On Jan 29, 2007, at 8:27 PM, jmak wrote:
How do you know that this is the way professionals work? Have you ever
worked in a graphic agency or some similar place? Have you ever worked
under pressure when the client is panting behind your back and
constantly complaining and whatever you are doing he always wants
something different. Because this is how the real work environment
look like. In this environment to survive the product you are using
should be virtually invisible, completely out of the way, I mean it
should be so smooth so natural that you shouldn't even notice it. This
is why the interface is so important in a professional work.
Why, yes I have.
I've worked in actual print shops, multimedia houses, game creators and publishers, and others. Although I'm mainly a software engineer now, I do have ability, experience, and formal training in the artistic side of things. I personally have a lot less professional graphic arts experience than many of the contributors to Inkscape, but this line of discussion tends to wander off into less productive areas. I believe that is one reasons many here do not fall back to arguments on 'qualifications'.
However, if we try to focus on hard reasoning for UI work, we can gain a lot more. You've raised several good points, and brought in some good things to look at.
However, there are more things to look at as far as UI design for "professional" apps goes. Usually commercial application development is driven by marketing and business far more than from the engineering side. For example, marketing might come in with requirements like "competitor X has n number of tools, so we need to have n plus one". Or they might need to add things to see people on upgrades. (In those cases they'll be looking more to the executives and IT heads making purchasing decisions than to the end users).
Another factor, and this definitely applies for Adobe, is that a company may make many sub-optimal UI choices in order to maintain consistency with other applications the company sells. They might even add or remove features from one product to be able to sell another product. Or they might do things to leverage their "suite" and block users from using competitor's products.
And yet another large factor is that different professionals have different needs. There is no single "professional" way to do something. And although people in different industries (animation, training videos, 2d games, 3d games, magazine ads, etc.) might have different sets of workflows, even people in the same shop working on the same type of art might take wildly different approaches.
One thing I've seen often with Inkscape is that people have problems with it's UI usually because it is different than they are used to. Not "worse", just "different". Then after a bit of using it, people have tended to like it even more than other tools.
However, we are very interested in things to actually improve workflow. "Do it because application X does it" is a reason that we generally don't like to follow. On the other hand, we don't want to be doing things differently just for the sake of being different. "Application X does this in this manner, and it helps me when I do step Y and then Z to get to end result A" is more of how we like to approach things"