Usability Improvements


Usability Improvements

Haiku R1 should be polished and not suffer from BeOS' insufficiencies. If we release a half-baked OS our userbase will turn away.

This is a summary of many improvements discussed on the GE-list and elsewhere:

TODO for R1

  • rework window zooming as it often does not work as one would expect
  • add BTextView context-menu with "cut", "copy", "paste", "select all", "undo"
  • improve BTextView keyboard-navigation: move to next/previous word, paragraph, beginning/end of file
  • show the task switcher immediately upon hitting CTRL+TAB (seems to be an R5 bug which causes a too long delay)
  • remove unneeded preferences (menu settings, scrollbar style)
  • combine similar preferences apps (Appearance: UI+screen, Input Devices: mouse+keyboard+keymap, Media: audio+video+sounds, Networking: ppp+networking)
  • modify apps in the source tree to match modifier key functions for lists: Shift-click selects a range, CTRL-click toggles one item
  • parent menu items which don't have a message associated with them should not close the menu when clicked
  • demo apps are not needed by default. why is the clock replicant in the Applications menu? it's a demo! remove more unneeded apps and make sure all apps sit in the right category (apps vs prefs)
  • Tracker: all entries in the date column should have the same width and use the same formatting. no more mixed entries with "Friday" here and "Sat" there. use fixed-width font?
  • Tracker: use different cursors for "move" and "copy"
  • automatically remove deleted apps from FileTypes DB (it quickly blows up like the Windows registry)
  • highlight controls somehow when the mouse moves over them to indicate "clickability"
  • Deskbar should be able to reserve screen space for itself (zoomed windows don't take up that space)
  • Tracker: "Identify" action in context-menu should be hidden or moved somewhere else (if identification cannot be automated reliably)
  • Deskbar: all items should get a right-click context-menu
  • Tracker: remove "Clean Up" action. use a fixed, non-overlapping grid for icons (overlapping icons are evil)
  • auto-mount read-only media (at least CDs)
  • Tracker: add mouse cursors which indicate a "copy" or "move" operation on drag-n-drop

Ideas for R2

  • (needs more thought) rework mounting process: create auto-mount-points and always show all mountable volumes. unmounting should be replaced by unloading a complete device (CD, USB drive, etc.). show device icons on desktop. their contents are the mountable volumes. ??By default volumes are auto-unmounted when they not needed, anymore. To permanently keep a volume mounted you drag-n-drop it on the desktop (or maybe a folder?), so you have a permanent mount-point.??
  • magnetic screen corners (all windows docking to screen edges ala Winamp)
  • time should always be visible (never overlap Deskbar)
  • add screen scaling support (resolution-independent)
  • design all apps such that they show more information and less buttons
  • less top-menu items and more contextual actions (pop-up menus) and information
  • Tracker: when holding down some shortcut-button while clicking an item in the folder-browser context-menu the menu should not close, but open that item in the background (allows for multiple items to be opened)
  • add global shortcut support (open folders, apps, actions) ala SpicyKeys and improve keyboard navigation because experienced users are faster with keyboard
  • reduce number of servers (audio_server, media_server, media_addons_server, why not just media_server?)
  • is separation of Tracker and Deskbar needed? it's not that I could continue my work if only Deskbar crashes
  • Tracker: show size of selected files in current folder as little bubble-window next to mouse pointer (and hide it when mouse exits window frame, so I can quickly check multiple folders). maybe also show size of all files if we have enough space
  • Tracker: automatically adjust column-widths when window is resized (see Thunderbird)
  • Deskbar: too inaccessible. I rarely use it because it's always hidden by max-zoomed windows
  • where is the long-discussed simplified and more powerful one-click installer with a package manager and automatic package updates?
  • colors should be used more actively in system controls
  • search results (BTextView, etc.) should be marked within the scroll bar, so you can quickly scroll to other results (instead of clicking "next"/"prev" buttons)
  • mark location of a selection within the scroll bar (or allow for adding marks via scroll-bar?)
  • arrange workspaces and desktop as 2D space (navigate via ALT+arrows)?
  • Deskbar as clipboard (drag-n-drop anything on it)?