still relatively ergonomic. Originally there were typewriters that were not as susceptible to jamming as older models, but the way the keys were arranged was still really bad. We're talking alphabetical order. (Speaking of which, does anybody happen to have a spare DVORAK keyboard I can borrow? I've always wanted to try one.)
And the numerical keypad thing just hurts my brain too. Ugh...

In barely-related news... I want to try that specific dyslexia-friendly font I referred to (the underlined text is a hyperlink), but it's like 60 dollars for just one user! X.x
Yeah, I have a job now and all that (my first one!), but my first ever paycheck has been delayed for some unknown reason. I was supposed to receive my direct deposit yesterday.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Staff

Very Interesting Topic.

I'll bring it up to some other key folks, they'll probably like to contribute and perhaps some good elements/ideas for our next generation of Product(s) could come out of this (Force feedback and input, accessibility/color blind, foot pedals - head tracking).

Thank you so much guys!

-Erix

 

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