A "Welcome" App for Haiku

It makes perfect sense, it gives instant information on a rather alien territory to the new user. Many software use this practice to help new users orientate themselves. Please don’t push your personal preferences as universally accepted practice.

Let’s make the UI weirder and out of ratio instead of neatly presenting information within a nice carousel. Makes perfect sense to me, I wonder why no one else thought of this before.

What gives?
I actually put arguments into my post, I don’t think you will convince anyone like that.

I’ve never seen any software on Haiku that practices shoving unasked help in your face

My prompt proposal avoids this.

Unless Quick Tour is going to be the only icon on the Desktop, I don’t see how this improves things. When the user is thrown into an unfamiliar environment they should be guided, not expected to figure out which icon out of five they should click - three out of which are some kind of document? If I want to figure out the OS should I open QuickTour, User guide or BeBook?

That would only work if the desktop background had a “Start here” pointing at QuickTour, preferably with some kind of movement to draw attention.

Look how Microsoft solved this in Windows 95, because they did usability studies for that OS.
There were two elements: Welcome to Windows (similar to Tipster) and a Start button - while it was not the only thing displayed on the entire screen, it was the only button on the Taskbar, because when there were three, they were confusing. [1] Not to mention the fact it was literally called “Start”. We have nothing like this.

[1] Last bullet point: Designing Windows 95’s User Interface – Socket 3

Because nobody performs grandma tests on software written for Haiku.

I am all for self-explanatory software that does not require reading the manual first, but we’re not talking about an application, we’re talking about an unfamiliar environment. Some compromises must be made.


i have performed Grandma tests for Haiku, it did not fail because of not finding the documents, but it did fail because half the OS was in English with a german locale set (including application names despite settings)
And the language picker for the docs beeing very hard to use.

Anyhow, if you prompt for a quick tour you still have not solved the discoverability option, the user will be stuck next time they need to access the quick tour because they did not open it.

If the naming of quick toor, user guide and bebook(why is that included?) and their position on the desktop is confusing they should be rearranged and renamed to make it more obvious what will happen If you use them.

Edit: Perhaps it is time to merge the quick tour and welcome guide pages as was proposed some times before


Yes, that would be a good idea - we can then work on improving the newly merged page.

Maybe we could modify the desktop background so that the icons for user guide and tour is highlighted

The documents linked on the desktop seems reasonable enough to me. People should know how to use a desktop. Someone mentionned the “click here to start” animation on Windows 95. At the time, the notion of a start menu was new. And the menu was small. You can see that they had already named the menu “Start”, but even that was not enough. So as a last resort, they went with this animation.

Desktop icons are different: it is a familiar way to do things, on both computers (Windows and MacOS) and phones/tablets (both Android and iOS).

I’m fine with removing the Be Book from the desktop tosimplify things a bit. But with the links on the desktop, if people don’t use them, I just assume that they don’t want to read documentation and be guided through things. And this probably won’t change because you make the icons big, or blinking, or open a fullscreen app on first boot (they will just close it), or make the app blocks everything else until they are done reading (they will just scroll through it without reading).

I don’t think there is anything more we can do here. People don’t want the help.

Also I think there is once again a case of distorsion by taking user feedback from people doing youtube reviews of Haiku. No one reviewing haiku will turn their video into “oh I will just read the documentation aloud to my audience”. And people who do videos usually assume they know a few things about computers (otherwise they would not be making videos to tell other people about it). If you want to check first contact with Haiku in real life, you’ll need to conduct a more serious user study, with a more diverse user set, and have the users try a few different solutions, probably.

My experience from the demo machines at fosdem is that people had no trouble finding the Terminal and starting to install or port their own software. And one of the common question is “is there a textmode?” Or “Is there a tiling window manager?”. This is another example of a user study with a biased set of users.


Official builds for the user and nightlys for the developer. Here it makes sense to have the bebook linked to the desktop.

Better for my feeling are a documemtation menu folder. But this discussion is over :wink:

I think a welcome app would be helpful for new people, there are enough people who are not familiar with computers.
I think that most of them then come into contact with the system that is widespread (Windows,Android, Mac), but nevertheless there would be a welcome app that works well after installation, i think it’s better than an icon on the desktop.
In the app, you should have the option of activating it when the system is started, or you can ask during the installation whether this should be carried out.
The app should be able to be opened with one click in the desk bar. It is true that many do not look to the help. There are enough new people who also read the help

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One of the most grave mistakes Linux desktop has ever made was estimating that everyone would be like the developers and wouldn’t care about the “normies”. Here I see the same attitude, you guys think that everyone should know how to use a desktop, well you are clearly underestimating “normies”. From a fair standpoint, even the “leaf” is not obvious that it is a clickable menu, and we are guessing that people would be fine with just icons on the desktop. Bigger percentage of regular people don’t care about the operating system, and they have no intention to learn one. They will just tell you to put Windows there. Haiku paradigms are different enough to warrant a clear and concise guide to direct people.

UX is important enough to not to leave on the hands of developers. Unless a developer comes and backs their UX claims with prior studies, I’m sorry, I can’t take any of you seriously people. BeOS was not even popular among normies for reasons not totally related to its UX, it was okay, but without a clear guide here, Haiku risks ruining it. It’s not necessarily happening, but the risk is still present. Just being the prophet of doom here, take it as you like. :slight_smile:


It is true that even the leaf isn’t necessarily intuitive. In fact, a 25 minute review of Haiku was uploaded just yesterday where the user struggled because they never found the menu. And this isn’t an isolated case, I have seen several just like this. It may seem bizarre that people can’t figure this out, but for many people these things just aren’t intuitive.

I think that at the very least, having the quick tour autolaunch on first boot would help quite a bit.


This video is actually like a textbook example of how a Windows-centric person’s encounter with Haiku would go like. Perfect. And all the struggles he encountered were valid improvable areas.

Nice Video. Here we see that could happens. We should remove the tracker and add all into the right mouse menu :slight_smile:

Then give them what they ask for. It is a bad idea to force them to use a system they don’t want to use. Even if you think it is better. This is not something we can fix with user interface design or by having a tutorial at the start that tries to sell the “yes, ok, it’s slightly different, but it’s better, you really should try it!”

This works both ways. If you think a tutorial app would improve things, this should also be backed by an UX study, and to me it is not obyious at all that it would work.

Also you are assuming that developers here know nothing about UX, which is just rude and just plain wrong for at leastsome of us. So can we stop to pit developers against ux people and try to work together?

Except, as I said in my previous post, it is a video review and the people doing that are only a small subset of our users, and they will want to dive into things by themselves, not spend time on screen reading documentation. Basing our UX study on that subset of users only creates a bias, and will end up with extremes and silly measures that are not really needed. Basically preventing them to do their video review immediately, and forcing them to go through the training first, because their mind is already set in doing an interesting video, and not in reading documentation.

We should really do an ux study with users that are not doing a video review, and it’s quite likely they will be more receptive to the idea of reading documentation.

This does not mean I think there is no problem with the ux design. Yes, the leaf menu is not discoverable. Yes, the dragger to move the deskbar needs to be reworked too, people who want it don’t know where it is, and people who trigger it by accident don’t know how to move their deskbar back. No one will argue against this, these are well known issues.

Now the discussion is on how we solve this. I am not convinced the “welcome app” will improve things a lot compared to the existing quicktour, in fact it is even worse if you make it show on first boot and then disappear forever. Help should be available at all times when the user decides they need it. Hence the current solution to have it always reachable on the desktop.

But having to read the docs or go the tutorial is already a failure. So we need to make it more obvious that the leaf menu is a menu. Again, no one is going to argue against that and it is a known problem. I would like to avoid something as extreme as the windows 95 “click here to start” animation. Before resorting to that, we can play with a lot of other things: label the button, make it more obvious that it is a button (by further improving our control look to make buttons stand out more), maybe rearrange things in the deskbar so it looks less like a header at the top of it or some kind of decorative element.

In Windows 95, they did all of this, and it still wasn’t enough. So they added the animation.

In Linux (in particular GNOME, I think) they went a different way: no matter what they tried, no one would go to that menu. So they removed the menu and made things accessible in other ways instead. For example right-clicking the desktop.

Since there are other discussions about integrating quicklaunch or something similar into the deskbar, we can use that opportunity to remove the Button No One Wants to See. Instead we can have a textfield, which 1) is more recognizable and 2) can easily be labelled with a “Search…” text or magnifying glass icon or similar. This is something users may be more likely to click. When they do so, we can pop our menu, and let the user type something to filter the menu.

Of course this should be studied with users (both experienced Haiku users and newcomers to the system (I don’t know what “normies” mean and I don’t like the implication that some users or developers are abnormal in some way, so I will not use this wording). I suspect experienced users may like the extra functionality to easily search in the menu, and newcomers will have a more obvious/discoverable widget instead of the current leaf logo.

I used this specific example of the leaf menu to show how an UX study should be conduced:

  1. identify the problem and the part of the users that is affected by it
  2. try to look for existing solutions in other systems (which is good, because a) probably they did some ux research already and b) users having experience with that other system will find their marks more easily)
  3. think of a solution, use the opportunity to see if we can solve a wider problem (I discussed two: integrating quicklaunch into deskbar, and reworking the control look to make buttons stand out more)
  4. implement and test with another run of ux study

…and of course at all points, no need to be condescending about users being bad at computers, or developers being clueless about ux design. This would just put everyone in a bad mood for no reason at all, and it’s distracting everyone from the actual problems.


I don’t understand this argument. If we’re talking about opening Quick Tour, the first thing it tells the user could be how to open it if it’s needed again. If we’re talking about welcome app, then most implementations actually always autostart them and have a checkbox to not do that.


What about tooltip. These can be annoying, but you could add a switch in the settings where you can turn them off.

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We can make the leaf blinking then the mouse not moved for some seconds. Like “hello here i am!”. Should to get the possability to deactivate in the settings.

The “leaf menu” has been around for about 20 years as it was in the time from BeOS, why change that?

An easy way is to rename the HaikuGuide to “Help”

The other easy way is to make a Background picture with Beginner help:

Here is the Background-Image for test:

Edit: It is called Deskbar, sorry but there could be 4 Workspaces for different Help-Backgrounds.

Unfortunatelly Haiku does not support Alpha-channel for the Background! Files with an alpha-channel will be filled with black.

That would be even nicer to be able to switch the Background-Colour together with the PNG-Picture.

Would be another nice enhancement if the Background-Desktop would be able to show notifications or been programmable…

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This is also a good way