File Manager + DE Usability

Various KDE 1.-4. Improvements

Source (link to git-repo or to original if based on someone elses unmodified work): Add the source-code for this project on opencode.net

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Description:

Unfortunately, KDE's Konqueror is very bad at highlighting and pretty ugly while doing it too.

Nautilus highlights icons perfectly and the oval transparent background also looks quite good as well as the nice shadowed fonts and uniform highlighting of all the parts of an icon. It looks like it is casting a shadow over the files you have selected, which is a plus in usability. It's the same way on the desktop; the text under the icons looks great, nicely shadowed like in XP to make it easy to see on any wallpaper. (This is also very attractive for preview icons like images, shadows look great on them. Compare sceenshot previews in konqueror without shadows to their GNOME counterparts.) In KDE, for some busy wallpapers with a complementing mix of autumn colors I need to put a background color for the text to see it. This would not be so bad if it were handled like in GNOME, with a slightly translucent rectangle with rounded edges and a barely noticeable drop-shadow. However, in KDE it is a big, plain and ugly opaque rectangle.

In Konqueror it looks like your putting up fences to select your icons, very unattractive. Highlighting is often poor, the darkened images suddenly have unappealing bright white spots and the background color under the icons is an ugly, plain rectangle and the text is hard to see and plain. Same goes for the desktop, even worse; when an icon is clicked a small discontinued rectangular line surrounds the icon text. Ugly! If KDE had emblems maybe a small special one could be placed by the icon to indicate that it was just launched instead of having an ugly discontinued, rectangular line select the text.

The GNOME project is often lagging behind in features, but it sometimes executes the features it has a lot better. Please learn from Nautilus, it's very fast and full of nice features like emblems, which I would love to see in KDE.

Explorer handles the highlighting like GNOME in the file manager and like KDE on the desktop. I never noticed before, but Explorer is actually very smart, for example the side navigation and information panel disappears by itself if you make the window small enough and the side panel is dynamic and changes appropriately according to the contents of a folder or a type of item. In a folder full of pictures of a large size it also automatically adjusts and puts the text under the icons instead of right by them. However, when the icons are links to folders or items the text is right by them, therefore saving space if information about the item is to be placed and it looks better. These are only a few minor things, but they can greatly improve somebody's eXPerience. We should stop bashing Microsoft so much and start implementing what they do well in OSS.

Both Nautilus and Konqueror could learn a lot from Explorer and Explorer could learn a lot from Konqueror and Nautilus :)

Due to space constraints I can not post a picture of my GNOME or KDE desktop, however here is one that shows the shadowed text under the icons and KDE�s way.

GNOME:
http://art.gnome.org/show_screenshot.php?screenshotID=13

KDE:
http://kde-look.org/content/preview.php?file=1794-1.png (not a good example because the background is not very distracting and therefore it is still easy to read the text)

Please tell me what you think on this issue, if you agree vote good, if you disagree vote bad. =) If you don't feel strongly either way, either try to makeup your mind and vote or comment and do not vote. Personally, I think if these issues are a lot more important for usability than fancy translucent menus.

More suggestions would also be great,, K developers need to know what needs to be improved and this place is where most people go when they think something needs to be improved from an aesthetic and usability perspective.

I might seem a little harsh on KDE, but keep in mind I am only trying to help improve it. I also think many of the things I mentioned are probably not extremely ahrd to do. But, I am not experienced enough to state this for a fact.

(By the way, clicking download will show you how Microsoft Explorer handles the problems mentioned above.)
Last changelog:

17 years ago

- improved description of my suggestions, updated especially because KDE 3.2 is intended to be a major usability improvement from what I have heard

vslick

18 years ago

right look at nautilus highlighting and look at windows xp.. Hmm wonder where microsoft got their highlighting feature from..
considering nautilus has been out for quite some time., way before windows xp was released..

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Elassus

18 years ago

and totally off-topic.

what's the theme/style you're using? not the icons (those are the very cool new ones). maybe the window decoration? i like the sleek, curvy widgets.

thanks.

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snvolker

18 years ago

It is standart for SuSE 8.1.
Maybe you can get it from ftp.suse.com

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C

WinterWolf

18 years ago

It's the little things that you don't see on any other OS like XP or OS X which really attract people.

Right now if Linux remains in a copying contest (not always, but sometimes) why would people select it?

People want something innovative with features they can't find anywhere else.

Sure price matters, but you will probably stick with your desktop OS for at least a good 2-3 years, most people who use (not just tinker) their desktop do this.

Windows releases also follow about a 2-3 year schedule.

INNOVATE!

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Salva

18 years ago

The small details you mention are a few of the features where I think Gnome is better than KDE. It would be great having the same good-looking way in which icons are selected, and emblems are a feature that is quite interesting when you start using Linux as a Desktop OS. It surely would be something with a big "ooooh" factor to show to people you are trying to convince that Linux is becoming a good desktop OS.

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bradenm

18 years ago

Are you making those icons that I see in the right hand side of the download?

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telex

18 years ago

I agree that the icons and their text look nicer in GNOME, but I'm not completely sure about the way the whole selected area is darkened, but then that might be a useability thing - GNOME seems to be much better in that regard than KDE. Still, it'd be nice to see the selected "graphic" looking a little nicer. Definitely send this on to the developers in question through the proper channels (KDE's bugzilla I assume).

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WinterWolf

18 years ago

While GNOME is faster and has some very convenient things that KDE does not, KDE is my desktop of choice. I like the configuration tools, and it's customizability which IMO is much higher without opening up configuration files. In fact I think it is too high for the average user rand there should be "advanced" and "simple" buttons to accommodate both novice users and power users alike. KDE also seems to have more applications which I enjoy using and new features are added faster (can't say for sure this is a good thing).

However,if I were using a non-KDE centric distribution I might use GNOME instead, I think both desktops are pretty good. GNOME 2 is more a developer's release from what I heard though.

I want KDE to have the best of both worlds and this is why I posted this. Many people often refer to Windows as their ideal OS and compare it's feature set to Linux, if they find a feature that is in Windows and not in Linux are you going to always tell them to just use Windows?

Constructive criticism is what drives improvement in my opinion. This is very unesthetic and it is not even as functional. It should be changed, and I wanted to bring it to the attention of KDEvelopers. It would also allow greater customization in themes because the color of the blanket you spread over icons when you are in the process of selecting icons would be customizable, rounded transparent backgrounds are also much more attractive, and modern.

The way nautilus displays the size of files right under the name when they are selected IMO is also a great idea.

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WinterWolf

18 years ago

I don't mean when they are selected. The filesize is displayed if it is an item regardless if it selected or not. If it is a folder the number of items in it is shown instead. This is a GREAT IDEA, it makes it so much easier to know which item your looking at without having to go through everything, it should have an option to be enabled or disabled, but IMO konqueror really eneds this too :)

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k1e0x

18 years ago

I mean, I like bolth alot, but I *use* Gnome a hell of alot more.

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17 years ago

- improved description of my suggestions, updated especially because KDE 3.2 is intended to be a major usability improvement from what I have heard

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