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Instrumented GIMP To Identify Usability Flaws

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the phoning-home-in-a-good-cause dept.

Graphics 416

Mike writes "New users of the GIMP often become frustrated at the application's unwieldy user interface. Now Prof. Michael Terry and a group of researchers at the University of Waterloo have created ingimp, a modified version of the GIMP that collects real-time usability data in order to help the GIMP developers find and fix its usability problems. Terry recently gave a lecture about ingimp and the data it collects. During each session, ingimp records events such as document creation, window manipulation, and tool use. A log of these events is sent to the ingimp server for analysis. The project hopes to answer questions such as 'What is the typical monitor resolution of a GIMP user?' and 'Is the GIMP used primarily for photo editing or drawing?'"

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GIMP will always be a gimp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817035)

They should start over and model it after photoshop. The could call it photoshoppe.

Re:GIMP will always be a gimp (3, Informative)

Aminion (896851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817077)

Or they could just call it GIMPshop [wikipedia.org] ....

Re:GIMP will always be a gimp (3, Funny)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817137)

You can put lipstick on a pig but in the end, you still have a pig.

Re:GIMP will always be a gimp (5, Funny)

Aminion (896851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817275)

You can put lipstick on a pig but in the end, you still have a pig.
... and that pig will be the object of thousands of zoophiles' hot fantasies! Wait - what were we talking about...?

representative ? (4, Insightful)

tregetour (903016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817055)

I like the idea, but will the folks who use ingimp be at all representative of the user population at large? ... Especially of the user population that would complain about accessibility / usability. Is it worth it or is anyone talking about making such a thing an integral part of any project?

Re:representative ? (4, Interesting)

NumaNuma (905254) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817093)

This poses interesting questions. Those who are integrated enough to be willing to engage in the ingimp project are very likely to have differing behaviors or preferences. Additionally, one of the chief complaints people tend to have about usability is the inability to do something. By looking at the behavior of actions rather than desired actions, those actions which are easy to do in the current iteration will be seen as more desired, rather than simply more accessible. Meanwhile, those actions which are difficult to preform due to actual problems with the interface will be more likely to be overlooked.

Re:representative ? (5, Interesting)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817241)

I like the idea, but will the folks who use ingimp be at all representative of the user population at large? ... Especially of the user population that would complain about accessibility / usability.

My wife does Web design for University of Waterloo and she's always moaning about the usability of the GIMP. I too am more into design than development these days, so that makes two people who're--more or less--ideal for the task.

Not to mention we have both customised our GIMP's to look and behave more like Photoshop (the missus was fiddling with the keyboard-shortcuts for ages). It seems this data should be collected in this project, as I doubt we're the only ones who've changed everything to our tastes, the developers should finally realise what people want in an image editor.

On a related, by tangential, note: GIMP's new core (GEGL [gegl.org] ) seems to be nearing completion, with that comes all the things people have been clamouring for. Such as non-destructable layer effects, CMYK etc. If they fix the usability and shift to GEGL as the core of GIMP it might finally become the Photoshop killer we've all been waiting for! Failing that Krita [gegl.org] is coming along very well as an image editor, it lacks a few features, but is far more usable than the GIMP.

Overall, I don't think anyone should be saying: 'year of the Linux desktop!' just yet. But this is definitely a step in the right direction. :)

Re:representative ? (5, Informative)

Soulfry (12966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817481)

Because involvement in human-subjects research is voluntary, there will always be a self-selection bias. However, we can still estimate the representativeness of the population by understanding the types of people likely to download and install ingimp, and those who are not. If you fall in the latter camp -- you'd never want to use ingimp -- we really want to talk to you. Send us an email at the email address given on the site: http://www.ingimp.org/contact [ingimp.org] .

In any case, having some data is better than having no data at all. Currently, there is a very active and vibrant group of individuals working on GIMP usability issues (see http://gui.gimp.org/ [gimp.org] ). ingimp's data complements this other data to help quantify the ubiquity of behavior/activity/computer hardware setups in the wild.

Michael Terry

Re:representative ? (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817611)

Maybe a bigger problem will be that you can't instrument what GIMP doesn't do: CMYK, Color Management, look/work just like the industry standard...

I'm delighted to hear they're trying, but many well-funded programs have become yet-another "not Photoshop". Don't hold your breath for world GIMP-domination.

GIMP and Photoshop (1)

callistra.moonshadow (956717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817057)

I use Gimp on a regular basis for photo editing as well as some artwork I do. Yes, it's UI is a bit clunky but it's free and works. It takes a bit to get used to but it's not that more difficult than Photoshop. Another key to remember is that it's free. That goes miles in my book.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817123)

For a significant amount of people, the cost isn't the issue as they'll pirate or their business will pay - it's the quality of the product above anything.

It'd be generally nicer to have a non-clunky application though.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817295)

And how do you define quality here?

From the looks of it, it seems you are implying that GIMP is not as good in 'quality' as PS. Of course, by quality, if you meant UI, menubars, you win. If you are talking about some good mathematical algorithms applied to my pixels to modify them the way I want, I am not sure how GIMP is inferior to PS. In fact, I find it better technically then PS. And add availability of lots of scripts and plugins people are developing.

And, I have used both of it. PS at work, GIMP at home.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (5, Informative)

croddy (659025) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817169)

For a while, I actually believed the folks that repeated ad nauseum the mantra that GIMP's user interface was difficult compared to their beloved Photoshop. Then one day I sat down to try to do some quick photo edits on a Photoshop box. Two hours later, I gave up on its bizarre layer model and just installed the GIMP so I could get some work done.

The ease-of-use of a graphic user interface, in general, correlates far more with the user's pre-existing familiarity with the interface than it does with any design decisions of the interface itself. There are certainly areas where GIMP's user interface could be improved, but let's not pretend like it's some kind of embarrassment -- because it's not.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817313)

It was an embarrassment, but since GIMP 2.0 (with the massive UI overhaul) I think it's been pretty usable, and actually somewhat similar to older versions of Photoshop.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817363)

Especially with version 2 GIMP has become a lot more usable. I use it sometimes and have found that it takes a little while to get used to (like all environments) but overall there's nothing complicated about it. (The file dialog needs to be fixed though.) Also, Ingimp might be more successful if they release Windows binaries. It seems very Linux centric at the moment.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817387)

oops. They have a Win32 version thankfully. Hiding at the top of the downloads [ingimp.org] page.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817427)

Huh? This is the first time I hear anybody saying that GIMP 2 is more usable. Even years after the release of GIMP 2 (which was indeed a major UI overhaul) I keep hearing people saying that GIMP is totally unusable.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

XenoPhage (242134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817369)

I have to agree with this... I am not, by any means, an artist. I don't want anyone to get the impression that anything more complicated than a stick figure comes naturally to me.

That said, I don't find the GiMP to be *that* incredibly difficult. I can usually open it up and create/modify what I need within a reasonable amount of time.

The last time I used Photoshop (admittedly, a long time ago.. Pre version 6 days I think..), I spent a lot of time banging around in the interface trying to figure out simple stuff.. I think the GiMP interface is fine, and I don't see the usability issue... But then again, I'm not an artist ...

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817591)

And with the 2.3 devel releases, they've reorganized the menus in a way that takes a little getting used to, but corrects a lot of the original sources of confusion in the UI (like putting things that actually affect the whole image in the "Layer" menu). They've also made a number of the tools easier to use (compare for instance the old and new behaviors of the crop box). Unfortunately at the same time, they've replaced the wonderful old tool icons with the stupid indistinct pastel blobs that all of the GNOME retards seem to love these days.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817371)

Maybe there's just no one, single satisfying interface for photo editing. Personally, I'm very much at home with Photoshop's layers. I understood it intuitively right away. I never could get used to the GIMP.

That said, maybe the opposite is true -- that some people take intuitively to the GIMP's UI but not to Photoshop.

--Rob

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817443)

I don't understand what is so difficult about it.
GIMP: click 'New layer' in the layers pane.
Photoshop: click 'New layer' in the layers pane.

What is it about GIMP's layer model that confuses you?

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (2)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817691)

I don't understand what is so difficult about it.
GIMP: click 'New layer' in the layers pane.
Photoshop: click 'New layer' in the layers pane.

Perhaps it would be a good idea that instead of/aswell as collecting real-time usability data in order to help the GIMP developers find and fix its usability problems, the instrumented gimp could include its own simple anaylisis software layer outfited with several hundred hueristics, so that if the user was repeatedly clicking in the layers menu a baloon (or something) could appear nearby and present a relevent excert from the gimp man(ual) pages. Even better would be to analyse the instrumentation data in real time and somehow reduce the unarguably high (because of its power and wealth of tools) complexity of gimps interface by presenting a simplified interface tailered to the infered task at hand.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817445)

I kinda agree. I find GIMP easier to use than Photoshop as well; I'm only a casual user, so havn't ever put any effort into learning Photoshop, but I find that I can use GIMP without having to do much learning. That said, I find that when I had Paint Shop Pro installed, it beat them both hands down, and is proof that GIMP could do a lot more in terms of usability. Photoshop don't have too, it's not aimed at casual users it's aimed at Professionals. The GIMP doesn't have that luxury, and seems to be aimed at a similar market to Paint Shop Pro, so IMO it should aim to be as usable as Paint Shop Pro, not as complex as Photoshop.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (3, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817519)

The GIMP tries to do so much that it's quite hard to make it anything less than daunting for new users. The number of windows and dialogs needed for just the simplest edit are a horror.

That said, there are some basic problems that surpass the complexity.
  • The arbitrary split between "filters" and "script-fu" which places important items randomly (from the user perspective) into one of the two areas.
  • The number of dialogs needed to save a file (in some cases: filename dialog, replacement confirmation, export confirmation, and finally format settings).
  • The selection of color in multiple places (many plugins and tools do not use the default FG/BG)
  • The role of channels in the UI is not at all intuitively clear


However, most of this pales to the limitations that are inherent in the functionality. One of my biggest gripes is that the anti-aliasing code is sloppy in non-uniformly implemented. Try this: select a circle, and then use Edit->Stroke Selection. Select a 2 pixel stroke line and go. You will get absolutely HORRID aliasing. The same thing happens (though not quite as bad) with the paint tool stroking.

Overall, the GIMP is an amazing and powerful tool, but it has some serious warts.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817571)


I agree, I used to work for a software developer who had a propriatory niche time program designed to work with some high end printing hardware. For years customers would complain and wine. Never satisfied with the changes. Some woudl lvoe it the other half would hate it, there was no way to appease the masses. Until finally the word came down from corprate ..."just make it look like corel" They did this and the customers were extatic. It's not so much about ease of use as it is about familiarity. all the professional letterheads, and graphic designers know photoshop, painter, quark. so if gimp wishes to appeal to said market they must become like adobe.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817815)

Maybe there's a really good reason that Photoshop does things the way it does. It's designed for professionals, and hasn't changed a whole lot in at least a decade, so I gotta figure that for professionals, Photoshop is made to work the way most graphics professionals need it to work. The layer thing IS complicated, but from what little I know about graphic design, all of that stuff is very useful (necessary?).

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817191)

Your time is free as well?

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817341)

Free Softare Value Cost=((Time to do job in Free App per year) - (Time to do job in expensive app per year)) * (Your Hourly Rate (or your salary/(40*50))*25%)

Comerical Software Value Cost = ((Time to do job in expensive app per year) - (Time to do job in Free App per year)) * (Your Hourly Rate (or your salary/(40*50))*25%) + (Application Cost depreated over a year)

The Lowest number has the better value over the other. Now sometimes Freesoftware wins other time comerical software wins.

Re:GIMP and Photoshop (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817271)

Given a free application with a lousy interface and a free application with a great interface, all features and functionality equal, having my cake and eating it too goes miles in my book.

Fanboyism, user interfaces... (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817317)

Another key to remember is that it's free. That goes miles in my book.

That is an awful mistake for F/OSS fanboys. "Oh, it's free, so we shouldn't complain". This is like being blind to the problem. If it's free and it works, why isn't EVERYBODY using it? (In other words, why is Mozilla Firefox MUCH MORE popular than the GIMP? Think about it).

Sometimes we can forget that graphical applications are meant to be used by designers who use most of their time retouching photographs and stuff. Here, time is money. And if the lack of usability in the GIMP makes me spend 5 times more the time than I would with Photoshop (and i'm being considerate), it's just not worth switching. To put it another way, Photoshop's user interface _IS_ worth the price. I still can't believe the GIMP guys CANNOT make something as user friendly (or don't want to, which is worse). It shocks me and frustrates me.

A quote from a designer's blog [intelligentdesigns.net] :

You know that Linux is ready for governments and businesses when a 30 day review points out DVD and photo editing as the main weaknesses -- and not because there are no Free Code replacements, but because they aren't quite good enough yet. The reviewer only tried two applications, GIMP and Kino. I share his feelings towards the GIMP photo editor, which I regard as an "old school" Free Code project where the developers would rather tell the users why their program is, in fact, highly usable than conducting serious usability tests and making improvements. To be fair, the existing GIMP user base, which is used to the current implementation, may also resist significant changes.

That is not to say that the quite remarkable GIMP functionality could not be wrapped into a nicer user interface. GIMPShop is one such attempt, which I have not tried. I hope that it will become a well-maintained fork; I don't have much hope for GIMP itself to improve in the UI department. I am personally partial to Krita [koffice.org] which, while still young, seems to have generally made the right implementation decisions, and is truly user-focused (as is all of KDE -- I love those guys). I am not a professional photo editor, so I don't know how mature Krita is for serious work. It is good enough for everything I do.


Ooooh... what a bold statement! The GIMP is *NOT* user-focused. Don't tell me.

See, professionals don't want just "a better pile of poo" [lostgarden.com] to do their imaging work. They (and I, too) want something that IS EASY TO HANDLE. Because in graphical applications, form is function. And this is something that many programmers (at least many of those that I've discussed with) simply fail to understand.

It's not that bad (2, Interesting)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817059)

At the beginning it is hard - just like many programs. But my experience is, that you get used to it pretty fast.

Re:It's not that bad (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817135)

I though so too. Until I started to use Photoshop, after that I know how to use GIMP a little better because I know of more things to find... But sience I have Photoshop now I rairly need to use the GIMP. GIMPs usability is its major flaw, it has many of the useful feature of photoshop but it is so clunky (and photoshop isn't a good interface) that I probably have made more money from using photoshop then the GIMP even after paying the high cost of photoshop because doing work take so much less time, that I could put it towards billable jobs.

Re:It's not that bad (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817201)

It's not only a matter of price. It's also a matter of your freedom. I prefer GIMP, not only because it can handle everything a non-professional can possibly want, but also because it is free software [gnu.org] (under the GNU General Public License).

Re:It's not that bad (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817435)

With the extra money in the pocket I can afford extra freedoms, Like being able to go to a movie, with my wife, having better food, nicer riding car... GNU is not free as in freedom is it free as RMS Tells you it is free. Life in a free society requires you to make choices, some of these choices are sacrificing one type of freedom for an other. If I chose free software all the time even if it is less of an overall value then I choose to loose the ability to use other forms of freedom. There is nothing stopping me from having GIMP and Photoshop on my same computer. So overall with Photoshop and the ability to use the GIMP on my system I have not loss any freedom. I support and applaud people who Make GPL software, they are doing a good thing... But if their tool doesn't work for me I don't want to feel trapped and not able to use non GPL alternatives.

Re:It's not that bad (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817853)

Yep, we should all drive Lada's.

Ok, not free in any sense really, but hopefully you'll get why I used that as an example.

Gimp's relative 'freeness' has absolutely ZERO relation to it's inherent usability. This is one of the reasons why the Gimp is STILL such a usability abomination...because so many people argue it's 'freeness' as the trump for all. "But it's ui sucks!", "Yeah, but it's FREE and therefor better!"

There is an argument that non-free software evolves better UI's because since people have to PAY for that software, they are much less willing to sacrifice usability in said product. Thus developers of non-free software have a much higher motivation to produce more usable UI's.

Personally, I don't think it has to be either way myself. Bottom line is, the Gimp's UI is atrocious, and has been since it's inception. I've tried to make the switch myself at least a dozen times over the years, and it's just not worth the pain involved. Glad to see some people are indeed working on this.

Re:It's not that bad (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817437)

The interface is more intuitive than Blender [blender.org] . Maybe that interface needs to be fixed instead. (Of course I've only used it for 15 minutes and tried one of the "how to use Blender's unique interface" tutorials before giving up.)

Re:It's not that bad (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817577)

The Blender interface is geared towards people who will spend thousands of hours in front of it and need to get stuff done fast. How well you understand it in the first 15 minutes is completely irrelevant. Unfortunately, Microsoft has followed your model and created software that is easy to learn, but will frustrate for years afterwards.

Re:It's not that bad (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817545)

My major gripe about the GIMP is that the filters that ship with the software are "destructive."

What I mean is that if you have your layers arranged a certain way, and a certain selection before running the filters, God only knows whether your layers will be the same, or what your selection is when it finishes. (IIRC, some of them would even move windows, change tool settings, etc) Would it have killed them to save that information and restore it when done?

That's what she said.... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817745)

.....lame.....so very lame......

The name fits (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817071)

Gimp: A person who limps.

About that name... (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817079)

So, if I invent a version that gives data on why the name sucks (the otehr main problem with the program), will the developers pay attention to that too?

what are you, 4 years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817283)

is there anything more idiotic that you can complain about... perhaps the colors of the icons or the hair style of the developers?

Re:what are you, 4 years old? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817679)

Now that I think about it, the icon/mascot doesn't even look like a 'gimp' to me, it looks a bit like a fox. ;)

Bring out the Gimp (0, Offtopic)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817085)

Zed: Bring out the Gimp

Maynard: The Gimp's sleeping

Zed: Well I guess you're going to have to wake him up

I'm sorry, I'm a Gimp user but every time I hear, see, or use the application I flash to that scene. Go ahead, I'm off topic and I accept my due.

But I am scared of change. (3, Insightful)

woodchip (611770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817087)

I don't remember ever having a problem figuring out GIMP. But it would drive me insane if they start changing things around on me.

Re:But I am scared of change. (2, Insightful)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817321)

Importantly, does ingimp track crashes?

Representative? (4, Interesting)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817091)

I already see one potential problem with this approach, and that is that it collects usability statistics from ingimp users, not GIMP users. How would it be guaranteed that the two groups are statistically equivalent?

(No, I have not RTFA yet.)

Gimp needs to be surpassed (4, Insightful)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817125)

There are far too many anomalies of usability, lack of features and intricacies required for Gimp. Today, Photoshop is the industry leader, and anyone doing serious editing is using it. To be successful, Gimp must surpass it in more than one way (the one way being free). Kind of like what Firefox did to IE. Unfortunately, Gimp is no where ready for that. And I get a feeling that it is (heading to) nowhere.

I have been using Gimp for a long time. When I first installed Linux it was the only program everyone used to talk about. KDE's kolourpaint was not yet there for general purpose paint-brush replacement. I have used it for years under the hood of open-source fanboyism. And I think that is the reason why it has suffered. It had no competition, and now it is just a software which you don't want to open, again.

Now, I know it is not a paint-brush replacement. But it is neither a Photoshop replacement... and the middle land is already full of other utilities. Inkscape, Krita, ... may be even Blender. The problem is that no one wants to be in the middle. Utilities need to rise to the top, or they face the fate of XMMS. I hope there will be a replacement in GTK too, just to show Gimp how to use the toolkit :)

PS: posted this on journal before... this is shameless re-posting.

Re:Gimp needs to be surpassed (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817613)

Just out of curiosity, and this coming from a long time Windows user who has recently completely switched over to Linux, I can say I've used Photoshop extensively but have yet to spend much time in GIMP, although I intend to. At first blush however, I didn't really notice any major disparities between GIMP's feature set and Photoshop's. Would you care to point out what you feel its actual technical, rather than aesthetic, shortcomings are so I can familiarize myself better with its limits?

Re:Gimp needs to be surpassed (1)

Bill Barth (49178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817857)

Higher bit-depths (like 16-bit per pixel TIFFs, HDR, etc.). PS does at least 16-bit per pixel images, and I think is starting to develop some HDR capabilities as well. Yes, there's CinePaint, but it's on an ancient Gimp tree and is really just a stopgap.

Re:Gimp needs to be surpassed (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817729)

Today, Photoshop is the industry leader...

I don't think the GIMP project primary goals include world domination.

To be successful, Gimp must surpass it in more than one way
There is a huge entertainment industry segment using FilmGimp and GIMP so, it already surpasses whatever else is out there right now in some segments. I would argue that it is quite successful anyway.

But it is neither a Photoshop replacement
There will never be a day when Photoshop is the equivalent of GIMP and vice versa. GIMP is excellent and stands on it's own merits. The print shop natives are getting quite restless now anyway considering Adobe put a hard link to Kinkos in Acrobat Reader. http://www.printondemand.com/MT/archives/011197.ht ml [printondemand.com] Scribus, Inkscape and GIMP on a Linux desktop, I'd say they have some good Free alternatives out there to promote to their customers. GNU Preflight software anyone???

I don't need adobe products and there are many people throwing money away on proprietary products when the GIMP has way more tools than they can possibly use.

The main usability flaw I find (5, Insightful)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817129)

is in getting others to use the program because of its name. Lets have a contest to rename the GIMP.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817179)

I do think they should rename it, if for no other reason than to eliminate it as a point of criticism.

Although, it's entirely possible they could pick a name that's worse.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817193)

We need to do that with a lot of open source applications. Newbe Question how do I do this simple task that was really easy in Windows or OS X, Linux user answer "oh come on it is just as easy as windows you run the program konflabjixxiaidjf v.3.99 it is just like windows". The program may be the easiest to use program in the world but if it has a Supid name that people will not connect the name to the function of the application they will not use it.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817375)

Then who defines what is "stupid" and what is not? Why are "Skype" and "Adium" better names than "Pidgin"? Why is "Excel" a better name than "OpenOffice Spreadsheet"? (I dare to say that the latter is better!) Why is "mIRC" a better name than "X-Chat"? Why is "Outlook" better than "Evolution"?

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817547)

All things are judged in relation to the competition. GIMP is a stupid name, at least in relation to Photoshop. At least 'Photoshop' hints that photos and images in general might be involved. For all but a small subset of the population, the biggest association the word 'gimp' has is physically disabled people. And before it gets mentioned, 'GNU Image Manipulation Program" is a fine (if long) name, but no one, not even the official web site calls it that.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817795)

And before it gets mentioned, 'GNU Image Manipulation Program" is a fine (if long) name, but no one, not even the official web site calls it that.

The very first sentence on gimp.org [gimp.org] is: "GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program."

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817581)

Well Skype, Adium and Pidgin are all stupid names (I only have heard of Skype myself, and others know Skype because it is packaged and advertised quite well). Excel is not not a better name then OpenOffice Spreadsheet, most people who see OpenOffice Spreadsheet will know it will be a program like Excel (Excel only being know because its wide use, and forced training from schools and companies), mIRC is better then X-Chat for people who chat on the IRC (And know what the IRC is). X-Chat looks kinda R+ Rated (And tells nothing on what it is chatting on). Outlook and Evolution are both stupid names as well but just like Excel Schools and Companies train people to know what OutLook is. It is not a Rule that an Open Source App needs to given a stupid name it is just a lot of them have stupid names. And popular apps can have stupid names as well but they are wide known because money and media went into advertising it, so people have a brand name connecnted to it that they understand. Good names are a first start to making a user friendly app, so the person know what to do to go in the application.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (2, Interesting)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817855)

Would it really solve your frustrations if each and every open source app have names like these?
- Linux Image Studio
- EasyMail Professional
- Open Vector Drawer
- Web Navigator
- Open Developer Environment
- TextEdit Pro

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

mjeffers (61490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817671)

You have a very good point and while there's probably not much point arguing about if Skype or Pidgin better encapsulates VOIP it seems pretty clear that calling image editing software something that calls to mind either a cruel name used to torment the physically handicapped or a sex-slave in Pulp Fiction is a terrible idea. It's really embarrassing that they've let it linger on this long. My only fear is that it could end up worse.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

doshell (757915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817517)

So how do Windows users figure out that:

  • Excel is a spreadsheet application?
  • Outlook is an e-mail client?
  • Firefox is a web browser?
  • Winamp is a media player?
  • Adobe Reader displays PDF documents?
  • Skype is a VoIP application?

All of these are quite popular in Windows land. By your logic, since none of them have names that correlate to their function, no one would be willing to use them...

Counter-examples aside, KDE does something useful to help users with this: the K Menu (analogous to Start menu in Windows) can be configured to show the program function alongside its name. So for example Amarok shows up as "Audio Player (Amarok)", or even just "Audio Player".

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

doshell (757915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817615)

I will add something else: most users have their first contact with a program when they click on a file that opens with that program. For example, I don't think anyone runs Adobe Reader directly and uses the File|Open dialog; instead they click on the icon for a PDF file. This way they learn Adobe Reader is a program that reads PDFs.

While this can't be said of some applications that don't have "files to open" (e.g. an IM client), it is certainly true of many of the more common computer operations (e.g. edit a Word document, see an image, listen to an audio file, ...). And both Windows and Linux distributions come with default programs for the most common file types, and indeed register those defaults when installing new software.

For the rest, a well-designed "Start menu" equivalent will suffice ;)

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817539)

Have you used a Linux desktop in the past few years? The freedesktop.org specs require [freedesktop.org] a certain amount of metadata for application "shortcuts", which are used by KDE and Gnome to categorize and describe nearly every application in the menu. If you're willing to spend five seconds looking at your options, you'll have no difficulty finding a Linux equivalent for any common task.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817461)

I agree. I once brought it up in a meeting where the idea of bringing in an image manipulation program was discussed. I made the mistake of calling it "the gimp." People laughed and didn't give it a second thought. Take the example of CinePaint. It used to be called Film Gimp. Which one sounds more professional?

Re:The main usability flaw I find (0, Troll)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817521)

> is in getting others to use the program because of its name.

No, the main problem is that it's a piece of shit to use. I'm sure you get used to it eventually, just like using the mouse with the wrong hand. I've tried Gimp on a few occasions (when other I used other PCs, or before I determined to never again use any software illegally) and I always found it completely counter-intuitive. For me, at least, it's well worth the money to use a cheap alternative (Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro). I can just do without the hassle. I'm sure the quality of the effects/processing/tools are fine, but I don't understand why the developers don't take a step back, look at what's been happening to the rest of the market and start again on the UI.

I renamed it already... (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817587)

When I talk to "normal" people and mention GIMP, I'm always careful to call it the "GNU IMP graphics software". It is, otherwise, one of the most ridiculous names in modern software.
 
Jolyon

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817627)

I always refer to it as the GNU Image Manipulation Program, and let others figure out the acronym for themselves. For brevity, I like to call it GNU IMP. Its official acronym has been the reason why it hasn't been adopted in two design departments I worked closely with (no, it wasn't usability, they never even tried it because "the GIMP" didn't sound like the kind of software a serious graphics designer should be associated with, despite the fact that they wouldn't have used half of the features available).

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GNU IMP) isn't handicapped, nor does it have a strange leather fetish. IMP sounds better, but it's still less business-like.

Re:The main usability flaw I find (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817801)

Let us call it Open Image Studio. Does that really sound like a better name to you?

Audio-visuals (4, Funny)

kabdib (81955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817147)

With cameras and microphones and other things:

----

"Our performance traces indicate large amounts of cussing when images are resized."

---

"Wow. During that file open, three hundred users gave the finger to the camera."

"And that one guy --"

"I don't want to talk about that guy. Wahwahwahwahwah I-can't-hear-yoooo. Don't remind me of what he did."

---

"Nine hundred instances of users hitting the computer with a hammer while cropping. At least, that what we think the accelerometers were saying."

--

"The rapid rise in temperature was probably caused by the users pouring gasoline on the system and lighting a match. We'll try to address that issue in the next release."

Re:Audio-visuals (1)

Unoti (731964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817307)

Haha, good stuff...

"Oh and look, right after trying to figure out transparency layers, 80% of our user base launched Wine and Photoshop"

GIMP and multiple screens (1)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817159)


IMHO, people should understand that the MDI way (that is, the "photoshop way of arranging the windows) was born under the assumption that you had only one screen to work with.

But with X-window based virtual desktops, you just dedicate one of them to the Gimp. Check it, your Gimp experience will improve a lot!

--
Text link ads, the easiest way to earn money with your web [text-link-ads.com]

Re:GIMP and multiple screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817217)

But Photoshop on Mac doesn't work like this. You know the platform most people who seriously use Photoshop pick. A more windows photoshopers are just EyeCandy Filter whores who pirated it since version 4.

The awfulness of Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817219)

Why do people so often complain about GIMP's UI, and not about the fucking awful user interface of Photoshop(TM)? Seriously speaking, is there anything concrete behind these complaints that goes beyond "I've been using Photoshop for 10 years, dammit, and GIMP does not behave as Photoshop"?

Re:The awfulness of Photoshop (2, Interesting)

Unoti (731964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817381)

Yes, there seriously is. The big areas where I love Photoshop and hate Gimp revolve around layer properties, layer blending, transparent backgrounds, and grouping and copying layers.

Re:The awfulness of Photoshop (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817429)

I for one complain about the gimp. I have tried many times to use it, and have yet to even manage to open a file with the gimp.

All I want to do is open a file, rotate it to correct for poor placement in the scanner, and then fix the gamma a bit and maybe crop it... then save the results.

Not demanding, but last time I tried there was no viable help, and no hint as to how to do any of this.

As for MDI, its not a problem. I am OK with MDI, not that I specially like it, My problem is "where the *&%$ are the controls?"

Re:The awfulness of Photoshop (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817621)

The controls have always been in the context menu. the GIMP people really love the right mouse button. Every time you use it it's like you're flipping off your computer.

Re:The awfulness of Photoshop (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817757)

I have tried many times to use it, and have yet to even manage to open a file with the gimp.

Maybe you haven't yet managed to start your computer? Wait! -- you are posting to Slashdot.

Seriously, how hard is it to open a file in GIMP? I launch it from the application menu and it comes up with 3 windows: one titled "Layers", one titled "GIMP tip of the day", and one titled "GIMP". Just "GIMP" has menus, so I open "File", choose "Open ...", and doubleclick the desired file. Sounds like any other application to me.

last time I tried there was no viable help

When, in 1995? Because my GIMP help clearly states, e.g. "The "File" Menu of the Toolbox .... 5.3 The Open command activates a dialog that lets you load an existing image from your hard-drive or an external medium. For alternative, and sometimes more convenient, ways of opening files, see the Files section."

GIMP's Typical Use (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817227)

If they want to know how GIMP is typically used, that's easy. GIMP's typical and most popular use is for people to say, "Hey, you can edit your photos under Linux with GIMP, and you don't have to use Wine and Photoshop."

But professionals using GIMP for doing real work? That's atypical. Hopefully that will change.

Scary (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817229)

You know, how do you recognize a project is someone's pet project? It's an overcomplicated solution for a problem with a trivial solution.

Want to find out what makes the GIMP ui suck? Ask the damn users! They won't exactly shy away from telling you.

I'm a Photoshop user and I have GIMP installed here to use the occasional esoteric plugin functionality. Let me tell you few things you can immediately get busy fixing:

1. for some reason GIMP developers decided every single thing needs its own window and its own menu bar. It's weird as f*ck: put the entire layout in a single window with integrated panel layout (similar to how Eclipse does it, for example).

2. each plugin is its own modeless exe dialog that takes arbitrary amount to start after it was called (at which time you can modify the processed image.. sometimes, and sometimes GIMP crashes because of it): create a proper lean plugin API and modal plugin dialog.

3. the menus and options are all over the place: there seems to be no strategy at all about what goes where

4. GIMP has really bad startup time, and performance, compared to commercial graphics editors (such as Photoshop)

5. There's no way at all to organize your layers in a more complex setup: there are no layer groups, layer folder, or anything like that. It's just a big sack of flat layers, that you can select one at a time, and link them together. This is Photoshop 4 level functionality, and most graphics editors are waaaay past that by now.

6. There are no proper drawing tools in Gimp at all. For a graphics package that claims to be targeted at geeks making icons and web devs making web designs, this is ridiculous. We're forced to fake our ways with selection tools and scripts, which covers only a fraction of what we need.

7. A personal issue I have with Gimp: no proper grid. I use the grid in Photoshop all the time, set on unobtrusive "pixel" mode, and usually at 8, 16, 32 pixels with subdivisors. In Gimp, no subdivisors, no pixel mode, and for some reason the *mere fast of displaying* the grid, makes everything slow down to a crawl.

Re:Scary (3, Informative)

Soulfry (12966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817759)

There is a very active group of individuals who are currently doing things like expert walkthroughs and observational studies: See http://gui.gimp.org./ [gui.gimp.org]

Our data is intended to complement this data by quantifying the ubiquity of tasks/activity/system setups. For example, what are typical resolutions of monitors? This type of information can help focus design by indicating what types of interaction designs are feasible and not feasible given the hardware of current users. What we've seen so far is a far greater number of 1024x768 resolutions than anticipated. Breaking these numbers down to see where in the world these resolutions are being reported is one of the next steps we plan to do to better contextualize the data. See http://www.ingimp.org/stats/monitors [ingimp.org] .

We also have some emperical data to support the notion that the multiple windows design choice is not the best. Our data indicate that the percentage of the monitor covered by the document window is typically about 50% for most users (again, see http://www.ingimp.org/stats/monitors [ingimp.org] ). Most Photoshop users seem to maximize their document windows; with GIMP, this seems to happen much less frequently, probably because doing so obscures GIMP's other windows.

Michael Terry

Almost. (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817785)

4. GIMP has really bad startup time, and performance, compared to commercial graphics editors (such as Photoshop)

Only under Win32, and mostly in the font loading spectrum. It's a hell of a lot faster in a native GNOME.

SUV / New Coke / added armor fallacy. (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817239)

The project hopes to answer questions such as 'What is the typical monitor resolution of a GIMP user?' and 'Is the GIMP used primarily for photo editing or drawing?'"

Looks to me like they're about to fall into the fallacy that caused Daimler-Chrysler to do a redesign of the Jeep line that killed their market.

The marketing department looked at what fraction of SUVs were actually used off-road. They came to the conclusion that it was small. So they redesigned their line to be more comfortable on-road at great cost to its off-road performance.

Turns out that a significant fraction of their market was people who NEEDED the off-road capability - and had the resources to pay for it, reliably buying cars, year after year, through all economic cycles.

Jeep stopped being the car they needed and became another clone of the rest of the market: "Mall Terrain Vehicles" that LOOK like an off-road car but are really just a funny-looking small/high van that qualifies as a "truck" to escape the fleet mileage regulations. Their guaranteed market went elsewhere and they were in head-to-head competition with a slew of vehicles over which they had no advantage.

Similarly, Coke looked at all the people buying Pepsi, saw that they were younger and that Pepsi's main difference was that it was sweeter, and replaced Coke with New Coke, which was sweeter yet. Result: People who drank Coke because they liked a less-sweet drink switched to Pepsi.

And then there was the high-ranking officer in WW II who spent months counting all the bullet holes on the returning bombers, then did a big presentation on how those areas should have armor added. At the end of his presentation a lower-ranking officer asked "Shouldn't we, instead, add more armor to those areas that are only lightly holed? After all, this sample represents only the planes that came back."

= = =

I think the same thing could happen here: Paying attention to what people do a lot of just focuses on what you're already doing right - at the cost of ignoring the things that people do occasionally, or only some people do, but which they need to have. Further, the things they do rarely may be used rarely specifically BECAUSE they're hard to use and the interface needs improvement.

Or IBM optimizing the most-heavily-used opcode. (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817585)

Then there was the time IBM instrumented a mainframe to determine what instructions were heavily used so they could focus their optimize-the-microcode effort on them.

They found one particular instruction that accounted for some exceedingly large fraction of the execution time. So they went to work on the microcode and doubled its speed. Then they deployed the new microcode and measured the application performance, expecting to see a big improvement.

It didn't change a bit.

After a little more research they discovered they'd optimized the idle task's wait loop.

= = = =

Collecting data can be useful. But making good decisions based on it requires wisdom and insight.

Re:Or IBM optimizing the most-heavily-used opcode. (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817761)

This story sounds specious. Are you sure it isn't an urban legend?

Re:SUV / New Coke / added armor fallacy. (1)

Soulfry (12966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817633)

One of the things we do to combat the potential issues you identify is to carry out observations of real users to understand what high-level behaviors are associated with the low-level log data. For example, we discovered that some users occassionally duplicate a document and then immediately close it. Doesn't happen often, and only with a subset of users.

Why do they do this? Because they are Photoshop users using Photoshop key bindings in GIMP -- Ctrl-D deselects in Photoshop and duplicates in GIMP. So with this set of actions in the log, we can identify Photoshop users using GIMP.

The other way we address this problem is to provide multiple perspectives on the data. Looking at the Command Stats, you'll notice that we break down the most frequently used commands in a number of ways: By session, by user, and so on. There are multiple ways to consider "most frequently used commands" and we are sensitive to the fact that any one perspective is not the one correct way. As an example, raw counts of command use will put tools like the paint brush at the top of the list. But perhaps only 10% of the population uses the paint brush. So we also provide information on the percent of users who use a particular command to grant you these additional perspectives.

Finally, we're constantly adding new stats; we've only just begun mining this data.

Michael Terry

Re:SUV / New Coke / added armor fallacy. (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817657)

I agree with your general sentiment, and I also agree that this project might be a dead-end. A better approach would have been to take the man-hours spent creating this software and instead use it on proper man-on-the-street usability studies. Grab someone, sit them in front of GIMP, and have them create a greeting card or something. Record it on video and watch it later on, they'll get a lot more information than this automated system can obtain.

Re:SUV / New Coke / added armor fallacy. (1)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817829)

What makes your analogy a false one is that the ingimp folks aren't like the marketing departments from the big companies you mentioned. They're not collecting broad 'market data', if you will, from Photoshop/PaintShop/CorelDraw/etc. users (or all SUV drivers, or all soda drinkers). They're doing exactly what you seem to want them to do, which is ask their target users how to improve the product they currently prefer.

It's as if Chrysler sold you a Jeep with sensors on the steering wheel and seat cushions. You'd already decided to buy the Jeep, and Chrysler wants to know how you use it to make future versions more comfortable and responsive.

Roll Outpackages (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817253)

If they roll out a package for Fedora, I'll be installing this soon. I like the idea of Gimp, but I always fumble around the interface, and rarely use it when I am not in a hurry.

As I understood it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817263)

'Is the GIMP used primarily for photo editing or drawing?'

My impression is that it's primarily used to paste Tux onto pictures of lingerie models by teenagers who then loudly insist that it's every bit as suited for professional use as Photoshop.

Is GIMP still being developed? (2, Interesting)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817323)

Is GIMP still being developed? This is a serious question.

I've been a big GIMP fan for years. Years ago, I was excited about the 2.0 release of GIMP. It brought many new features and the UI got a serious revamp. But now it has been several years, and it seems that GIMP development has slowed down. They're still releasing newer versions with bug fixes, but no new features. For example: I recently bought a Wacom tablet, and while GIMP has Wacom support, I miss some of the things that Photoshop has, such as support for variable brush width based on tablet pressure. The long-awaited GEGL, which was introduced years ago and will supposedly add CMYK and 16-bit support, is still not ready, and to my knowledge is still pre-alpha. (Not that I need CMYK and 16-bit, but at least that silence all the complainers.)

A year or two ago I also read an article about someone wanting to sponsor GIMP development. But that effort went nowhere, as his request was eventually ignored.

What is going on? Is GIMP still being actively developed? Are the GIMP developers still interested in adding new features?

Re:Is GIMP still being developed? (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817395)

I totally agree... The GIMP reminds me of Enlightenment these days... hurry up and do something big already!

Re:Is GIMP still being developed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817697)

It's pretty easy to see if there is active work going on for it:
1. Go to http://gimp.org/ [gimp.org]
2. Note that they've had a couple of development releases in the last couple of months
3. Click on the NEWS links to find out what's being fixed/worked on.

GIMP usability is not the issue (1, Interesting)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817457)

The problems with the gimp are mind numbingly easy for any semi-talented UI designer to spot and fix.
The problem is the development team: there's not enough of it, and there's no leadership strong enough within them to commit to a roadmap. If they only decided to stop coding for a while, decide what their end goals are (this is not a question users should be answering), plan the next few versions in advance and then actively look for new developers to implement whatever they decide on, things would look different.

GrIMP (Ruby GIMP) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817465)

Check this out, these guy re-wrote GIMP in Ruby!!! http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SPZI.PK [yahoo.com]

Where is it sending my data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817469)

I have not read the article, I clicked on the comments expecting to read things related to privacy concerns.

I know it's almost a troll point but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817489)

I've tried Gimp over the years and it's okay as a freebie but if you give me the option of Photoshop or Gimp I default to Photoshop every time. I don't use 90% of what Photoshop can do so it isn't lacking high functions it's the UI. Photoshop simply works where as Gimp is a pain to use. I recommend it to people all the time if they can't aford Photoshop but I see little reason to use it since I have Photoshop. I know it's not what they want to hear but if you want to fix it mimic what works, Photoshop. At the very least most users are used to the Photoshop conventions. Photoshop has a simple straight forward layout. My biggest complaints for painting is a lack of painting tools so I do use other programs at times, even Dogwaffle does some cool stuff and even the commercial version is cheap. The freebie version is even fun to use. There are other painters but for photo work Photoshop is the standard for a reason and they just need to deal with that fact and accept more of Photoshop's conventions. Just because it's free and open source doesn't make it better. Blender is a powerful program but it's bizarre nonstandard interface keeps me from using it. I've tried three times to learn it and always end up back with Maya and Lightwave. I love the idea of using an open source animator but the UI is a major headache to learn. After days of trying even with tutorials I could do more my first hours with either Maya or Lightwave. That's the sign of a bad UI. The two easiest I ever found? Modo for modelling and Anime Studio Pro for 2D animation. Either software you can get a good working knowledge of in a day or two. For gaming the Unity Game engine is staggering and easy to learn. You simply can't beat a well designed UI that is well documented.

Self-selected group? Self-denial? (2, Interesting)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817501)

From the presentation slides, it seems like 200 people have installed it (netting "over 100,000 commands" in the log files). Obviously more will do so in response to the Slashdot article (and appropriate web pollination)... but aren't these self-selected geeks already? How are you going to get non-geeks to install this instead of the regular GIMP (assuming you convinc them to take a look at it)?

Furthermore, how does this help determine what GIMP isn't doing properly? I mean, if you have various tools at your disposal, and GIMP sucks at doing X, then you might do half your work in GIMP and the other half in another app. So all the usability problems around X won't show up in the logs -- almost a kind of self-denial.

I use Photoshop on a nearly daily basis. Last time I tried GIMP it was not ready for professional print design, to be sure, and only probably good enough for desktop publishing or Web graphics. How about Pantone or CMYK support? Non-destructive layer effects? Variable-sized brushes? Actually useful text formatting?

Double standard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19817579)

"Now Prof. Michael Terry and a group of researchers at the University of Waterloo have created ingimp [CC] [MD] [GC], a modified version of the GIMP that collects real-time usability data in order to help the GIMP developers find and fix its usability problems. "

The interesting thing is that when Microsoft collects data to make it's software better, it's a bad thing. When OSS does it, then it's a good thing.

Keep it simple. (2, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817675)

The biggest problem I have with GIMP is it's interface. It's clear the application was designed by programmers and not designers. I feel like they've tried to cram too much onto the screen and they suffer from a similar problem I was with Microsoft applications. They try to offer too many ways to do things and get too technical with details. I don't need 10 different sliders for customizing a brush. If I want a custom brush I should be able to just create the graphic as I would anything else then just drag it into a custom brush box and be done with it.

Photoshop is getting progressively more bloated but I still find it more fluid than anything else. I'm not constantly hindered by the application.

The solution isn't to do more coding. The data they gather may result in solutions that only complicate the issue. What they should do is sit down with a small team of designers. Include people with experience in photo-editing, website layouts and interface design. Ideally, find people that have little to no experience with GIMP. Work with this team to develop an interface. And most importantly, keep things simple.

Inevitably, most applications end up being overly complex because of some overwhelming desire to cram in every last feature the developer can dream up. There also seems to be little planning. Build a set of guidelines and adhere to them. And one last thing, be sure that all essential function can be activated via the keyboard. When I'm doing time-consuming production I don't want to hunt around for small icons, or be constantly switching between the mouse and keyboard.

gimp vs. photoshop (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19817709)

you know what's odd? everyone always hears "gimp is hard to use" blah blah blah, but the other day i tried to use photoshop for the first time... and i couldnt figure it out. for one: how do i zoom in by more than 1x at a time? 2. where the hell is the bucket fill button? 3: how in god's name do i set the transparency of a color?

i couldnt figure it out. and i had to go back to the gimp. that's my story. hope you enjoyed it.
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