Thursday, March 29, 2007

KDE4: Overlay-ed actions on icons

This is my first post on ... Hello Planet.

What follows is an attractive idea for KDE4 which kind of fits into aseigo's Plasma, which some seem to concider "vaporware".

Hidden in the right click, "context sensitive" menu are supposed to be the most used actions for a certain mime-type, making the life of the user easier by making him click less. Why then does the right click menu on most mime-types seem so overwhelming? There are cool and useful features hidden in those menu's that I never realised where there, didn't see them through the dense forest of features.

What would be good is that very common actions are even better to discover and use, not even requiring the user to click the right mouse button. The idea is to have the most common actions represented by small icons that get overlay-ed on the larger icon of the file or directory your mouse hovers over. It would allow us to open a foto in one of the available apps, say gwenview or krita, mail them to someone, change the resolution or apply as desktop background, all in one click on a certain place on the icon. It could look something like this idea I proposed earlier but for every item in a filebrowser, eroding the distinction between icons, widgets and other things you might find on the desktop.

Have you ever tried to explain a common action of a modern computer, like changing the desktop background image, to a novice user. Ever got the impression they didn't even find that simple feature because they never used the right mouse button? Guess children or novice computer users wouldn't mind the reduced complexity with this, being presented the option without needing to search. And I guess a lot of "advanced" computer wizz'es would mind a more organic feeling file-browsing experience, and for the critics there is always the option to turn it off.

Hope I can discuss and maybe even implement this at aKademy. So feedback is welcome, either in the comments or live, 2 months from now in Glasgow.