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Reorganization of YaST control center

Feature state

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As many users (even the experienced ones) find the current organization of YaST modules confusing a reorganization is needed.

We have conducted a usability study where experienced users sorted the YaST modules.
So I would really ask to take advantage of these data. You find the data and some thoughts about a possible re-categorization on:

The reorganization would affect the sorting and presentation, some labeling issues, the use of a consistent icon set, the use of tool tips and an enhancment of search

One possible solution would be to organize it similar to the GNOME configuration center:

I already heard that it might be mandatory to present AppArmor as an extra section (which in my opinion would be not advisable from a usability perspective, but if it is mandatory, then we have to add it as an extra section).

I also thought that some YaST modules (e.g. keyboard, mouse, DNS, Hostname) are doublicated but it turned out, that this makes sense for SLES.

Still I suggest combining the modules "user management" and "group management" into a single module called "User and Group Management". This makes sense because opening "user management" and "group management" opens the same module but only show a different view.

Documentation impact

This would require a lot of changes throughout the manuals.


icons/user_comment.png T. R. wrote: (11 years ago)

Would a reorganization apply to both KDE and GNOME desktop, then?

Whatever a new YaST structure would look like, from a doc perspective it would be important that YaST structure and appearance are in sync for both desktops as we strive to use a "common doc base" for both desktops whereever possible to reduce efforts and costs.

As reorganization of YaST would require many changes throughout our manuals, we cannot afford to additionally maintain different "flavors" of YaST chapters for KDE/GNOME.

Apart from that, consistent structure and appearance of YaST in both desktops would also be a benefit for users.

icons/user_comment.png S. V. wrote: (11 years ago)

Sigi, is the card study finished now? Where can we find the results?

icons/user_comment.png M. S. wrote: (11 years ago)

> Would a reorganization apply to both KDE and GNOME desktop, then?

Yes. Exactly for the reasons you named, Tanja :-)
By the way, a reorganization of YaST control center already took place in SLES 10 SP1.
This solution is similar to what Sigi and I suggested.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to take the YaST control center as it is in SLES 10 SP1, improve it a little and implement its design into all our products.
What do you think about that?

icons/user_comment.png S. V. wrote: (11 years ago)

There was no reorganization for SLE10 SP1. The only change was introduction of slab-based GNOME control center for YaST. The categorization, description and module lists did not change and are shared between KDE and GNOME control centers.

icons/user_comment.png M. S. wrote: (11 years ago)

I am sorry for a missunderstanding.
I meant that we should take the current "GNOME control centre" - like design of the YaST control centre in SLES 10 SP 1 as a base for a redesign of the YaST control centre in our other products.
Additionally to that, we should discuss (and perform) a reorganization of modules.

icons/user_comment.png F. L. wrote: (11 years ago)

This is worth pursuing, I am no UX expert, but if we can make it easier for users to find things, we should.

A reorganization should be well thought-out, so that we break the existing habits *only once*, we should not be reshuffling things too often.

icons/user_comment.png S. O. wrote: (11 years ago)

The results of the the cardsort study are available at:

The subjects (N=~30) have been "Experts", so you can transfer the results to a new openSUSE YaST Control Center.

The cluster trees with 2 different statistical options show only one difference:
- ISDN, Modem, DSL, Network => Hardware
- ISDN, Modem, DSL, Network => Network
see http://en.opensuse.org/YaST_Control_Center_-_Card_Sort_Study#Illustrative_Materials

I'm just writing a sumary. This section is placed at the top of the page.

icons/user_comment.png S. O. wrote: (11 years ago)

I got only 2-3 NOT-Expert users in the sample. Their results are not presented on the page. But it's clear, they separated out cards like: VLM, iSCSI Initiator, Powertweak, VNC, Sudo, AppArmor, LDAP, etc., etc.

icons/user_comment.png M. S. wrote: (10 years ago)

Some additional mock ups and thoughs about that topic are available at:

icons/user_comment.png M. S. wrote: (10 years ago)

One other suggestion was influenced by the KDE 4 control center:

The main concerns with these mock ups are:

  • information overload
  • "search" is somehow meaningless if it isn't provided by some kind of thesaurus

icons/user_comment.png B. G. wrote: (10 years ago)

I don't know if this is just too late, but for me the only design that looks like a real step forward from all the designs on http://en.opensuse.org/YaST/Development/New_Control_Center/
I really like this approach.

Please don't just create huge lists of modules, or preselected lists of modules that never can meet the customers needs.

icons/user_comment.png D. M. wrote: (10 years ago)

This feature was on impl. But limited resources and refocus on PackageKit froze development. Passing back to Stano.

icons/user_comment.png F. L. wrote: (10 years ago)

lets figure out a plan and get it done this time :)

icons/user_comment.png M. S. wrote: (11 years ago)

As there is some negative feedback from the KDE 4 personal settings menu (https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=431432 ), maybe we should take it into account when talking about a YaST control center redesign.
BTW: what is the status on this feature request?

icons/user_comment.png T. G. wrote: (9 years ago)

Thanks for this hint. Development on this featrue is postponed.

icons/user_comment.png e. f. wrote: (9 years ago)

Currently we are conducting usability tests, see: http://en.opensuse.org/YaST/Development/New_Control_Center#Usability_Tests

icons/user_comment.png K. E. wrote: (9 years ago)

For what's worth, things got worse in the meantime ;)  This feature needs to be split into 2 or 3 subfeatures:

  • Improve labels (e.g., "/etc/sysconfig Editor" -> "Sysconfig Editor").
  • Reorganize groups: Move items from "Other" to Miscellaneous, split Network Services into Network Servers and Network Clients, make the Apparmor entries one entry and move it to Security, make Virtualization entries one entry and move it to System, move Hostnames from Network Services to Network Devices and rename Network Devices to "Network Devices and Hostnames".
  • Improve the UI.

The Gnome CC is rahter pointless because its left navigation (?) is just superfluous (ok, there is now "Common Tasks"...).  Because YaST contains more groups and especially entries, we need a way to hide or collapse groups completely. (I do not like the KDE idea just to display a subset of the entries of a group.)

BTW, the worst thing about yast's gtk ui is the idea of sorting groups alphabetically. In English, happily "Hardware" comes before "Miscellaneous"...

icons/user_comment.png B. O. wrote: (8 years ago)


The AppArmor-group is annoying me for a long time. When it came into openSUSE I allready filed a bugreport (FATE was not openFATE yet). I think there are still some lessons in the card sort study.

icons/user_comment.png j. b. wrote: (9 years ago)

the split between kcontrol and yast is confusing

icons/user_comment.png R. M. wrote: (9 years ago)

This issue has already been discussed here : http://duncan.mac-vicar.com/blog/archives/452

icons/user_comment.png j. b. wrote: (9 years ago)

cheers for the info.

as long as they provide a non-confusing synthesis of the two related system management functions in a native QT4.5 environment i will be happy.

icons/user_comment.png A. B. wrote: (8 years ago)

In my opinion, it would be nice to split up YaST's Control Centre into two tabs

  1. Basic tasks: This tab should show a limited number of tasks (not modules) used frequently by a typical desktop user. The list might include things like: Set up a printer, Set up a TV card, Check for update, Install/uninstall software, Change system-wide network proxy, Configure date and Time, Add/remove user, manage network settings, view release notes, etc. Tasks might also be grouped into categories like hardware, etc.
  2. Advanced view: This is a separate tab that shows all the modules categorised into groups. This is equivalent to the present control-centre view.

By not presenting at first view a large number of icons with complicated names and advanced functionality (e.g. Kerberos client, AppArmor, Remote administration-VNC, etc.) the control-centre will prevent a typical desktop user from being overwhelmed, which happens with the present view. The task based list will also help in the sense that one generally thinks in terms of tasks when he/she starts up YaST to configure something. The advanced-view is also present (could use a check-box that says show advanced view by default in YaST for experienced people) for all other modules that might be necessary for specialised usage (like the kerberos client).

The present YaST Control Centre is overwhelming for a typical desktop user. Reorganising it so that it shows a task-based list at first view will help regular users appreciate the power of YaST and also importantly its simplicity. It is imperative that we concentrate on the average Joe desktop user in streamlining the interface while keeping in mind its versatility and strengths for the experienced user as well. I believe a reorganisation of YaST's interface along these lines will achieve that.

icons/user_comment.png K. E. wrote: (8 years ago)

The idea is quite good, but I'd avoid tabs.

I'd add two additional additional groups ("Favorites" and "Basics") and list them at the top of the left pane.

"Favorites" are meant to be populated by the user, just add two or three entries to make look it nice. "Basics" should contain 8 or 10 entries such as "Install/Remove Software", "Network Config", "Update Config", etc.

As a third group you could add "Recent Modules"...

After these two are three groups add a separator.

icons/user_comment.png A. B. wrote: (8 years ago)

>The idea is quite good, but I'd avoid tabs.

Why? Tabs might help separate the gui into two distinct views: basic and advanced. Isn't that useful?

However the Favourites and Basics groups you have mentioned also sound very interesting. My point in the above post was to have a view that lists tasks instead of modules, this in my opinion is important for useability. If the basics group as mentioned in your comment has tasks that would be great, the point being when we fire up YaST we are thinking "gotto change the proxy" or "have to add another user" or "have to set up my printer" as against when we are launching application-browser in Gnome for example where one is thinking "OK, let me start this image-editor". A task-based YaST would really help in my opinion, whether they are organised in a tab-based view or as groups as you mention (I actually like the group view more, but there should also be an advanced view which should be useful for the experienced users).

icons/user_comment.png K. E. wrote: (8 years ago)

> Tabs might help separate the gui into two distinct views: basic and advanced.

Maybe, it's useful. I think vertical space is precious. Screens are wide and wider, but often not that high. Really small screens are back with the NetBooks. And then, there is the ncurses YaST UI.

I think most things are already task based up to some degree. There is not just one single module called "software management", but there are also other entry point to software managing such as managing repositories or doing online update. The same is valid for networking stuff.

But it would be nice to add a search interface. The gtk incarnation comes with a filter option what is a start.

icons/user_comment.png L. H. wrote: (8 years ago)

YaST should IMO drop unnecessary module for which are there already good GTK/QT alternatives and keep only andvanced modules for network or servers or some specific HW

Last change: 8 years ago
Score: 54
  • Negative: 3
  • Neutral: 2
  • Positive: 57
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