Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Clicking And OpenOffice


I'm testing new ideas on our new desktop deployment to resolve problems that I have noticed in the last few years of being live on GNOME. One issue is clicking. Users don't understand when to single-click and when to double-click so they just double-click on everything. Shortcuts on the gnome-panel therefore fire off twice and this causes problems. For instance, a script that does a 'evolution --force-shutdown' will run twice and clobber each other. I have a patch that I will apply and test soon that makes the gnome-panel treat both clicks in the same way. This should probably be the default in all distributions. The startup spinning wheel that can be enabled doesn't work well; Users don't see it, and it makes the window manager unresponsive while it's spinning (at least over remote display). Invasive dialogs are not the answer either. I have started testing 'notify-send' and it's working really well. I have been able to resolve another long standing issue: Users don't remember which printer they have selected in their software applications. Often, City employees will move between multiple facilities each with unique printers. So, I am picking up their current printer and sending this information to notify-send as well. Feedback from my 10 beta testers has been very positive. (Shot below)

[ If anyone that develops the gnome-print dialogs wants some feedback on how they work, hit me up on the IRC. They really are not working very well for organizations with lots of users and printers ].


We often get calls from people that are thinking about installing OpenOffice and are unaware that a lot of resources are available for this type of deployment. I am not connected with any of those companies or people, but we have had good results in their services. offers excellent clue cards to hand out to employees. offers training videos and cluesheets. (For SLED 10 too).

Solveig Haugland has an excellent blog and has a new book on using OpenOffice. She is also available for training and special projects.


Marius said...

Maemo (the distro used on Nokia 770 and N800 tablets) also shows a small notification message ("$ProgramName - loading") when you start an application.

Why is a third of your blog post shown as dingbats?

Ploum said...

I agree with the double click/single click problem. There's no logic behind the choice.

My personnal solution is to activate single click everywhere ! Double click doesn't exist anymore ! And to select something, I just draw a square around it.

Anonymous said...

The users generally couldn't care less about the names or network locations of the printers. What is more important is where the damned thing is. I've seen often a map implemented for this.

Generally it takes only seconds to draw a rough map of the premises, add couple nice printer images and lines of text. The user has to just point and click where they want to print to. Very very convenient for the end user when done properly.

You can also mark the locations on the desktops on the ldap you are using. When you mark the rough location of the desktop it is very easy to map the default printer to the closest/best one and show it visually to the user. (Roaming people must usually still find their location from the system.. But then again all the information about all the sites and their printers will be available to them.)

I think the Windows based Novell stuff has that stuff by default. I've seen it added on Windows/ad environments by using 3rd party solutions.

Simon Howard said...

Wait, so every time you start Evolution a bunch of notifications pop up telling you that it's starting up and informing you of your printer? That's pretty horrible.

One of the things I find annoying about Windows is the useless popups that appear all the time. Notifications should be used sparingly, only when there is some kind of response needed.

Raymond Chen had a good article on his blog about use of notifications:

It sounds like there are possibly problems with the startup notification mechanism, but wouldn't it be more sensible to fix that instead of abusing popup notifications? Plus it seems absurd to me to display popups every time you start Evolution telling you what your printer is.

Anonymous said...

Clicking at the least should be a trivial problem to fix... I believe that a double-click consists of firing a single-click and then a double-click event since computers can't read one's mind... in that case, the single-click event should launch it, and the double-click event should do nothing.