Comment 441 for bug 332945

Lionel Dricot (ploum) wrote :

mac_v > I've posted some answers in this comment :

It's up to the user to choose when he wants to update. Forcing him is *never* the good time. Poping up a window will *always* be annoying. When a normal user open his computer, it's because he needs it, maybe urgently. So any popup is an annoyance and immediately dismissed. 100% of the Ubuntu users I support (close friends, family, related) told me that they had a bug because the update window was poping up *every time* without reason (they didn't ask for an upgrade so it was considered as a bug and they are right)

Basic usability rules :

1) Never do something unexpected except if it's critical to preserve user data.

Other usability rules :

2) Never popup a window without being asked for it. It will always when you do not want it (typical example : a public presentation with your computer plugged on a beamer)

3) Never ask anything at start. Starting the computer is not a special event and, generally, when the user boot his computer, he want to do something. This something might be urgent (like checking train timetable or the hour of a meeting quickly in an elevator). Anything that slow him is a bug.

4) Listen to the user. If the user close without doing an upgrade, don't open it again a few minutes/hours/days later. I've often heard : "I did the upgrade! It still appears! There's no way to make this window disappearing once for all?" (there are some upgrade nearly every day in the weeks after a release)

5) Allow user to discard and recover later : if the user closes the windows, it's hard to find how to do the upgrade if he doesn't know the administration menu (most users don't and it should not be required). With the notification icon, the user is warned but can keep it for later. My mother used to say "there's the orange icon. I will wait the next time you come here to do that upgrade so you can solve it if there is any trouble". Since Jaunty, she had not do any upgrade at all, only complained about the popping window.

6) Never force the user to do anything. It's simply bad experience. People hate being forced to do stuff, even if they know they have to. Say "you have to drink water when doing sport" and people will listen. Give a glass of water, put in the mouth of someone and say "drink!" is simply not an accepted behaviour (even by thirsty people). (this analogy is seen by many researchers as one main reason why people dislike current technologies. They feel that they are not empowered but, au contraire, that they have to fight the technology. But I disgress…)

In fact, I tend to believe that only geeks that have their computer always on can consider the current behaviour as "not too annoying". I'm sorry, but none of the comments I've read answered my questions (I might have overlooked some, given the high number). I still cannot find any usability point that were improved with the current behaviour. Disabling the updater daemon is now part of my installation routine for newbies. (well, I'm still looking for someone that will find that useful so I do it only when they tell me they have a bug with a window appearing all the time).

I also cannot understand why so much work is put in the notification system (I really *love* it) if it's not used when you want to notify the user about something.