3 Oct 2002 Ilan   » (Master)

When designing street signs, you do not want to take an extremely pervasive population stereotype and use it for a situation that is totally different or the exact opposite of the original situation the population stereotype applies to. For example, on a traffic light, green means "go". You would never, ever want to paint a stop sign green as opposed to red. Incidently, a neon green does have better night visibility than red, but doing something totally opposite of the population stereotype and making a stop sign green would cause more problems with night driving (particularly with older drivers who might have slower reaction times) than it would solve.

Another population stereotype, in the context of computers, is the word "Scroll". If you interviewed several hundred people and asked them what they commonly associate the word "Scroll" with when they use computers, at least 99% (and most likely 100%) would refer to a navigational act performed in a window, not an ancient piece of media whose primary users today are rabbis and D & D players.

What happens if, say, some piece of GNOME software named, say, ScrollKeeper breaks and gives some kind of warning message. The very first thing an end user will think will be "holy sh*t, there's something wrong with the way my windows will work", not "holy sh*t, my documentation system is screwed up". The user's attention will be misdirected into trying to solve some problem that doesn't exist with one area of his or her computer while totally ignoring the other area that is having the problem.

If you really want to start making GNOME have some element of usability, John, rename ScrollKeeper to something like "Gnome Documentation System" or something else that makes sense. Don't confuse the end-user; don't pull a Red Hat on them.

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