Daily Archives: 2007/01/07

Listen to the user!

Indeed, I am getting tired of too many developer blog entries that either just shed light on private stuff that nobody really cares – or they just talk about what they do without giving users something to understand. Not that I think that this should not happen – this can help other developers a lot. But if you look at planet.gnome.org you ask yourself if this post should not either be kept private or be put on developer.gnome.org. The big question is why we really should put these blogs near main WGO (www.gnome.org). my guess is that only 10 percent really are posts that have the user in mind. And OTOH – as I already said on CVIsm – I more and more get the feeling that many developers live in their own world and have no idea what users want. Well maybe it is enough for them to do their thing  – but when you try to build a common desktop like GNOME or KDE tries to – you better  listen to the user! Ok, there is no ONE user but many – and developers are also users. But generally they act very differently from normal users. Even “advanced” users (in a MS Windows sense) will not be able to do something rather simple as to compile a program.

So I hope some developers may start from the beginning from time to time. Think how something may look if you would not know – what you know. This is what I had to learn from my customers. Then things that look simple can get really difficult – and also sometimes – for a user it is more easy to go a long way that he is able to find herself – as if we have a solution that really requires somebody to be some what of a developer to even start with it.

Usability studies are nice, but what really should change is the attitude and also the process of finding solutions. I think free software often is much easier as the Windows world. We had automatic updates long before – and still many things can be handled with Windows at all. But some tasks are just too complicated for simple users to accomplish.

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Blocking ads with Epiphany browser

I am still a bit split if Firefox or Epiphany is the better choice. One possibility to block ads without having to rely on an adblock extension which is not automatically built by upstream epiphany extentions is to use a ad blocking Javascript as a proxy address. There is a pretty good site here: http://www.schooner.com/~loverso/no-ads/ . How do you set it up with Epiphany?

  1. Download http://www.schooner.com/~loverso/no-ads/no-ads.zip
  2. Unzip the contents (no-ads.pac) in your home directory
  3. open gnome-network-preferences
  4. choose Automatic Proxy Configuration
  5. type in: file:///home/homedir/no-ads.pac (where “homedir”should be replaced by your home directory)
  6. READY!

Maybe distributors should think about including such a thing as a standard? So maybe as a shared file for many different browsers. GNOME people always told be nobody wants different proxies for different browsers – so consequently sure everybody wants an adblocker.

I think adblocking gives epiphany something of 40% more usability. I still think that just too often teh developers do not think from the users perspective. I now remember thatI new about the auto configuration with javascript, but I think some years ago we did not yet have such good scripts.

I could also think of a preference application that helps to edit such a file. This could also be inside the gnome-network-preferences. I think I am going to file a bug at bugzilla.gnome.org, if it does not yet exist.


Filed under Browser, Free Software