Naming of applications

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Naming of applications

Postby belovedmonster on Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:50 pm

I was just listening to the latest episode of Lugradio (http://www.lugradio.org/) and they discussed whether an application should be labeled by its generic name "music player" or its brand name "Rhythmbox". It raised an interesting point because there are usability arguments both way. On one hand it is easier for a total newbie to see "music player" and know what this is, but on the other hand there are so many advantages to knowing what specific application it is, especially when it comes to installing different software, troubleshooting the software and many other contexts

Ultimately I think the best solution is to have both on the menu. Rhythmbox - Music Player, Pidgin - Instant Messanger, etc. I think this gives the best of both words in terms of making it clear what the software is, and making it clear what it does. The only disadvantage really to speak of would be that menus would need to be slightly wider to accommodate both, but I think this is ultimately a small price to pay for clarity.

What do people think?
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Re: Naming offapplications

Postby proxima_centauri on Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:09 pm

Personally I think the whole idea of naming specific applications to "Media Player", or "Instant Messenger" sounds a tad communist :lol: . What happens when multiple applications are installed which may fall under more/less the same category, programs that do very similar things but are used for different purposes? I think that the mintmenu more than adequately distinguishes between applications. It's partitioned off into separate distinct categories (Graphics, Office, Internet, Games, etc), and a slight hover of the mouse on a applications' name will specify it's specific function. Simplicity can only go so far before it becomes unpractical.

(New Thought) Ok, I thought of one reason why this may be a good idea, but only in cases when young children are the ones using the computer, simplicity is great for children in that respect, only having one clear choice to make when doing something certainly reduces chances for confusion. (Daddy? Whats an Amarok? :lol: )
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Re: Naming of applications

Postby ed@Mint on Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 pm

You can set an option in MintMenu to display both the name and the purpose of an app by default.
It's all explained in the user guide http://linuxmint.com/pub/Daryna_User_Guide-4.1.pdf

Basically :
right click on the menu icon, select 'preferences'
go to mintmenu -> plugins -> applications
check the 'show_category_icons' option

One more reason to use mintmenu instead of standard gnome menu :wink:
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Re: Naming of applications

Postby Fred on Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:05 pm

I am sure many will disagree with me, but that's ok. :-)

I believe in making Linux easier to use, I really do. But not at the expense of it's power and flexibility. I see no reason for not including a few GUIs that are not necessary or particularly useful. As aids to make the transition from Windows to Linux easier. They usually aren't used for very long anyway.

But really .... to not call a program by its' name? Name and description, ok, but not a generic description only. Do you call Windows programs by description only? No, programs have names. What is wrong with learning the program names and what they do? I certainly wouldn't want to have to open a program to see which one it was. That just doesn't compute for me.

If I were a new Linux user coming from Windows, I would be slightly insulted by the whole conversation. Windows users learned to use Windows. They learned what programs were available to do what tasks. They learned to use those programs that they found useful. Are we to now tell them they are incapable of doing the same with Linux? You can go too far with this, "let's make it easy for Windows users thing."

Just my opinion,

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Re: Naming of applications

Postby ed@Mint on Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:34 pm

100% agreed :)
And that is why i suggested the "both mixed" configuration of mintmenu which should maybe be set as default.
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Re: Naming of applications

Postby belovedmonster on Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:55 am

Actually, from my own personal experience, people who aren't so good with computers often don't know the names of software. Take my Mum for example, if I said to her "open firefox" she wouldnt know what I mean, even though that is basically the one application on her computer that she uses on a daily basis. If I said open your web browser she would understand though, she learns the type of application it is and what the icon looks like and nothing more. Many other people I know are the same. Say to them "Windows explorer" they don't know what you mean. Say to them "File Browser" they do.

My Dad is the neighbourhood tech support guy for a lot of people and you would shudder at some of the really basic mistakes and misunderstandings people still have about computers. I'm not saying we should dumb it down for the lowest common dominator, I'm just saying you should be conscious just how low that common dominator can get ;)
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Re: Naming of applications

Postby Zwopper on Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:04 am

ed@Mint wrote:100% agreed :)
And that is why i suggested the "both mixed" configuration of mintmenu which should maybe be set as default.

You have my vote on this as well!
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