Creating Usable Desktops

Linux development includes tech savvy people. Rarely does development include usability testing that includes the 80% bell curve user. Because of this imbalance, this chasm, mostly Linux is designed by the tech savvy for the tech savvy and tested only by the tech savvy.

The Year of the Linux Desktop never arrives.

A presumed reliance on, no, acceptance of the terminal is a prime example.

Tech savvy users love the terminal. The 80% bell curve user never will. Not going to happen.

Want to see the Year of the Linux Desktop? Simple. Developers need only stop using the terminal all day. No exceptions allowed.

This simple change exposes usability challenges and reveals why most people don’t and won’t use Linux based operating systems.

Tech savvy and enthusiast Linux users know or are sufficiently skilled to tweak desktops and systems to their preferences. Non technical users do not. Design defaults should cater to the non technical user. Instead, almost all distros are designed for the technical user.

The 80% bell curve user is a point-clicky person who seldom, perhaps rarely, changes the defaults.

A counter argument without foundation is that designing Linux in this manner is “dumbing down.” This argument is emotional and not factual. The “dumbing down” argument is arrogance. Elitist. The argument lacks compassion.

Establishing defaults for non technical users does not mean removing those features. The geeks never will be deterred by “dumbed-down” defaults because they can change anything and everything to suit their needs, wants, and whims. Non technical users cannot.

If cars had not been “dumbed-down” a manual crank might still be needed rather than a convenient key and electrical ignition.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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