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On Usability and User Experience of Free Software

KSysGuard: What are your requirements from a system monitor?

The KDE system monitor needs an update. In the first step we like to ask you to join the brainstorming about requirements. What do you want integrated into KSysGuard?

KSysGuard has been attributed as visually outdated and suboptimal in respect to its functionality. The competitors do have beautiful layouts that makes it easy to grasp the system state at a glance.

Task manager

From the usability point of view, there is no common layout or workflow. While Microsoft has a similar approach as KDE with different, tabbed views to the information (one process table with CPU, RAM etc.), Apple provides with the Activity Monitor a layout with tabs for the data sources but shows the history on every page. And command line tools like top merge it all together.

Microsoft published a nice blog post about the development of their task manager. Based on telemetry data Steven Sinofsy argues that applications and processes are more important than other information like networking. However, if the user cannot be deal with the shown information due to inappropriate visualization or missing functionality the feature will receive less interest.

So before we redesign KSysGuard we would like to start with a qualitative survey on the requirements. [Continue reading…]