On 08/07/2012 05:52 PM, Alexandre Prokoudine wrote:
The usability team spent quite a while writing all the reasoning down
at gui.gimp.org. I don't really understand why we need yet another
long thread to go through all these things yet again.

Alexandre Prokoudine


IMHO the answers to your (probably rhetorical) statement (which I take as more of a question) are fairly obvious...

Either the "writing" process was not complete and/or the needs and preferences of some users/workflows were either not considered, were considered and ignored as unimportant, or viewed as outside the target group of users.

As many husbands have taken decades to learn (or else they are no longer married), sometimes "writing all the reasoning down" won't make the wife feel better. Right now, the developers are responding to an emotional situation by saying something like "but we did what was logical, we even wrote it down first". In the recorded history of human relations, I doubt that response has worked on a regular, consistent basis.

Users become very attached to the software they use. They start to think of it as "theirs". They have made a very real investment in time, energy, learning, etc. to use the software. Users also develop a "brand attachment" that is deeper than most product makers comprehend (users of products will often stick by a product that even they themselves complain about as being inferior -- sort of a Stockholm Syndrome in a different kind of way).

Software must evolve over time. If the users need the features in the new software versions, then the users must evolve with it. (Otherwise, the users have to set up Vmware and run old software on old operating systems -- I am still running one such program that I obtained in 1984 because I still have not been able to find anything better for the very specialized task I use it for.)

When software evolves in a direction different from that user/workflow, the user experiences *very personal* feelings of *loss*.

The strong feelings expressed in all these "yet another long threads" are users expressing their feelings of _loss_.

And it is not just their _feelings_. Some of them will decide that they will have to migrate to other software which does include them it its "target user group". That migration comes at a very real cost of time, effort, learning, and perhaps money.

Every product, probably especially including software, must over time re-evaluate who its "target user group" is. In doing so, if changes are made, then some previous _loyal_ users will be excluded. Those users have done nothing "wrong" -- they just woke up one morning and found that they now live outside the walls of the city and there is nothing they can do about it.

If the developers have made a mistake, it was possibly overlooking these "feelings issues" and not expecting such a strong reaction. That is not to say that the developers did not have to do what they did. However, they should not have been surprised by the reaction.

*If* I recall correctly, for a short period of time before you (Alexandre) took on your current role of attempting to soften and humanize the communication, there was some rather harsh communication from the developer side that just poured salt in users' wounds. Your involvement has made things better, though it seems that you are (understandably) getting tired. <shout>THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING!</shout>

I just wish the developers would be open to conversation of how both types of workflows could be accommodated efficiently (both efficient for users and in the code). Closing off that possibility of conversation is perhaps what hurts most of all. I wish I had enough knowledge to contribute ideas of how to accomplish this while meeting the needs of all.

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