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Usability issue : the dialog for adding keyboard shortcuts isn't clear
Keyboard Settings


Description Steve Dodier-Lazaro editbugs 2009-05-30 09:12:13 CEST
Created attachment 2378 
Screenshot of the problem

Hello people,

I'm adding this bug report because of what I consider a serious usability issue in the 'add keyboard shortcut' dialogs.

I noticed that a few people on #xubuntu and #xfce asked for help because they thought they could not add keyboard shortcuts, because they could only type the command and not the shortcut.

This is due to the way the first window (the one in which you add the command) is presented (see attachment 1 ). They think the second dialog is a "Done, click Ok without reading" dialog, or they dont even go past the first one because they don't understand why the "Shortcut:" part is "greyed out".

Instead of the current state (an empty "Shortcut:" text field), I propose the following :

The first window only contains "Command:", and possibly a notice in the bottom of the window, saying : "You can set the shortcut for this command on the next window".

Another way to make it easier would be to have the Command: and Shortcut: on separate windows, and to add a "First time" dialog (track this with xfconf ?) explaining the user that (s)he'll be asked the command first and the shortcut next.

Cordially, SD.

PS : i'm setting the severity to Major as I think it is indeed a major usability issue. Change it if you think it's wrong :P
Comment 1 Brian J. Tarricone (not reading bugmail) 2009-05-30 21:57:45 CEST
*** Bug 5415 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 2 Silvio Knizek 2011-10-04 10:27:13 CEST
Well, this problem still exists. There are several people per week asking how to set a shortcut. Please add a string in the second dialog so it will be clear that the user has to press the buttons.

Comment 3 Clement Cherlin 2011-12-07 17:50:07 CET
If at all possible, the second dialog should be eliminated entirely and the user should be able to set the keyboard shortcut in the first dialog.

Instead of the blank, gray space where it seems like a field should be but isn't, there should be a focus-able field that, while focused, accepts and displays the key combination the user presses.  This is the design of the keyboard shortcut setting dialog in many other programs.

The current design is unusual and has inadequate prompts for the user to understand how to use it. I thought it was broken at first and I was only able to use it after finding the instructions in this bug.
Comment 4 Eric Koegel editbugs 2012-02-11 21:40:36 CET
Created attachment 4188 
[PATCH] Added an Assign button to keyboard shortcuts dialog

Added an Assign button to the keyboard dialog when creating a new
shortcut. Clicking that button pops up the map key dialog instead
of after clicking the OK button.
Comment 5 Eric Koegel editbugs 2012-02-12 07:33:00 CET
Created attachment 4189 
[PATCH] Added an Assign button to keyboard shortcuts dialog

Just because I never get it right the first time around, I missed
a check if to ensure the shortcut was set as well as the command
before letting the command dialog return the OK. Fixed.
Comment 6 Jérôme Guelfucci editbugs 2012-12-20 00:23:55 CET
*** Bug 5079 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 7 Jérôme Guelfucci editbugs 2012-12-30 16:03:04 CET
The dialogs should be easier to understand in the current git master branch.

Bug #5414

Reported by:
Steve Dodier-Lazaro
Reported on: 2009-05-30
Last modified on: 2012-12-30
Duplicates (2):
  • 5079 window manager keyboard shortcut settings dialog usability issue
  • 5415 Adding an application shortcut misleading


Stephan Arts
CC List:
7 users



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