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------- Additional Comments From monstermunch fmail co uk 2005-08-24 00:00 -------
OK, I know everyone isn't like me but I'll run through how I typically use akregator to read my news in the morning as an usability example (I'm no expert but I've done a University level usability course). One way to measure usability is based on the number of actions (key presses, targeting icons etc.). I'll stick to keyboard shortcuts to make things simpler.
1. Open akregator. Feed list and article lists appear.
2. Press key to mark all feeds as read.
3. Press key to download all feeds.
4. Press key to select first feed in list.
5. Press key to select next article.
6. If article is interesting, press key to open it in new tab.
7. Repeat from 5 until all new interesting articles are opened.
8. Press key for next feed.
9. Repeat from 5 until all feed articles are checked.
10. Press key to open next article tab.
11. Read article by tapping page-down (and perhaps scrolling left and right if screen is too small).
12. Press key to close when done.
13. Repeat 11 until all articles are read.
This is _very_ efficient and my suggested GUI tweak just means I have more browser view area to stop me wasting time playing with scrollbars (adding more time to step 11). Note that I rarely do anything but limited browsing (I might click a follow-up article link) and I probably look at about 20 articles (i.e. extra operations in the loop can add significant time).
I'm aware of the detach tab option and open in external browser, but these options completely eradicate the advantages of the tabs and are awful for usability in this case. When the new browser window appears, I will first have to maximise it for a decent browser viewport to read it (waste considerable time as it involves targeting the maximise button and clicking). If I want to read another article, I then have to locate akregator on the task list, target it and click it. For the number of articles I'd want to look at, this is incredibly inefficient and I may as well just open the website homepage in konqueror and open the articles in tabs manually (it's similar to why people like Firefox's tab browsing to IE's separate windows). I can't really see how you could separate the akregator browser part and feed viewer without these disadvantages.
I see what you mean by not wanting to confuse the user into thinking akregator is a fully featured browser, but my GUI suggestion wouldn't make much difference to that, it's just giving more screen space to what the users current task is.
I was actually thinking a while ago that akregator could be put in the sidebar of konqueror (so you can open tabs from it), but I couldn't think how you would fit the article previewer in. I'm just thinking now that you could have a "akregator://" KIO-slave that would show the feed and article views in one tab like my screenshot and you could then use konqueror's tabs and all the other features to read articles. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that idea though but I agree that the internal browser of akregator is a bit of a hairy usability issue. However, the speed it gives me is the sole reason I use it to read news.
Anyway, just my opinion. I'd be interested to know what your views are.