Although I know that this is not likely to produce any improvement in the ambiguous Jmol interface (and those that donate their time to a project are free to decide in what areas they will direct their effort), I feel that William Reusch's posting should not go without comment. He wrote:

I am mildly surprised by the attention many are giving to the Jmol
frank.  I find it relatively unobtrusive, and when it gets in the way of
a presentation it is easily removed by a script.  Its primary purpose is
to indicate that the display is from Jmol.  I write chiefly for
undergraduates, most of whom just wish to observe the model and do not
care to interact via the menu.  I introduce the use of Jmol by a brief
introduction in which the two methods of opening the menu (frank & key
combination) are described.  Advanced users should read the documentation.

This exemplifies a divide between those on the one hand who feel that software like Jmol should only be used by advanced users who read the documentation or students who are told exactly what to do, and those on the other hand who feel that if you put a Jmol applet on your web page you want it to be usable in the most intuitive way possible by whoever is interested in topic it is used to illustrate, someone who is unlikely to read any documentation (even if there was a pdf file one could download) and cannot be lectured to.

I am surprised (but only mildly) that those on the other side of this divide do not recognize that people such as me have a fundamentally different attitude from them. 

Finally, I think it is avoiding the issue to say that the "primary purpose of the logo is to indicate that the display is Jmol". The original enquirer clearly thought it was the --only-- purpose of the logo, and had to be told that removing it would entail removing its second purpose as target for a drop-down menu. The people on my side of the divide - those who have a formal training in human computer interface design and those who just have a feel for a usable interface - would regard the fact that original poster was unaware of the dual purpose as damning evidence that the interface is defective. 

I would emphasize that the point of this message is not to criticize William Reusch's position on the use of Jmol (although I obviously disagree with it) but to make it clear to him and others that  there are basic differences in outlook of those interested in using Jmol.

David

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Dr. David P. Leader, Faculty of Biomedical & Life Sciences,
University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
Phone: +44 (0)141 330 5905  

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401
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