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Re: Fwd: Things I have noticed


Natan Yellin wrote:
> Natan
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: *Ryan Prior* <ryanprior@xxxxxxxxx <mailto:ryanprior@xxxxxxxxx>>
> Date: Sun, May 10, 2009 at 12:58 AM
> Subject: Re: [Ayatana] Things I have noticed
> To: Natan Yellin <aantny@xxxxxxxxx <mailto:aantny@xxxxxxxxx>>
> On Sat, May 9, 2009 at 2:55 PM, Natan Yellin <aantny@xxxxxxxxx
> <mailto:aantny@xxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
> > I don't think an X is useful either, but it seems to be a
> > common request.
> I think that having a notification window pop up and having no way to
> close it, or to know how long until it will close by itself, is
> unsettling to many computer users.

The biggest driver of this that I've seen in user testing, is the fact
that the notification covers an area which often has really useful
information on it. Even though we've gone some distance to making it
possible to use that area smoothly (the click-through idea) there is
still the sense that the notification is covering useful info...
especially window tabs and the browser search box.

That's the driver for us experimenting with moving the notification
further down the right hand side of the screen, even though the
placement will not be as visually pleasing if it's not neatly "in a corner".

> I agree that an X button isn't
> needed, but I think the notifications would be improved if they all
> had a subtle indicator of how long until the notification will
> disappear.
The problem with that is that the subtle indicator isn't useful if it's
subtle :-) If my attention is on the thing I'm doing, and a notification
pops up, I have to decide without looking at it if I want to break my
attention. If I have to glance at a progress indicator I have already
broken my concentration for the notification - I might as well just look
at it :-) The countdown was arguably useful when notifications had
actions, but in practice it just created this weird race-to-the-button

With regard to "how long", the answer is that the notification should be
there "just the right time". Of course, that's very difficult to define,
but we're going to try :-)

In 9.10, the notifications will actually have variable duration (I don't
think they do in 9.04, that was spec'd but didn't make it). The inputs
to that time are complex and many: the urgency of the notification
(which means we have to hunt down and destroy abusers of notification
urgency), the amount of text, whether the notification has been appended
to or replaced with updated content, and the urgency of the things
queued but not yet displayed. We're also thinking of using things like
"the user is busy typing, give him a few more milliseconds for this one"
to let users finish a sentence then look at the notification.

So, notification duration would be a fruitful topic for a thread on this
list. MPT would be the man to convince, and Mirco would comment on
whether ideas are implementable.


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