colin at springsandstruts.com
Sun Feb 12 19:57:27 UTC 2012
I agree with a lot of this, except for sounds. I hear (haha) what he's saying and don't disagree that we could probably turn a few off, but "No sounds by default" is a bad idea -- it hides the feature which a lot of people do use and like. FWIW iChat also has sounds on by default.
If someone wanted to make like a google doc or spreadsheet of our current defaults, that would probably go a long way to helping us sort all this out.
Btw, for those who don't know, Rick is a long time Mac dev, currently working at Black Pixel. One of his past projects was Bodega. He knows his shit.
-Colin (via thumbs)
On Feb 12, 2012, at 11:36 AM, Peter Hosey <boredzo at adium.im> wrote:
> This is a lot of valid criticism that deserves greater developer hearing and consideration.
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Rick Fillion <rick at centrix.ca>
>> Subject: Adium Defaults
>> Date: February 12, 2012 11:18:28
>> To: feedback at adium.im
>> X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.1257)
>> List-Archive: <http://adium.im/mailman/private/feedback_adium.im>
> Hi Guys,
> I bitched on Twitter the other day about Adium's defaults being terrible, and RV requested that I send you extended feedback. So here's some. My tone in these emails sometimes comes across as super harsh… note that that's not my intent. I tend to swear a lot, but usually that's an indication of me being good-humoured about something.
> I just want to start by saying that I really truly do like Adium. It's a good app, and I use it heavily every day. Before I rant away about things I dislike, I want to mention some of the things that I really like:
> - The fact that clicking an 'install' button on a website is all it takes to install an add-on. You did this very right. I want to copy this behaviour for some of my apps.
> - It remembers my non-standard Jabber conference id, so I don't need to retype it every time I join a jabber room.
> - It does a great job of taking the different protocols and treating them basically all the same.
> - I don't remember the last crash I had with it.
> - I abuse tabs. In the sense that I just never close them. It's routine for me to have 15-25 tabs open at once, each one with a bunch of history, and performance has never seemed to be an issue. Similar apps have performance issues with this. Good job.
> I get a lot of people asking me what the best way to get MSN or AIM on a Mac. The answer for this is very clear in my mind: Adium. And so that's what I recommend. Basically everyone I recommend it to goes and tries it out. But very very few end up sticking with it. Why? Cause the default install turns just about everyone off except those of us who know that we can go and tweak it to turn down the suck.
> I don't want to hear "well that's fine, we don't necessarily want more users… what do we care, it's open source, we don't gain anything by having more users." (typical OSS answer for complaints) Absolutely you should care. You should want users. You're working on this thing that you know is great. You want others to think it's great, because your name is associated with it. Anyone who takes pride in what they do should want it to be as great as it can be, and in the case of software a big measure of that is how many people use it and enjoy it.
> So… let's get on with some real stuff.
> - Message Styles/themes. The default themes that ship with Adium are pretty terrible. Seriously. Gone Dark? Stockholm isn't bad, but the others pretty much all reek of "We got a dev to whip up some CSS". One of the first things I do when I get Adium is go download PlasticMod. It's not gorgeous, but it's sufficiently easy on the eyes. It's not flashy, and that's OK. It's an IM app, I'm not expecting flashy.
> - I hate the duck icon. Hate. As a stand alone icon, I think it's fine. When the little bastard starts jumping around in my dock, holy hell… :P So next up, I have to change the dock icon to something more subtle. In this case you guys provide The Duck In Every Primary Color. And Milk? Is that one standard? I don't mind Milk, but I like colour to give me information when I'm command-tabbing around, so I go and get Classy-N-Glassy. Your app icon is the duck, and so making the default running icon anything but the duck would be wrong. But just tone down the obnoxiousness of the thing.
> - Contact List. IIRC, the default options are theme: Aqualicious, window style: Regular window, with automatic sizing horizontally. And then a bunch of minute options inside of Customize that I've changed. But let's just start with those. I actually like the toolbar part of the "Regular Window" style, at least as far as looks go. But it just doesn't fit with the rest of the window. The top part says "This is a regular window." And then the contents beg to differ. It clashes. So I end up having to change the window style to something like Group Bubbles. Who thought Contact Bubbles was a good idea? It's not. You're adding a ton of visual clutter there with no real benefit. Don't get me started on Contact Bubbles (to fit). Awful. With 'Size to Fit' horizontally, the list is almost always going to be too thin to be easy on the eyes. It needs a bit of negative space. So I have to uncheck that and set a width usually around 200px. And I've now got something that is OK-looking.
> - Sounds. It's tacky. Unless my Mac has something VERY important to tell me, it better not make a peep. Certainly not every time I get a message. I turn that off immediately. All sounds.
> - Growl Messages. Treat it like sound, only a smidge less severe. It's not cute, it's not flashy, it's annoying. A growl alert takes my focus away from whatever I was doing (usually something significantly more important than IM). Tell me something important, something that warrants my attention. Think _hard_ about that one. "Jimmy left the group chat." Oh really? What action do you want me to do based on that? There's really nothing I can do about it, and I can't really think of what anyone would. Therefore: not important enough to break my attention. Go through all of your notifications. They pretty much all growl by default. Stop that. Growl at me when something important happens. An example of this that I actually appreciate: it now growls by default when a file transfer is offered. This was a pain point for me before with Adium. Someone would offer me a file, and I wouldn't get notified at all until I happened to go into that tab. Sometimes that'd be too late. I believe the new default is to growl, and accept-file by default : good.
> - Status menu icon. Not a bad thing to have, but ... now look at this, by default when something happens you're: bouncing the dock icon, playing sounds at me, growling, and changing a status menu icon. Unless the world is ending, this level of LOOK AT ME! is completely inappropriate. I turn that little guy off just to have one less aspect of Adium in my face.
> This is really just scratching the surface.
> I think just doing these types of changes alone would be a HUGE step forward for Adium. Like I said before, it's a good app, but most potential-users I know end up getting turned off by it. Defaults for an app are really really hard to get right, but it's super important as it's what provides the user with their first impressions. I'm not saying "You have to take my suggestions and what I do, and make those the default." I don't think that's the answer. What I'm saying is that someone with a very critical eye should look at every default option you're setting, and justify it. Everything. Why are we doing that? Is that really what's going to benefit the most users, or are we just doing it this way because we've always done it this way, or because it was easy to implement this way?
> While I'm providing feedback… The Xtras section on the site. Please please please have someone curate that. If you want to show every dock icon, etc… that's ever been submitted, then that's cool. But I have zero interest in browsing them all. Show me the 10 that one of you think are best, and I'd gladly pick from that. Fewer options is often times better. Humans have trouble picking when there are too many options, as we get stuck in a "well what if the next page has one better?" mode. Providing less options up front and a barrier before they wade into every option ever is a good way to let them make a choice quickly that they'll be happy with. When they choose an option from a very long list without going through that whole list they're left with a feeling of "well maybe if i had looked at it all I'd have found something I would have liked better." I'm not just spouting bullshit here, there's actually science that backs this up. :)
> I think if you provided better defaults, users would find themselves wanting to tweak things less, which in turn would start to make some options less needed. Here are some options that I really believe you should work towards removing:
> - Contact List Opacity : Make it a property on the contact list style. This way the person who designs the style can be assured that the alpha value they specify is what the user sees, not some multiplication of it.
> - Basically everything in Contact List Color Theme Customize.
> - Basically everything in Contact List List Layout Customize. I'll be honest, I tweaked stuff in there, but I firmly believe that I shouldn't have to. If the default was "good enough" there, there should be no need.
> - Custom Background on message styles. Let the theme dictate that.
> Nit Pick:
> All of your tabs in Preferences are the same width plus or minus 10px. Standardize that so that the window grows only vertically.
> I really hope that this email came across as I intended. Thank you for making Adium, I really do appreciate it. I just want to see it be as good as I know it can be. :)
> Rick Fillion
> rick at centrix.ca
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