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Re: [ide-dev] Java IDEs comparison

On 8 Sep 2016, at 10:05, Mickael Istria wrote:

On 09/08/2016 03:38 PM, Greg Watson wrote:
The project release review documentation contains a section on usability and a reference to the User Interface Guidelines. Projects are expected to explain deviations from the guidelines and standards. How many projects actually complete this section for a review (I admit that I am guilty here), and how often is it raised as an issue as part of the review? Answers: few and none. The documentation requires me to certify that the API is Eclipse Quality, which does impart some sense of importance. Why don’t I also have to certify that the release conforms to the User Interface Guidelines as well?
This document covers only the Eclipse-specific UI Guidelines. Those UI Guidelines are somehow encouraged by the Platform frameworks, so those are not the ones that are the most frequent and annoying in Eclipse IDE. The annoying ones are typical basics of ergonomics: using wrong type of widget (link vs button, combo vs radio, buttons expressing choice when sometimes radio would be better...), weak wording and labeling that assumes users already knows much, validation happening late upon another user action when it could be instantaneous as user types, not making the most probable next action very accessible, require user to read a complex screen or text to take a simple decisions... There are multiple sites on the Web giving concrete tips to improve a UI, and improving UX happens by using such UI principles and putting ourself in their user's shoes as we're creating or changing a UI. So IMO, we also need to find out a good resource of basic UI that we'd also take as a complementary guideline.

Having project signing "the project team did it best to enforce UI Guidelines recommended by ... and ..." on release would make sense, at least to bring attention on those guidelines. Even if projects don't respect them, it wouldn't be a blocker, but at least we could easily ping them to highlight some possible UX bugs to fix in the future, with a reference to a common rule.

How about allowing only the projects that conform to UI guidelines to be part of the all-in-one distributions from Eclipse? I think the UX problems are more annoying when combined with the expectations raised by a single download. Perhaps we can reboot “UI Best Practices Working Group” and give it a magic stamp that would allow project into distributions.

Mickael Istria
Eclipse developer at JBoss, by Red Hat <>
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