Comment 235 for bug 532633

Bruno Girin wrote:
> <sarcasm>
> <disclaimer>this tag may include content you can't see the funny side of</disclaimer>
> <workaround>please read the whole post and go have a walk before replying in anger</workaround>
> Oh dear! A pre-release version of the next Ubuntu includes a massive
> change to an essential element of user interface: the close button is
> now on the left! The world is going to end!
> OK, so what? If I look at all the window managers I've used in the past
> apart from Gnome, I count: Amiga OS (1.3), Motif, CDE, Ye Olde Mac
> Classic, Mac OS-X, whatever the WM was on SunOS 4.x and the old HP-PA,
> Windows 3.1 to Vista. The only thing I can say is that the positions of
> the Close, Minimise and Maximise buttons has been quite varied. In fact,
> the only OS in here that ever had the Close button in the top right
> corner was... Windows 95/NT4 and above. Every other one had it in the
> top left corner.
> The current argument reminds me of the time when we upgraded customers
> from Windows NT 3.51 to NT 4. Microsoft did something terrible with NT
> 4: they replaced the application launcher window with this weird bar at
> the bottom that had a "Start" button and they moved the Close button
> from top left to top right! How dare they? My customers were up in arms.
> Granted, considering said customers were FX and equity traders, some of
> them had an IQ inversely proportional to their earnings and found it
> difficult to adapt to the change, but still. Every time I visited them,
> I was told: "We'll call your boss, you'll lose your job over this! We'll
> go to the competition! Microsoft will crash down in flames for doing
> this!" Did I lose my job? No. Did they go to the competition? No. Did
> Microsoft crash down in flames? Hell no, otherwise we wouldn't have bug
> #1!
> </sarcasm>
> Having said this, is this a major change? Yes. Should it be pulled back?
> No, not now and here's why:
> 1. Despite the fact that this thread seems to indicate that the whole
> Ubuntu community is up in arms, this is not the case because the sample
> of users in this thread is a self-selecting one. The users who see no
> problem with the change will never find this thread because they won't
> go looking for it. On the other hand, every single user who disagrees
> with the change will go to Launchpad, find the thread and add his own
> negative comment. So whatever data this thread contributes to the
> problem is by definition biased and should therefore not be used in the
> decision. On the other hand, that same data provides an interesting set
> of test cases as it shows a varied range of opinions and experience,
> which is useful for my second point.
> 2. Such a usability change can only be validated or invalidated by
> widespread user testing. No amount of polls, reviews or limited
> usability studies will tell you whether the change is a good one or not.
> And, guess what? A beta release is exactly the right way to do such
> testing: it's stable enough that you can give it to non-technical users
> but you still have the option to correct bugs before the final release.
> I suspect this is exactly why Mark Shuttleworth said that the current
> button layout would stay *for the duration of beta 1 at least*. And I
> believe that, if beta testing were to show that the change has a
> definite negative impact on usability, it would be reverted before full
> release.
> So, how, as a community, can we perform user testing on this change?
> Install the beta, use it, try it out as it comes out of the box. And for
> those who say that they support non-technical users, get them to play
> with it. But don't tell them anything, let them find out what's new. I'm
> sure you'll be surprised by who adapts well to the change and who
> doesn't.
> Now can we please all calm down and help make Lucid the best Ubuntu yet?
> What would happen if you went to london with a car made for us. How long would it take to get used to driving there? Same thing applies here.