Ubuntu 7.10 Pragmatic Visual and Behavioral Critique (I & II)
The purpose of this article is not to emphasize the strengths and merits of Ubuntu user experience, but instead to shed a brighter light on areas that have been neglected due to shortage of time and resources, usability testing, and various software and artwork defects. I hope those who are sometimes overprotective of open-source software will take my recommendations with a pinch of salt and see this article for what it really tries to be: a vocal user experience report and constructive criticism. It’s correct that many of the issues pointed out in this article could be filed as simple software bugs, since this is open source software after all. The truth however is that Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10 was released as a final product and the developers clearly saw it fit for final release into the real world.
From here on I’ll try to be direct and to the point as I’m definitely not getting paid enough to write this.
Desktop and Panels
The default GNOME desktop consists of two panels. This seems like an attempt to capture the best of Windows and OSX yet it somehow seems to fall short of achieving this goal. The Apple desktop makes clever use of the two panel approach, in the GNOME desktop however, the middle section of the panel is completely wasted space.
Part 1 of this article came about as a result of my frustrations on sparse publicity on areas of the Ubuntu Desktop that still need further polish. I received great feedback and comments to the previous article which only reinforced my belief that some users do indeed notice much of the frustrations that I voiced, but usually learn to adapt to the non-showstopper inconveniences while hoping their frustrations are resolved through the evolution pathway of the software in the future.
Why worry about the details?
I also received comments from those users experiencing more serious issues with Desktop Linux than occasional graphical glitches and artifacts, and usability annoyances. People complain about driver issues, and complete absence of hardware functionality, and these are undeniably serious problems. I’m not belittling these issues with this article nor do I see it as losing sight of priorities.