|Submitted: Nov 11 2002|
Updated: Apr 29 2003
Unfortunately, KDE's Konqueror is very bad at highlighting and pretty ugly while doing it too.
Nautilus highlights icons perfectly and the oval transparent background also looks quite good as well as the nice shadowed fonts and uniform highlighting of all the parts of an icon. It looks like it is casting a shadow over the files you have selected, which is a plus in usability. It's the same way on the desktop; the text under the icons looks great, nicely shadowed like in XP to make it easy to see on any wallpaper. (This is also very attractive for preview icons like images, shadows look great on them. Compare sceenshot previews in konqueror without shadows to their GNOME counterparts.) In KDE, for some busy wallpapers with a complementing mix of autumn colors I need to put a background color for the text to see it. This would not be so bad if it were handled like in GNOME, with a slightly translucent rectangle with rounded edges and a barely noticeable drop-shadow. However, in KDE it is a big, plain and ugly opaque rectangle.
In Konqueror it looks like your putting up fences to select your icons, very unattractive. Highlighting is often poor, the darkened images suddenly have unappealing bright white spots and the background color under the icons is an ugly, plain rectangle and the text is hard to see and plain. Same goes for the desktop, even worse; when an icon is clicked a small discontinued rectangular line surrounds the icon text. Ugly! If KDE had emblems maybe a small special one could be placed by the icon to indicate that it was just launched instead of having an ugly discontinued, rectangular line select the text.
The GNOME project is often lagging behind in features, but it sometimes executes the features it has a lot better. Please learn from Nautilus, it's very fast and full of nice features like emblems, which I would love to see in KDE.
Explorer handles the highlighting like GNOME in the file manager and like KDE on the desktop. I never noticed before, but Explorer is actually very smart, for example the side navigation and information panel disappears by itself if you make the window small enough and the side panel is dynamic and changes appropriately according to the contents of a folder or a type of item. In a folder full of pictures of a large size it also automatically adjusts and puts the text under the icons instead of right by them. However, when the icons are links to folders or items the text is right by them, therefore saving space if information about the item is to be placed and it looks better. These are only a few minor things, but they can greatly improve somebody's eXPerience. We should stop bashing Microsoft so much and start implementing what they do well in OSS.
Both Nautilus and Konqueror could learn a lot from Explorer and Explorer could learn a lot from Konqueror and Nautilus :)
Due to space constraints I can not post a picture of my GNOME or KDE desktop, however here is one that shows the shadowed text under the icons and KDE�s way.
http://kde-look.org/content/preview.php?file=1794-1.png (not a good example because the background is not very distracting and therefore it is still easy to read the text)
Please tell me what you think on this issue, if you agree vote good, if you disagree vote bad. =) If you don't feel strongly either way, either try to makeup your mind and vote or comment and do not vote. Personally, I think if these issues are a lot more important for usability than fancy translucent menus.
More suggestions would also be great,, K developers need to know what needs to be improved and this place is where most people go when they think something needs to be improved from an aesthetic and usability perspective.
I might seem a little harsh on KDE, but keep in mind I am only trying to help improve it. I also think many of the things I mentioned are probably not extremely ahrd to do. But, I am not experienced enough to state this for a fact.
(By the way, clicking download will show you how Microsoft Explorer handles the problems mentioned above.)
- improved description of my suggestions, updated especially because KDE 3.2 is intended to be a major usability improvement from what I have heard