I’ve read GNOME’s Design Principles, and found some things that I particularly find a bit weird, this post is meant to point quirks about the GNOME DE and the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.
Just a reminder, this post does not have the goal to target the GNOME Project or Fedora, as I use both, just something that I feel is important to address regarding the user experience on GNOME.
Source for the following info: Design Principles - GNOME Human Interface Guidelines documentation
Wherever possible, we seek to be as inclusive as possible. This means accommodating different physical abilities, cultures, and device form factors. Our software requires little specialist knowledge and technical ability.
This Design Principle clashes directly with:
- Resist the pull to try and make an app that suits all people in all situations. Focus on one situation, one type of experience.
If something is meant to be as inclusive as possible, we have to accommodate as many different people as possible. And with different people, comes different experiences
reduce the amount of work and effort that people have to expend. This often means anticipating user needs, which requires having insight into the kind of situations and people your app is for.
- Try to minimize the number of steps required to perform a task.
An example of this is the accessibility menu: why do I have to install an extension to remove it if I have something enabled, when the settings app is supposed to do this exact thing, except it does not remove the button from the panel? This does not make sense (at least to me) from a UX perspective.
Anticipating user needs goes beyond providing useful functionality. It also requires thinking about what people don’t want from your app.
- Respect people’s time and attention. Don’t interrupt or distract them unnecessarily.
One thing I particularly do not enjoy about GNOME is the amount of things in the calendar menu in the top panel, I prefer it clean and simple, so I always remove everything except the calendar itself and the notifications area. This is just me, but maybe having options to remove things from the UI could be beneficial to both GNOME and Fedora. Being inclusive, from what I’ve read, is one of, if not the top priority of the GNOME Project, and inclusion means accepting different experiences and expectations.
Now, does that mean GNOME needs to be a new KDE? No. What I am trying to point out in this post is that the User Experience of GNOME is a little flawed. I use GNOME as it is meant to be used: with a top panel, the Overview, Workspaces, etc.
I am only pointing out small tweaks that could be made into options built-in to GNOME’s DE, I am not saying that I want to be able to customize it to the point that it becomes like Windows, I use GNOME and I prefer its workflow much more than that of Windows or KDE Plasma. But by now I am deviating from the point of this post, which is the following:
If being inclusive is a top priority of GNOME, then GNOME cannot
Resist the pull to try and make an app that suits all people in all situations. Focus on one situation, one type of experience.
This statement alone heavily contradicts the “inclusion” part of the Design Principles. It’s also worth remembering that all of this is talking specifically about GNOME as a Desktop Environment, not GNOME applications.
And yes, I know this is Fedora’s Discourse, not GNOME’s. But seeing that Fedora and GNOME are so close, I decided to post this here
Another reminder at the end here, this post does not have the goal to target the GNOME Project or Fedora, as I use both, just something that I feel is important to address regarding the user experience on GNOME. I would love to hear other people’s opinions on this topic.