Since you bring it up, I was thinking just earlier today how frustrated I get when something suddenly stops working and I need to stop what I'm doing and look through the manual to find out what's wrong. The manual, btw, is always close at hand. I was wondering if it's' something I should discuss with the list or not. How can the interface be improved? What are its short comings? Does anyone else have this problem with it? Judging by Carey Bunks's FAQ section at the end of every chapter of "Grokking the GIMP", yes. It would be nice to see some discussion of the GIMP's design, or its roadmap, or to feel that one can be involved in this project other than just by submitting bug reports or hacking code.
Hey! If you think the FAQ section in (the excellent) "Grokking the Gimp" is a proof that the interface has to be improved, then you should install Gimp 2.0 or even 2.2. ;-)
Seriously, Carey Bunk's book was about gimp 1.2 (and it was even written based on the 1.1.x series, not the final 1.2). Gimp developers have worked a lot on the interface since that era. It is still not perfect (what is perfection?) but has probably solved quite a lot of the problems mentionned by the book (which was, I do not remember if I mentionned it ;) , excellent).
If you want to participate to the improvement of the interface not only "by submitting bug reports or hacking code", you can do some interface testing/surveying. Some people have presented such results in the past and they were usually welcomed and accounted by the developers:
Write a set of "typical" tasks to be performed (e.g. "removing red eyes from a photo", "cropping and rescaling an image", "opening, rotating right -or left- and saving to a new name and location") and find some volunteers to perform these tasks (classify them in several categories such as "experienced gimp user", "experienced PS user", "totally new to image manipulation", "granny / aunt Tilly"). Then observe them while performing the tasks (one volunteer at a time), take notes of their comments, frustrations, the places they expected to find the functionnality, the time they spent, everything.
Such a survey is always useful. Before launching it, present the protocol to us for comments of course.
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