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Usability Eye for The GIMP Guy

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the ease-of-abuse dept.

The Gimp 353

TuringTest writes "The GIMP has recently signed up for evaluation by OpenUsability.org. 'Many user interface decisions are being made by developers who often have little experience in user interface design. In order to improve this, we need the help of experts. To find them, GIMP has joined the OpenUsability project. Here's a platform where Open Source developers and usability experts get together.' They also report their first experiences with the paper prototyping of a new Import PDF dialog."

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353 comments

Is it me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415620)

Or is this story queer?

Great. (4, Interesting)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415635)

It's true that many times the developers that make the GUI decisions aren't fit to, because the average user doesn't have the same view of programs as a developer does. It's great that they're partnering with another site to promote usability (especially for the GIMP, which I find to be a bit overwhelming). I wish more programs did that.

I agree (2, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415885)

You're right. The interface for The GIMP is very different from any other application I've used. It's not really bad, it's just different and it takes a lot of getting used to.

I just started using The GIMP not too long ago. I don't want to spend the money to upgrade my old copy of Paint Shop Pro if there's software that's just as good for free. If it takes me a little longer to learn how to use it, that's fine. (Unlike most people, my time is worthless...) But if they could improve the interface, I can't imagine that people choosing a graphics software package wouldn't use the free one, especially for low- to intermediate-level graphics needs.

Who knows? If they improve it a great deal (and improve the text tool, my only complaint with the software right now), we could be seeing a huge GIMP / Photoshop rivalry on the horizon!

Re:Great. (1)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415904)

I agree.

I just wanted to add that I really think that openusability is a great project and really needed.

Rock on guys!

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415968)

I don't know. I can honestly say there isn't a single product of any kind I swear at more than XP/Office. The usability experts have crammed in so many automatic features based on, at least in my case, unwarranted assumptions that I waste more time trying to undo something Word did for example than I would have spent manually formatting. The dynamics of notification when running a hidden taskbar, the way the OS ignores user input when focusing on a network task, or lies about the existence of files in a share to make it appear they copied faster, the juggling of configuration menus with every OS release, 'personalized mnues' which change the order of shorcut locations unrequested and many other 'features' make time spend using XP a major frustration.

Re:Great. (1)

llefler (184847) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416027)

The problem many developers have is they write interfaces based on what the program does, while the user is concerned with what they want to accomplish.

For example, using Konqueror for file management on my Linux box. A friend occasionally sends me files, so I gave him an FTP account on my server. I'm logged in, I want to move the files from his user directory to mine. Security wise, I know that my user account shouldn't have access to his user account. But I'm admin so I have access to root.

Looking at it from a developers perspective, I should start Konq in super user mode, move the files, and set the owner/group.

From a user's perspective, I should be able to click 'super user' in an existing instance of Konq, type the password, move the files and expect the user/group to be set automatically. I don't need to think about the details.

Question (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415638)

When the report comes back saying that it should have a proper window instead of floating toolbars, will they say "they weren't using it right, they are just used to Photoshop!" like they usually do?

Seriously, people have been complaining about the interface since day one, and the GIMP developers don't pay any attention. That's their prerogative of course, but if they aren't willing to listen, why are they signed up for this?

Re:Question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415667)

They shouldn't have to listen. If you can't use the GIMP, then you're too stupid to even exist let alone use a com(&*^*@&$^

*No Carrier*

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415778)

Mods must be on crack, It was meant as a joke. here is what the parent post in its full.

They shouldn't have to listen. If you can't use the GIMP, then you're too stupid to even exist let alone use a computer.

Oh

wait a second

THAT INCLUDES ME!

*me drinks Rubbing Alcohol*
&*$^@&*(#$^*(@&#$^ No Carrier. ;)

I saw that show! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415663)

They totally redecorated a wheel chair ramp in like 3 hours.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (5, Insightful)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415669)

I have used GIMP many times and tried to do useful things with it. Overall the feature set is acceptable. But I will never be able to use it for actual work until they fix the big one.

PROVIDE AN OPTION FOR AN MDI GUI ALL IN ONE WINDOW.

With dockable tool palettes.

Every time I bring this up to anyone who knows gimp, they tell me to run it in its own virtual desktop. I don't use virtual desktops, and I don't want an app to have a ton of toolbars floating around anyway.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (4, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415689)

I don't mind that so much, as long as it's an OPTION.

The thing about MDI schemes is that they make it impossible to efficiently use multi-monitor setups. Even if the tool palettes can be undocked, it makes it so you can't have different "document" windows on different heads.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

exKingZog (847868) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415793)

Like Dreamweaver MX, you mean? That implements an option for MDI or separate windows.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (2, Informative)

Kegetys (659066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415796)

In the newest version of Photoshop (CS2) you can move even the "document" windows outside the main window, including to other monitors.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (2, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415869)

I'm not sure I see the point of having an MDI window if it doesn't contain the document windows. Is it just to keep the task bar tidy on MS Windows? Any decent *NIX window manager can already use window groups for that, and even Win XP can do some form of grouping.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415943)

It will also raise all the windows when you choose one, probably. I have the Gimp installed under Windows, and even though I'm happy with most of the Gimp (even most of the UI!) I almost never use it when I'm in Windows. The reason is that I find it very annoying that if I have another application open, switch to that, and switch back to the Gimp (not minimizing anything, just changing z-orders) I have to go through and manually raise the window with all the tools, the document(s) I'm working on, and the two tool option windows I use. IMO, raising one of them should raise them ALL, and I have yet to find a way to do that. If you know of one (Windows OR Linux), please tell me.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416038)

Hmm, that's a good point but I'm not sure there's an easy solution. I could easily see the other side of that as well, someone with 2-3 monitors and gimp windows spread out across them opens a web browser on one monitor to read about some new technique, covering another image window that's not being used at the moment. Giving focus back to an image window (even if it's already visible) causes everything to jump to the foreground, covering the web browser. Oops.

The best way to go is probably still an option that lets the user select "MDI" or "non-MDI" interface, depending on how he/she wants to work. This is complicated by the fact that X11 doesn't really have any equivalent to Windows-style MDI, but I think it can be simulated.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415893)

Photoshop Essentials 3 doesn't have a main window either. All tools and windows default to one screen, but they can be moved to any screen.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415837)

Any radically different new GUI would be appreciated as an option and only as that. While the GIMP's interface is nt perfect, I like it much better than the approach Photoshop takes (cramming everything down your throat so you either buy a book on how to use the program or spend half an hour trying to find out how to draw a straight line).
The GIMP is intimidating, but I find that once the initial "omg, so many windows!" shock has worn off it's easier to use than certain commercial offerings.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415973)

My big complaint about The GIMP starts with the huge number of overlapping windows it opens by default. Let's say you're just learning it and use it to view a .jpg. You get all those unneeded windows. Not being afraid to close a window, you close the extras. Next time you use it, you're planning to do some editing, and those windows are still gone. Not only that, it's hard at first to find out how to reopen them. There should be a place to specify which windows open every time, and which don't, and the menus or help system should make it clearer how to get more windows open when you need them. The GIMP suffers from the usual problem of a program tested only by its designers: an interface that makes sense only to the designers, without a long, hard learning curve.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (-1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415722)

PROVIDE AN OPTION FOR AN MDI GUI ALL IN ONE WINDOW.

erm... you have access to the source code... if you don't like what it does, then make your own fork... until then, quit yer whingeing.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415766)

erm... you have access to the source code... if you don't like what it does, then make your own fork... until then, quit yer whingeing.

Well, erm... you have access to the code [slashcode.com]... if you don't like the "whingeing" here, then make your own site...

Oh wait, that isn't very helpful, is it? Can't quite understand how the parent was modded Insightful, when he's just repeating the same tired line that's been heard so many times before.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (4, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415782)

I'm sick of this tired old "fix it yourself" argument.

Obviously, you're not a professional software developer otherwise you would see the utter stupidity of making such a statement.

To be able to make even minor modifications to a major software project could possibly takes MONTHS of prep work. Its not like opening up a book and fixing a spelling mistake, you need to understand the ins and outs of the module you're working on and the modules that depend on it. And thats assuming that the code is well documented and there is other supporting documentation

What he is talking about is most likely a major undertaking, not something some guy off the street can fix over the weekend off the latest CVS trunk.

In short, please stop repeating that tired old argument, its not feasible for 99% of the user community for any particular application and it makes you sound like an arrogant prick.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (-1, Flamebait)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415833)

I've got bad news for you...

1) I'm a professional software developer... (software systems analyst by profession)

2) I'm an arrogant prick... (it helps in getting MY way in a project)

and

3) some people HAVE got off their butts and forked their own version of the GIMP... [gimpshop.net]

Now get the fsck off my back

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (4, Interesting)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415875)

Like, I said, its not feasible for 99% of the user community, just because someone is doing it doesn't mean everyone can. From http://plasticbugs.com/index.php?p=241 [plasticbugs.com]:

I have been hacking the Gimp for weeks and it's finally ready.

...

What made this project especially difficult is that there isn't one file that holds all of Gimp's tool names and menu structure. I've modified hundreds of files and combed thousands of lines of code to make this version of Gimp a reality. This work pales in comparison to real coding, but for a hack like me, it required a lot of learning and work.


And thats just for moving the menu widgets around.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415859)

If you don't like how even minor modifications can take months to implement from the latest CVS trunk, fix it yourself, you insensitive clod!

(In Soviet Russia, that one saw *you* coming.)

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415794)

S/he wasn't whinging. Darkwhite was merely stating what it would take for him or her to use the Gimp; entirely acceptable in a discussion-oriented website in a story about the Gimp's interface.

Since the Gimp developers have asked for evaluation by OpenUsability, that would seem to me to be a solicitation for comments by the app's users about its interface.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415810)

The GIMP foundation is specifically asking for opinions on the user interface, this person gives their opinion and you tell them to go hack the source code themselves... Yes, truly brilliant, because we all know that anyone on slashdot knows every programming language and has all the time in the world to make any software they use do whatever they want.

There are many times to be annoyed when people bitch about free software. This is not one of them.

Usability (2, Insightful)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415726)

The usability of the Gimp is actually a lot better if you are using more than one monitor (which a lot of graphics artists do anyway). It's only in the far more common scenario of using a single monitor that the Gimp becomes hideously ackward.

Re:Usability (2, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415898)

I've been using The GIMP for about seven years now (it's the reason I originally became interested in Linux). It's quite possibly my favourite program ever, and until recently I would have agreed that the lack of a Windows-style MDI was most definitely a good thing.

It's brilliant with virtual desktops. It's great with multiple monitors. The interface works really well with KDE's window manager; it works really well with X11.app on my iBook.

Of course, I then recently installed in on Windows, having until then never used it on that platform. Setup was gloriously smooth - but actually using The GIMP alongside other programs proved distinctly awkward, thanks to the horrible window management in, erm, Windows.

I'm really not sure what a correct, elegant solution would be. I loathe the usual Windows container-window MDI, and I do realise that GTK has very little, if any support for writing applications in such a manner, but I do wonder how the situation could be improved for Windows users. A default setup with all the tools and palettes in one tall window on the left of the screen, and some code to grab the 'Maximise' button on image windows so that they expand to fit the space not occupied by the tools window?

Likewise, the 'Minimise' button on the tools window could minimise all windows belonging to The GIMP - perhaps a bit of a hack, but it could help. The GIMP's definitely not a Windows program, and many aspects of the interface's design make perfect sense when you realise it's the same interface for all platforms, but Windows is (unfortunately) an important platform, so some concessions may have to be made...

Re:Usability (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415955)

Unfortunately, on windows at least, I'm still stuck with 8 or 9 separate taskbar buttons when there really should only be one per document. Why the hell would anyone be working in another program and then decide they want to switch to the history palate? If I'm going back to the gimp, I want the whole damn thing to come back up, not just one toolbar. At this point, after going to another program, I have to either alt-tab through all the palates (which doesn't always work) or select them all in the taskbar and then go back to the document. That's a freaking ridiculous waste of time.

Along the same lines... why does the tools palate have to have a menu at the top of it? That should be located in a central place as well, like the document's menu bar.

Those annoyances alone are enough to keep me away from the GIMP right now.

Re:Usability (1)

vrt3 (62368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416024)

Unfortunately, on windows at least, I'm still stuck with 8 or 9 separate taskbar buttons when there really should only be one per document. Why the hell would anyone be working in another program and then decide they want to switch to the history palate? If I'm going back to the gimp, I want the whole damn thing to come back up, not just one toolbar. At this point, after going to another program, I have to either alt-tab through all the palates (which doesn't always work) or select them all in the taskbar and then go back to the document. That's a freaking ridiculous waste of time.

I couldn't agree more.
Along the same lines... why does the tools palate have to have a menu at the top of it? That should be located in a central place as well, like the document's menu bar.

That tool palette is Gimp's main window. The menu there is for stuff that is not specific to one document: open a new document, preferences, ...

Functionality specific to a document can be reached via the traditional right mouse click, or recently optionally via a menu in the image window. Suits me fine, really.

Re:Usability (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415987)

IMHO Gimp becomes hideously ackward... when ever you try to do anything with it, something as simple as drawing straight lines is a major headache and don't even think about making them pixel perfect. I've also found it to be a nightmare to use a graphics tablet with.

Re:Usability (1)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415989)

In a focus-follows-mouse setup (Default on WMs like Blackbox) GIMP works pretty well on a single monitor.

Maybe is just because I started with GIMP and have always used it, but I find the Photoshop interface more awkward, sometimes I just want the toolbar to get out of my way! I haven't tried the new CS so I can't really comment on it.

For that reason I hope if they do make interface changes that they leave the old one in as an option.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415738)

Well, for now you can use the de-weirdifier plugin if you run Windows; it does what you want. If you don't run Windows, you can either learn a couple of keyboard shortcuts that make working with Gimp windows easier, or you can run Krita.
 
For what it's worth, you sound completely lazy to me, and I speak as someone who has used the Gimp extensively in a professional 3D graphics workflow. Remember what you are if you blame your tools?

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415938)

I don't use GIMP on Windows, because on Windows I have Paint Shop Pro, which for what it's worth I believe to be the most underappreciated graphics editing app ever and one of only two apps which I feel justified in paying money for.

I'm not a professional graphics editor, I just use editors casually for vector, raster, web, and (most of the time) photo editing work. I know a bit about various editing and filter features, workflow organizations in different editors, and so on. I know PSP is absolutely amazing in terms of saving my time - last weekend I spent maybe five hours to go from my camera's output to 200 best picks, all retouched to the best of my liking [horizon.ath.cx]. I know it would take me days to do that in GIMP, considering how disjointed its interface is when it's not the only thing on the desktop and how it doesn't have many of the adaptive filters I was using in PSP. Frankly, I'm sure the same thing would happen for original graphics workflow, since GIMP doesn't have any of the integrated vector features of PSP. But then GIMP obviously has the advantages of being open and running under Linux.

I tried Krita, and found it to be very feature-incomplete. It has far less features than GIMP, and I've already mentioned how many features I think GIMP has. I'm sure that if I spent more time in GIMP I would be able to use it more efficiently, but I think the lack of an MDI is a fundamental shortcoming and I won't invest my time in learning more until I see it fixed or hack up a fix myself (the first month of the first semester of grad school is not the best time to do that, you know...)

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416034)

Well, for now you can use the de-weirdifier plugin if you run Windows;

Why shoud I need to? If the program's interface is so bad that you need a special plugin to make it usable, there's something badly wrong, and putting a bandaid like this over it is just ignoring the issue.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415790)

I will never understand this complaint. i can't imagine anything more annoying than having to constantly minimize and restore, minimize and restore, alt+tab alt+tab alt+tab back and forth to the GIMP every time i want to look at something else.

it's much easier just to point my mouse at the window i want to use, and start working.

by the way... last time i checked, the tool palettes were dockable. and they still are, unless they've removed that since 2.2...

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (2, Informative)

Gyga (873992) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415791)

I once saw something called gimpshop that wrapped everything in a window. That might work for you.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415832)

xnest -- :1
export DISPLAY=:0
metacity &
gimp

There you go.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

Chainsaw (2302) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415857)

I'm sorry to ask, but what the hell does those commands do? Oh, and the only lines that worked for me on my Mac OS X install was #2 and #4, and it still looked like crap. I guess that only the very last line works for Windows users.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415919)

$ whatis Xnest
Xnest (1x) - a nested X server
$ help export
export: export [-nf] [name[=value] ...] or export -p
        NAMEs are marked for automatic export to the environment of
        subsequently executed commands. If the -f option is given,
        the NAMEs refer to functions. If no NAMEs are given, or if `-p'
        is given, a list of all names that are exported in this shell is
        printed. An argument of `-n' says to remove the export property
        from subsequent NAMEs. An argument of `--' disables further option
        processing.
$ whatis metacity
metacity (1) - minimal GTK2 Window Manager
$ whatis gimp
gimp (1) - an image manipulation and paint program.

Xnest is from XFree86/Xorg. It creates a new X display as a client of another X display.

The DISPLAY environment variable tells an X client which display to connect to. Here, :1 indicates the nested X display created in the previous command.

metacity is the default window manager for the Gnome desktop. I chose it because I assume it is what most Gimp users use.

I expect it didn't work on your Mac OS X machine because you don't have XFree86/Xorg. Being on a Mac OS machine, you don't really need MDI since the Mac's window management scheme makes it easy to raise all the windows of an application at once, and to hide all the windows from another application. IIRC it's under "$Application -> Hide others".

HTH HAND

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416043)

You shouldn't have to rely on the "hide others" functionality, though. In a program with complex windowing like the GIMP, it really should do a lot of the management on it's own. I really dislike "hiding" windows in OS X, because it's easy to forget what you had open with no icon in the dock.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416014)

Thanks, I know about that fix. My problem is, it's a bit too ugly for my taste. The GIMP devs say that window management of the app's windows is not their problem but the WM's problem... and I say bullshit.

I wouldn't even mind having one window per each open image (MS Office style) as long as the toolbars are all dockable to each window, or at least are all raised with each window.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415839)

My big gripe about GIMP right now is that after you run "Script-fu" it doesn't put things back how they were... some of the scripts might add layers, some might leave a selection (different than the original selection) behind, etc. It's annoying as hell. "Script-fu" items should run the same as plug-ins in Photoshop... it does its work, it leaves the work area *the exact same* as it found it, and you can undo the whole she-bang with a single selection of Edit->Undo.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

ilselu1 (877032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415871)

'I don't use virtual desktops, and I don't want an app to have a ton of toolbars floating around anyway.' I couldn't agree more. The need I have for stability is far above the want I have for accesability.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415874)

"PROVIDE AN OPTION FOR AN MDI GUI ALL IN ONE WINDOW."

Reasoning by all-caps? Which other major applications do this? Any of the components of Microsoft Office? No. Either of the major bowsers? No. Any desktop window manager? No again. At the moment Photoshop and Linear Technology Spice are the only two I can recall, and the latter's free so I have no right to complain (hint hint.) Incidentally, any version of the Gimp I've used for the past couple of years had dockable tool options. Do you mean more docks, or as I suspect do you just have no idea what you're talking about and just like having company on the Photoshop group-think short bus?

It's time the self-appointed Photoshop 'elite' faced they remain mired in a desktop model the world discarded in the transition to Windows 95. Quit demanding everyone adhere to your buggy-whip prefereneces and learn the new, or in this case far from new, ways.

Re:Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (1)

aAnaRchY (847600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416028)

I don't get it why you don't want to use virtual desktops. Just press the button on your Linux box and use it. If you don't want to do it then is more difficult for you to use that program.

i like how the gimp works. (5, Insightful)

yakhan451 (841816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415670)

I used to think the usability of the GIMP was bad, turns out it's just different from what i was used to. The more i used it exclusively, the more i figured out how nice it was.

Nowadays, if i go back to a windows system with photoshop or paintshop pro, it feels really cluttered and i get 'clausterphobic'.

Of course, i'm speaking as a casual user who does pretty basic operations. Maybe it's different if you work with it professionally?

Re:i like how the gimp works. (0, Troll)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415697)

I think the usability is poor. For one, having to click to expose just the root menu is excessive. The root menu should always be visible, IMO. Hiding everything as much as possible goes too far, and requires more work to do the same task.

Deweirdifyer (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415773)

having to click to expose just the root menu is excessive. The root menu should always be visible, IMO.

By "root menu" do you mean the menu bar at the top of the tool window, or the context menu in the document window? If the latter, then GIMP 2.0 and later have added that menu to the top of the document window. If the former, then try the Deweirdifyer extension [gimp.org] on Windows or virtual desktops on *n?x.

Re:i like how the gimp works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415934)

on the other hand, using the menu on the image is annoying. It's so much better to just right click to get to the menu. That is one feature I've actually come to like... and teh fact that one can detach the menu of interest even in teh Windows port is a great plus.

Re:i like how the gimp works. (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415719)

I used to think the usability of the GIMP was bad, turns out its just bad compared to what the rest of the world is used to.

Re:i like how the gimp works. (1)

mothlos (832302) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415776)

The trick is creating a clear and nagivable path for people new to the system to learn it. I work with professional graphic designers who are married not only to specific programs but older versions of those programs because learning the new interface would just cause too much headache and hurt their livlihoods.

If GIMP and other mass user Linux products (read, X) want to get users to convert they need to make the transition much easier than it is now otherwise the less savvy professionals in less technical areas will keep using what they are comfortable with.

Re:i like how the gimp works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415884)

Hard to draw a pro/non-pro line. I use it for making web graphics mostly. Since it's the only real contender for a Linux graphics program I have no other choice. I put in the time to RTFM and it does everything I need. What I have discovered lately is how to take it apart and use ImageMagick and GIMP plugins dynamicaly from inside Perl, so I can actually make graphics 'templates' which are dynamically rendered on the server. I don't think photoshop has any such extendable interface.
Also in GIMPs favour are the numerous input output paths to import and export all manner of data.

I know someone who is a REAL graphic artist. She has used GIMP a few times and is getting to love it but the support in Linux for peripherals is poor. She has a Wacom tablet that 'just works' on Windows XP but still hasn't managed to work on Linux despite much RTFM and fiddling about.They should fix that if they want pro users. [Yes I know it's 'fixed' but a 4 page list of command line instructions is not 'just works']

Oh, wonderful (1, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415673)

Now the "usability" people will ruin GIMP the same way they ruined GNOME.

Re:Oh, wonderful (2, Interesting)

MighMoS (701808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415715)

How did they ruin GNOME? I actually like having less stuff in my way. Of course, when I fused GNOME with FVWM, I guess that put me in a very small minority, come on. Do you want to actually wade through useless options to find what you really need? Most of them AFAIK are still available through gconf as well. They just took the UI element away for the n00bsters in the crowd, which I actually like.

Re:Oh, wonderful (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415770)

Do you want to actually wade through useless options to find what you really need? Most of them AFAIK are still available through gconf as well.

Yeah, I'd rather launch separate program and wade through a myriad of Registry-like settings find what I really need. Nothing beats action-at-a-distance for useability.

Re:Oh, wonderful (2, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415926)

If I want to edit config files by hand, I'll use command line tools. I use mutt as my primary mail client and I don't complain about having to set a lot of options in .muttrc to get things the way I want them.

The whole point of a GUI is to have a graphical interface. If I want to slip into 'point-n-drool' mode for a while, why should I have to wade through some arcane XML or registry syntax just to set some simple option that the developers don't think a "normal" user would need. How would they know? Maybe normal users don't use that particular option for no other reason than it's been hidden away.

KDE is moving in the right direction. Keep the commonly used options in plain view, and have the not as commonly used ones be in the same place, but under the "Advanced" section. Configuration shouldn't be divided between two different tools.

Re:Oh, wonderful (1)

Chainsaw (2302) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415725)

The dumbing down of GNOME has absolutely nothing to do with OpenUsability. I'm not really sure who to blame for turning a pretty good desktop into a software where all the settings you would really want to change are available only via a Regedit clone.

At least we have KDE, which is improving at an impressive rate, while we wait for the GNOME guys to realize their mistakes.

Re:Oh, wonderful (1)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415853)

The dumbing down of GNOME has absolutely nothing to do with OpenUsability.

I'm not saying that the OpenUsability group had anything to do with it. But the stripping of all of GNOME's useful configuration utilities was done in the name of "usability", and I do remember several big GNOME usability studies that reached the same conclusion. I just don't remember who did them.

Re:Oh, wonderful (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415882)

Hey, guess what... I like the new Gnome. I like their file browser better than any other available right now... they're the last game left in town with spatial browsing. If you don't like it, use something else. There are craploads of OSes with browser-based file browsing, and only one with spatial.

Re:Oh, wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415912)

Who cares about spatial browsing when everybody could use krusader or gnome-commander ?

Re:Oh, wonderful (5, Interesting)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416017)

You, sir, do not understand usability. Usability is *not* having 10,000 options for the user to customize and play with. Usability, in the strictest sense, is having an interface such that a user can pick it up *without* having to dig through options.

Here's something else you're missing - the type of people Gnome is targeting *DO NOT CARE* about 95%+ of the settings that would require opening GConf to change. For these users, it's far better to have a tool layout such that finding basic options does not require digging through 4 layers of option dialogues.

I'm not saying Gnome is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, simply that the majority of people on Slashdot who complain about Gnome being 'ruined' just plain do not understand how difficult seemingly simple tasks are for the average user. I mean, really, I've been using Linux since around '99, and run KDE from time to time just to see how they're progressing, and it almost always ends up with me digging through the control panel searching for things that should be rather simple to change because KDE exposes too many options for the average user.

Sure, if you're a geek and enjoy playing with all your settings, more power to you. But for people who simply want to use their computer, the KDE Control Panel is a confusing mess. So I'd really take issue with the idea that KDE is improving at an "impressive rate." If they spent more time cleaning up the Control Panel and building in HAL tools instead of adding huge oversized tooltips and calling it a usability improvement, I might be able to agree.

The changes that have been made to Gnome (for the most part) were not mistakes. It was a deliberate decision to move toward an interface that's more usable to a computer neophyte. Argue that the KDE interface is 'familiar' all you want, but the idea behind usability is that you don't *need* to be familiar with it to figure out how to do what you want.

Re:Oh, wonderful (4, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415890)

Now the "usability" people will ruin GIMP the same way they ruined GNOME.

Somehow I doubt that's possible - unless they add "Spacial layers" so that you have to edit each one in a separate window ;-).

I use Linux on my desktop at work, and have Gimp installed, and I've found it the least usable program I've ever seen. Admittedly it's rare that I need to work with images at work (I use Fireworks and PS at home) but even operations such as resizing and adding a background to an image are ridiculously long-winded. For instance, I had to Google to find out why the option to change the stacking order of layers is greyed out by default - there's no sane reason for it...

Every time I've attempted to use it I've found it so frustrating; it feels as though you're fighting the program rather than using it; that I've ended up giving up in disgust and found a spare Windows machine to do the job. I'm sure it have some great features, but it's viciously protective of them and doesn't want anyone to use them!

Re:Oh, wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415961)

You admitted to using PS so the mods are likely to poop on you. I only use GIMP, whether on Windows or Linux, it's the only image editing program I've ever used that's worthy of that name (or does anybody count paint?). Yet I find the interface horrible, I suspect the BOFH had a hand in it, it's the worst thing I've ever seen, and I once played a japanese hentai game in an emulator without configuring the keys, and I don't know japanese (and I didn't know what hentai was at the time, found out quickly heh). Yeap, the GIMP interface sucks badly.

Re:Oh, wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416040)

Well, it already is kinda "spacial gimp" so they can't screw that up at least...

Gimp devs are doing a fantastic job (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415678)

For the number of complaints they get from people who just assume Gimp sucks from the start, these guys are doing great. I have been reading Sven's remarks on his blog and the Gimp user forums, and it's obvious that he puts up with a lot of idiotic complaints. At the same time, he is doing things like this to actually make solid usability improvements. Be sure to check out SIOX (siox.org) for another really cool feature that's coming up.

Will they be able to take... (4, Interesting)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415684)

Will they be able to take criticism on interface decisions they have taken years ago and argued for many times since then? Many open source projects have these really stupid things hanging over them because developers can't admit they have been wrong all this time. Take this one in Firefox [mozilla.org] as a prime example.

Phew. (1)

IainMH (176964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415688)

Thank $Deity for that.

As good as the gimp is, it can be nightmare finding tools when you start using it.

Oops. (2, Funny)

seramar (655396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415690)

At first I thought this referred to the way that icon looks at me every couple of seconds. It still freaks me out.

Definitely a good thing (1)

real_bassman (900896) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415691)

Not only does this make the GIMP more accessible, it can be used as a "selling point" against the likes of Adobe Photoshop, and if more high profile Open Source stuff does the same, it's yet another benefit of Linux over Windows!

bravo! (0, Offtopic)

ecalkin (468811) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415698)

this is the kind of action that not only opens the door to 'regular users', but it should help people understand how microsoft had sooo much popularity with certain softare (i.e. office).
    microsoft had some design standards and then they got a lot of feedback on usability. outlook may be full of security holes, but a lot of people find it amazingly intuitive to use.

eric

Re:bravo! (2, Insightful)

Gadren (891416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415739)

I hate to post a "yeah, that," but as one who is increasingly becoming disenchanted with Microsoft products and wishes to move into the open-source field more, I have found interface to be a big issue for OSS, something which is one of the main contributors, I believe, to the sharp learning curve for OSS. Of course, much of that learning curve is inevitable, but a good UI will make people feel much more comfortable, and, when they get open source software, they'll stick with it.

Custom Palettes (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415729)

I use only a small subset of GIP operations, like most people, though each of us has a different subset. I have to hunt through lots of sub/menus and button palettes to find the operations I use, especially when I go for months without using it. I'd love to have a custom palette that I can populate with my own menu items/buttons, and maybe even a library of values/settings, all in just one palette that I can set to open when the app opens. Stored in a config that I can easily email or otherwise transfer to another workstation with a different GIMP install (or upgrade).

Maybe the GIMP already does this, but I can't find any sign of it - that's kind of my problem with its UI, anyway. And if the GIMP can do this, I'd of course love to have the function in all my GNOME apps.

While I'm wishing, I'd love to have a GNOME-level app itself with cross-app palettes of all the buttons / menu items / config values I use in all my apps. I'd love to open a data file, "for editing", have GNOME detect its MIME type, and open the palette I use for that MIME type, with my custom GUI palette for all the apps that I'll use to edit that data. Why should I have to flip between all these featureful apps on my screen, each with their modes and GUI paradigms, just to use the small combo of features I actually need?

Gimp is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415744)

You know, I have used Photoshop, Corel Photopaint, and Paint Shop Pro. I hated Photoshop's deeply hidden functions and general bloat. I hated Photopaint's lack of options when it came to layers. PSP is pretty good, and I would have considered buying it if I hadn't found Gimp. Gimp does everything that I want it to, and it doesn't have a confusing interface.

paper? (1)

coshx (687751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415745)

Maybe they had good reason to use paper (so they wouldn't be biased), but I'm wondering why they didn't use Gimp or Photoshop to create the prototype? To me, it's easier to cut and paste, and move things around with a graphical editor than with tape and scissors.

reminder : GimpShop already exists! (5, Interesting)

tuxliner (589414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415750)

1 - You want a GUI which looks like Photoshop? Get Gimpshop [gimpshop.net] and stop whining! 2- Now, what about comparing GimpShop to Photoshop?

please don't change a thing (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415752)

Well done to the GIMP developers getting this far. I really don't understand when people say that it's not got a good interface. I really like it the way that it is.

I don't think GIMP has any problems, other that other desktop clutter that might get in the way, and perhaps the icon toolbox is a little too big, but that's only because of my system settings.

I hope the test is not conducted on KDE because that will probably make the tester suggest that GIMP looks more like the rest of the desktop.

Getting used to it (4, Interesting)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415786)

I'm getting used to it. But there are some flaws, like that you don't get a standard file selector from "Open" that lets you enter a file name: you have to use "Open Location" instead (it should be one function), and the oddity of having two "Rotates", one crippled and one not. The more useful one is buried deeper.

Don't just to something, stand there! (5, Insightful)

hasst (852296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415803)

By excellency, in OSS, the Inmates are running the Asylum [amazon.com]. Usability is by far the biggest problem OSS software has right now. Not security, since security does not matter that much. Yeah, it does not matter. Microsoft gets away with the biggest security stunts in history of modem society, but this only because their products are a lot more USABLE by the end user. And the user will obey and put up with the mistreating, just to be able to use the darn COMPUTER.

Gimp is the epitome of wrong UI in OSS, I can barely use it without online howtos, and I'm experienced. Now, imagine Av. Joe ... Learn how to develop USABLE stuff, not USEFUL stuff, since there are hundreds of applications for almost every darn task out there.

Re:Don't just to something, stand there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415914)

I don't agree that usability is the biggest problem OSS has. It completely depends on the software package. OSS exists for various reasons, and one of those reasons may well be (and often is) that the proprietary alternative is not very usable.

Re:Don't just to something, stand there! (2, Interesting)

hasst (852296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415956)

Please provide me with some serious examples that back up your considerations, since I have a strong belief that the reason for _not_ using OSS has mostly to do with the UI/design issues so common in these type of products. I don't like, since I'm also working on various OSS products, but this is what I got out people after some big faliures in deployments of OSS software (Linux desktops, or just OSS apps. under Win).

Re:Don't just to something, stand there! (1)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415952)

I'm not sure I agree with that. Once they conceded and put a menu bar in image windows in 2.x, it's not so bad anymore. Most operations I don't find any more difficult than using Photoshop or the like. Don't forget that advanced image editing is an inherently complex task. No interface can make it easy eithout sacrificing flexibility.

The only thing I can think of that is a bad interface is the gradient editor. It's awful. Look at Corel PhotoPaint for an example of what a good gradient editor is like.

First non-cowchip post. (4, Insightful)

Rahga (13479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415811)

A link to Sven Neumann's blog has more on this [geekheim.de].

In fact, it's probably a lot better than any of the other comments, the dead openusability website, or whatever that site may or may not have posted about this. Simply put, it looks like the gimp is merely a project that has been registered by one of the developers to see what or if any good can from from those guys. That's all. No massive throw-in from the collective force of Gimp users and developers.

I've got a ton or respect for the dude (I've fixed far fewer bugs in GNOME bugzilla :) ), but honestly, I've not yet seen OpenUsability do anything worth bragging about. At all. Just a couple of flimsy "ooooh boy this is great KDE is JOINING FORCES with OpenUsability, which is GRATE because everyone KNOWS programmers don't no jack about usability." stories.

Feel free to call me the stop-motion energy guy... I'm just skeptical.

Re:First non-cowchip post. (1)

osi79 (805499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415946)

The folks at OpenUsability supporting OS projects all the time, made several usability reports and gave also useful hints for my project. These reports are not visible on the main site, but you can find them if you browse the project list. The most visible work of the openusability folks will be the KDE4 HIG and usability work there. The openusability people also support developers on KDE usability MLs, IRC, or just face to face on conferences and such. They do a great job, if you don't see much of it at the openusability main site.

yay (0)

kiwibird (148721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415841)

I hope Blender signs up too (unless they have already, the site's a bit too /.ed to find out right now)

Its SOOO BAD (1)

AgNO3 (878843) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415865)

The Gimp UI is so bad the the Cinepaint http://www.cinepaint.org/>(based on gimp) people are writing a whole new ui. Live Picture had a great UI. Combustion Shake Digital Fusion have good UI's. Gimp and photoshop have bad UI's Gimps UI is just freaking crappy. I had to use CinePaint once and I tried and tried. Uh is there is keyboard shortcut to increase brush sizes? Then on top of that It was so slow. Doing a little websize image its fine. Give it a 2k cineion file add a few layers and it just goes dead. I tried everything. Made the tile cache 512MB (tried smaller and bigger and lots of different settings)

Seashore for OS X Users (4, Interesting)

BioCS.Nerd (847372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415878)

For those of you using OS X that have an interest in GIMP, I ran across Seashore [sourceforge.net] the other day while reading Drunkenblog [drunkenblog.com]. It's a major improvement over GIMP for OS X. Definitely something to keep your eye on.

-1 Flamebait (4, Funny)

dmaxwell (43234) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415895)

Make it work exactly wacktly like Photoshop or I'll...or I'll...or I'll whinge. Yeah! That's it! I'll whinge and then I'll whinge some more until..until...you've had enough! And then I'll post some flames!

Easy solution... (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415902)

Make a MDI clone, but make it act so that windows inside it move with it, but windows outside it do not. Kinda like Winamp, where things docked to the main window move with it, but things that aren't don't. You could then pull all the toolbars out and maximize the document window inside the faux MDI parent, and it would act like normal GIMP. Or, you could leave them inside the MDI parent and it would act more like Photoshop. Make it tweakable for the nitpickers (How much of the window has to be inside for the window to be "inside"?).

I never got what the whole fuss about the UI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13415949)

I never really understood what the fuss about The Gimp's UI was about. Sure, it took me a while to get used to the interface, coming over from Photoshopland.

But now, I find myself staring blankly at the screen in PSP/PS clicking on images waiting for gimp-like menus to pop up for about 20 minutes, until I realize that it doesn't quite work that way.

Personally, I like the floating toolbars, they let me set up my workspace in a more multitasking-friendly kind of way, when I'm working with multiple images and multiple programs, great on multi-headed setups as well, as has been previously mentioned.

You just need to get used to it, really, and I like the menus and junk much better than hiding multiple features under single icons. Besides, if you really want the MDI UI so badly, just hook up gimpshop, as has been also previously mentioned.

yes, I do this proffesionally, and yes, I use The Gimp for about 90% of my work. Besides, as I've always said, it's not the tools that get the job done, it's how good you are at using them, how resourceful you are, and really, in the end, it comes down to talent.

GIMP horror stories (0)

FoboldFKY (785255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13415972)

Ok, here's my GIMP usability horror story:

I was at university, and needed to crop and rotate some images for a 3D modelling assignment. I took a look at the programs installed and noticed The GIMP. "Well," I said to myself, "that'll do--how hard could it be?"

It took me a few minutes, but I managed to work out how to rotate and crop my image without any dramas. But then I tried to save it.

Imagine my horror when I discovered that the File menu didn't have a Save item. "Bloody GNOME developers..." I thought, and looked through the (two?) other menus on the main window. Nothing.

I hunted through the other windows to no avail. I right clicked everything I could hoping for SOMETHING to let me save, without success.

I eventually stumbled upon the image's right-click menu. This one had LOTS of submenus, so it just HAD to be there somewhere. Of course, I ignored the top "File" menu since I'd already ruled that one out.

About ten minutes of fruitless searching later, I decided that maybe I'd upset it somehow and gotten the "Save" item disabled. I was about to give up when I accidentally opened the File submenu on the image's context menu.

And there was "Save As". I wanted to scream and smash the computer into a million pieces. The GIMP wasted about 15 minutes of my time.

I honestly don't believe that the GIMP's developers could be so incredibly incompetant as to break two of the most fundamental assumptions people have about GUI apps: that "File" operations are under the "File" menu, and that if you have a menu in two places, it's the same damn menu. I can only imagine that the GIMP developers don't want people to use it.

I hope these usability guys flay the GIMP developers alive for that one alone...

Hrm... (1)

Praedon (707326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416020)

How can it be OpenUsability when we all Slashdot it?? : ) Oh well, Ive seen the site earlier in the week.. Id have to say that a GUI Interface is the most important piece for especially new people to a specific program. I use GIMP on a regular basis, and the "Usability" is pretty easy to Use! : )

Text manipulation? (4, Informative)

Shazow (263582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416036)

Anyone find that the ability to manipulate text in Gimp is... lacking? I was trying to make a basic logo in Gimp a few weeks ago, an operation that would take me five minutes in Photoshop, ended up taking me almost two hours in Gimp.

It's really difficult to resize text to fit the shape you want while maintaining good quality, while I believe Photoshop does this by maintaining the font's vector information until you rasterize the layer.

Also it was very difficult adding simple effects to it, such as a outline, glow or shadow. And at the same time, having it adjust dynamically when I alter the parent layer.

I found it very frustrating, and I've been using Gimp for many months now. >.< Maybe I'm missing something and still have more to learn, but I don't think many people would disagree that some of the interface on Gimp is unintuitive.

I'm happy to hear that they're trying to improve.

- shazow
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