About Window Implementation
This is a carry over discussion from a mailing-list. Trying to avoid a lengthy discussion on the mailing list. I was discussing how the current method that "About Application" windows are used does not properly match usage behavior. I believe in the idea presented in Cooper's "About Face 2.0" that "About Application" windows should contain a short description about the application and its capabilities. Credits, copyright, and support information would be in a renamed window like "Identity Information".
This information could become quite extensive...
The help/tutorial files would be the right place for that IMO.
The argument against this is it would take too long to find the information.
Most users would then end up wasting time to see if the program can do what they want to do. Also it shouldn't be lengthy documentation to explain what a program is and it's most basic features. It would just be an overview so that user can quickly understand what exactly the program is about. More detailed information (like actual steps, etc) would be in the Help/Tutorial files.
Links to these things shouldn't be in the About window, but deserve their own menu entry.
Basically the argument is about what an "About" Window really should be. I would argue the other information should be a separate menu entry like Credits, Support, Identity Information or even Copyright.
There are three things why I have looked into the "About..." of a program before: The version/date of an app to see if I'm still up to date, the URL of the project/vendor and contact information. I'm not sure about a "Check for updates"-Button beside the version number, but I'm all for a clickable link of the URL to open the browser or the mail app with the contact address (and optionally an app-provided subject line).
The usage behavior you describe sounds more like finding support information than it does finding out about the application.
Since the About window is a place for coders of an open source project to get public recognition, I don't think that part should be stripped.
This is exactly what I'm getting at. Sure the coders should get public recognition, but in an "About Application" window?? Does that really make sense??
The only reason it might make sense is because it's been done so in the past. Does that really make it valid?
The copyright thing may be a legal issue, IANAL. In any way, it's an easy way to see who's the vendor.
I'm not really proposing the existing About Window really be gotten rid of, but should be called something else with it's own menu entry.
Anyway, don't want to beat on this too much. I just felt it important to express the idea that the way "About Windows" are currently being used is quite archaic and a better usage pattern has been recommended.