On 10/12/06, [EMAIL PROTECTED] <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote offlist:
On Fri, 13 Oct 2006 00:08:29 +0200, Philip Ganchev
>  Actually, the pop-up and dissapearance is not modal.  The definition
> of "modality" that I know is "a difference in responce to the same
> user gesture depending on the system state, while the current state is
> not the user's locus of attention" (modified from The Humane
> Interface).  There is no difference in response with respect to popup.

Glad s.o. brought that up . There is far too much modality in gimp for my
taste. I'm never sure what state I , or rather gimp, is in and what is
going to happen if I click on the image.

I have the same experience, and I agree Gimp is too modal.  I have not
looked for any studies, but I think most Gimp users would have this
problem.  It can be avoided in various ways.

1.  Make the user more aware of the current state:
1.a.  print the state in the status bar
1.b.  improve the cursor icons that indicate state.
2.  Make it easier to change to a familiar state like the "Select
rectangular regions" state,
2.a.  for example, allow use of the Escape key, not just the 'r' key
2.b.  When the user first changes the state for this session, pop up a
tooltip saying how to get back to the initial state ("Select
rectangular regions")
3.   A way to return to the previous state.  Currently, "undo" only
ondoes the changes to the image, but not the state.

That there are already a lot of states makes a stronger case for
avoiding keyboard modality.  If a key press sometimes invokes a
command and sometimes narrows the search, these are two states and
probably two modes.  To avoid that, we can use quasi-modes for one of
the states.  A quasi-mode means that you have to keep pressing a key
to stay in the state.  Because it is ergnomically awkward to hold a
key while typing, it is better for the quasi-modes to be for the
shortcuts. For example, "Control+R" invokes the "Select rectangular
regions" and "r" on its own starts a search.  This is much easier than
holding Alt  while typing "select", and only slightly less convenient
than just pressing "r".  I think the ergonomic inconvenience is
justified by the cognitive convenience of not having to think about
what state you are in.  I think there have neem studies with about
this, and I expect that the vast majority of Gimp users would prefer

This would also make the query interface more discoverable because
simply typing brings it up.  This is much more useful to casual users
than if the single key invocation is discoverable.

Some Control-key combinations are already used for other commands, but
you can use Control+Shift+key for the less common commands and no key
combos for the least common.
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