E17 – Window manipulation and focus configuration nightmare

30 12 2007

This is a usability analysis of the E17 window manipulation and focus configuration settings. I use E17 since it’s available in CVS some years ago. And I’m still confused by the nightmare of some configuration options. The image below shows some open configuration dialogs. Some settings are marked with red numbers. At some point in this text I reference to this numbers.

e17_conf_prob.png

(1) There are two options in the “Window Resize Geometry” field. The “Follow the window as it resizes” option is only used if the “Display information” option is enabled. So the “Follow the window as it resizes” option should be grayed out while the “Display information” is not enabled.

(2) The first two options in the “Automatic New Window Placement” are confusing me. At first nobody knows what is a “Smart Placement”. And what’s the difference to “Don’t hide Gadgets”? I would call this “smart” too. Perhaps it’s possible to find some better wordings here. Perhaps “Default Placement”?

(3) The “Raise when clicking to focus” does include the “Raise when starting to move or resize” option. If one enables the “Raise when clicking to focus” checkbox, then the “Raise when starting to move or resize” checkbox should be grayed out.

(4) The “Maximize Policy” option field has two option areas in it. A more visible border should be visible between both areas.

(5) I’ve not found out the usage of the “Allow window manipulation” checkbox. If enabled or disabled my windows are always able to manipulate in maximization state. Perhaps it’s broken or I don’t understand the option.

(6) Here is again the question. What is the smart in “Smart expansion”? And what’s the difference to “Expand the window”? Also here “Default Expansion” and something else meaningful would be helpful for new users.

(7) Not sure here, but is it really useful or even possible to raise a window without giving it the focus? Perhaps it’s also useful here to gray out one of both while one is selected.

(8) I wasn’t able to find out what is the difference between a desk and a screen. Is this a multi monitor setting (I’ve only one)? If yes, then this should be moved to a “Multi monitor” option area or perhaps to a multi monitor settings dialog.

(9) Not sure here, but why does the option exist to raise the window without focus while switching. What is the benefit of this option?

(10) I wasn’t able to find out the usage of the “Uncover window while selecting” checkbox.

(11) Oh, this one is a bug that I noticed while playing around with the “Default border style” settings. It seems only to happen with the xfce4 terminal. All other windows and other terminals work well. It seems the refresh is broken. Even after E17 restart the bug is still there. Hm, I need to figure out how to remove and reproduce that bug.

(12) The first what I noticed here is that all options below “Animate the shading and unshading of windows” should be grayed out while the checkbox is not checked. The time slider is working well, but the four options below feel all like linear shading. Maybe the difference is to small and I didn’t notice it or maybe it’s broken. No idea what it should look like.

Conclusion

I think Enlightenment is really great and a experienced user is able to configure it. In the past I tried nearly every window manager that is available for X11 and E17 is far the most configurable of all. But this is also the biggest problem of E17. There are to much and confusing configuration options. New users are slayed by so many options. I know there’s the basic and advanced dialog button. This helps much, but doesn’t remove all problems.

Beside the comments above here are my two ideas for improving the situation:

o Use the possibility to gray out not selectable options. This would help much to see what options do really enable and disable a feature and what options are only sub options that influence only the basic option.

o Fight against each useless option. An option that influences “something”, but has no real benefit for the user should be discussed again. It’s not a shame to remove an option that (nearly) nobody uses!

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4 responses

31 12 2007
andreasvolz

(11) is now filed on bugs.enlightenment.org:

http://bugzilla.enlightenment.org/show_bug.cgi?id=345

1 01 2008
andreasvolz
23 01 2008
andreasvolz

Now I started to fix some E17 UI issues that disturbs be most. Recently I fixed the gray display of the disabled text entries.

30 03 2011
tjavailable

Some important features are Low resource consumption,Highly Responsive,Very Elegant, Efficient, Keeps the CPU far more cooler than any other DE,etc. Check it out Here

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