Right, right, or left?

Compared to Ubuntu’s usability advances, I sometimes wonder if the people working on KDE’s desktop and application suite shouldn’t implement some kind of mandatory usability testing process before any applications under their brand name are allowed to ship releases. I am writing this as I came across this screenshot advertising the availability of turn-by-turn navigation in KDE’s Marble application (which is similar to Google Earth):

Marble Turn-by-turn navigation

Marble Turn-by-turn navigation promotional screenshot

If you had just one instant to check which direction to turn to – a realistic assumption when driving a car – into which direction would you make your turn?

Slightly right, sharp right, or sharp left?

I cannot even imagine what the designer of this notification must have thought to justify that three arrows pointing in different directions were a good idea in this screen. For the next release, they should definitely use one single arrow only – pointing in the correct direction of course.

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5 thoughts on “Right, right, or left?

  1. Dear Markus,

    Unfortunately the KDE 4.6 announcement had been using a screenshot of an old development version of Marble for the N900. So the issue that you are making fun of didn’t ever get into a stable user release of Marble.
    If fact it had been corrected quickly after the placeholder icons visible in the screenshot above had contributed as part of the feature.

    Still Marble is a volunteer driven project and while we are doing quite well in terms of development we always applaud people who would like to help us. This however requires more than simplistic “Fremdsch√§m” or “Fingerpointing” abilities.

    So prove your skills and join us:

    http://edu.kde.org/marble/getinvolved.php

    (or at least file a bug report at bugs.kde.org next time)

    Thanks,
    Torsten

  2. > If fact it had been corrected quickly after the placeholder icons visible
    > in the screenshot above had contributed as part of the feature.

    That was supposed to read: “In fact it had been corrected quickly after the placeholder icons visible in the screenshot above had been contributed as part of this feature.”

  3. Hi Torsten,
    Thank you for your comments. It is unfortunate that the screenshot advertising a the release is not actually showing the software that is being released. However, my post was not meant as fingerpointing (I did after all propose using only one arrow) but more as putting the finger in the wound. Sometimes this is needed to attract attention to a neglected topic.
    Now that you’re here, please see my follow-up post which highlights several simple steps that could be taken to improve this navigation screen:

    http://advancingusability.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/turn-left-in-700m/

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