Bug 15173 - PackageKit user interface is a complete disaster (stop scaring my mom)
Summary: PackageKit user interface is a complete disaster (stop scaring my mom)
Status: RESOLVED FIXED
Alias: None
Product: PackageKit
Classification: Unclassified
Component: General (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: All All
: high major
Assignee: Richard Hughes
QA Contact:
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Keywords:
Depends on:
Blocks:
 
Reported: 2008-03-22 20:27 UTC by Ralf Nieuwenhuijsen
Modified: 2012-01-05 09:57 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

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Description Ralf Nieuwenhuijsen 2008-03-22 20:27:15 UTC
General commentary:

  - it has no focus group. Who should use this tool? a system administrator or my mom? Because its too weak the administrator and too scary for my mom.

  - given the name and the location of the link (right there in the programs menu), it should not try to replace a synaptic-like tool. The add/remove software interface should be kept low-entry. No fucky stuff. 

  - Perhaps the solution is to split it into a simple and advanced version?

Specific Usability issues:

- search in a different tab (seriously, why? put it on the top or bottom and seach-as-we-type, like all the other gnome-apps, websites, etc. 

- install button not in screen all the time (usability 101: basic use-case should be immideately appearant). Dim the button when no application is selected. So by default show apps and show an install button.

- it doesn't show which apps are already installed (try a checkbox! or a red/green mark in front of it)

- already installed apps should be on top of the list. 

- the groups should mimick the default menu structure. This reinforces confidence where they will be able to find the apps (where does my app go?)

- it should not contain localization, libraries, command-line-tools, etc. Unless they impact a desktop-application, in which case they should be renamed to 'xxx Support' (stop scaring my MOM)

- it should use the application name from the .desktop file, not the package-name. And if you really, really, really want to show the _internal_ name, then do not make it bold and the most prominent title (stop scaring my MOM!)

- remove all these extra tabs about dependencies and such. Stop scaring my MOM.

- add support for a screenshot (she likes screenshots)


****
If these insights are convincing enough and actually reach a future version, feel free to call that version 'stop scaring mom' ;-)
Comment 1 Richard Hughes 2008-03-26 08:19:12 UTC
What do you think of: http://www.packagekit.org/pk-screenshots.html ? Thanks.
Comment 2 Ralf Nieuwenhuijsen 2008-03-26 20:15:40 UTC
The first screenshot at shows an improved search-interface wit the tabs split.
Much more to the point. And the search button emphasizes the point of the entry-field. Nice. I assume the search field has focus by default?

Some of the other points are still valid though:

 - install button is not visible at all times. I'm not a HIG expert, but having interfaces popup when you select an item in a list seems pretty random and inconsistent to me. 

 - the most attention is given to the package-name. I think swapping the package-name and the description would make it less scary. The human readable part should be in bold, instead of the package-name.

 - i can't tell from the list which packages are installed and which are not. Can I install multiple applications in one go? can i uninstall some and install some others? I really think a checkbox with some sort 'apply changes' button makes the most sense. It allows a user to setup his favorite programs in one go; it also communicates wether or not an application is installed.

I was also wondering some thing. 

 - I assume the categorization is done by the back-end. In the screenshot the categories do not make much sense, unless certain packages are available in more than one of the categories. Where would gnome-games go, for example?

 - Is the back-end able to signal the difference between say desktop-related-packages and non-desktop-related-packages (documentation, command-line-tools, libraries)? If so, could these be hidden by default? 

 - I never got an answer wether this tool was meant to replace something like synaptic or just be an easy front-end for my mom to install her scrable program.

Thanks for your response!











Comment 3 Richard Hughes 2008-03-27 02:39:15 UTC
> Much more to the point. And the search button emphasizes the point of the
> entry-field. Nice. I assume the search field has focus by default?

Yup, so you can just rock and roll.

>  - install button is not visible at all times. I'm not a HIG expert, but having
> interfaces popup when you select an item in a list seems pretty random and
> inconsistent to me. 

It only pops up if the package is installed - similarly a remove button pops up if the package can be removed.

>  - the most attention is given to the package-name. I think swapping the
> package-name and the description would make it less scary. The human readable
> part should be in bold, instead of the package-name.

Well, for an applications installer I would agree with you, but this is a _package_ installer. We going to be making a new application to install applications (i.e. anything with a .desktop file) where the package name won't even come into play. It'll have different use cases, so I would appreciate if you could join the mailing list and we can discuss there -- I appreciate your opinion.

>  - i can't tell from the list which packages are installed and which are not.

The box that is gray is uninstalled, and the one that is yellow (or with an icon) is installed. Someone else told me that yesterday - what would have been most obvious?

> Can I install multiple applications in one go?

Nope, you just fire off the request and hopefully carry on searching. Fire and forget. But: the yum backend can't copy with this and locks until the install has finished.... :-(

> It allows a user to setup his favorite programs in one
> go; it also communicates wether or not an application is installed.

But keep the images?

>  - I assume the categorization is done by the back-end.

Yup, they sort the packages into enumerated groups.

> In the screenshot the categories do not make much sense, unless certain packages are available in
> more than one of the categories. Where would gnome-games go, for example?

I would expect GNOME _and_ Games - it depends on the spec file writer to decide.

>  - Is the back-end able to signal the difference between say
> desktop-related-packages and non-desktop-related-packages (documentation,
> command-line-tools, libraries)? If so, could these be hidden by default? 

Yup, you can set "filters" to filter out stuff like development files and that sort of thing. The filters default to being off, but the application installer I mentioned would have no filter interface and just show gui|~devel|available|basename packages.

>  - I never got an answer wether this tool was meant to replace something like
> synaptic or just be an easy front-end for my mom to install her scrable
> program.

In the middle. Synaptic and the command line is still useful for power users like you and me, but I think pk-application sits in the middle ground of "competent users". The application called pk-easy-installer (or somthing like that) will be an idiots guide (no offense to your mum!) to installing a new application.
Comment 4 Reinout van Schouwen 2008-05-19 08:08:20 UTC
I'd like to nominate the "Software signature is required" dialog for the UI disaster of the month:

http://vanschouwen.info/nerdynotes/?p=129
Comment 5 Jean-François Fortin Tam 2012-01-05 09:57:20 UTC
Hi there,
This bug report is very old and based on a version not supported anymore. PackageKit has improved a lot since then.

Please file new individual bug reports for remaining usability issues.


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