KDE Network Manager: Details sorted

More than 800 people participated in our online sorting of the KDE Network Manager details. In this article we present the results.

Introduction

In the course of improving KDE Network Manager we asked you for your feedback on the importance of details of wireless connections. Our trigger was the problem to display the large amount of available details. Picture 1 shows the state of the interface at the time of the survey. This default interface currently only shows a fraction of the available details.

Picture 1: Current wireless details of KDE Network Manager

Picture 1: Current wireless details of KDE Network Manager

Demographic results

Once again we were impressed by the number of participants: 866 people started and 576 finished the entire survey. We still face problems to reach a representative sample of our user base though. The best indicator for this is the fraction of 1% women who took part in the survey. While we definitely have to tackle this problem, we still think the results are the best guess we have. We will hence use them for the further improvement of the design of the KDE Network Manager.

But first we want to share some more statistics with you: While almost all people used wired or wireless connections regularly only a third uses mobile and about 20% bluetooth connections. And there are actually Wimax users (1%). Interesting to see is 45% of the users actually use VPN – security seems to be more and more important.

As always, all results are accessible on the Open Usability Plattform UserWeave.

Sorting the wireless details

When it comes to the importance of details of a wireless connection, the results are pretty clear:

Picture 2: Results of the prioritization of wireless connection details.

Picture 2: Results of the prioritization of wireless connection details.

There is quite a big gap of about 2 points between the need for ‘connection speed’ (~7) and ‘wireless mode’ (~9). In between stands the ‘speed graph’, which takes a kind of a special role in this place, as the graph cannot be well integrated into the list of details.

Adopting the interface

Taking the results serious, we want everything that scores better than the ‘speed graph’ to be immediately visible for the user. Everything else should be accessible with as few clicks as possible. To achieve this we doubled some information into a tool-tip. This will of course only be an advantage for non-touch-users. We replaced the ‘connected’-statement in the current interface by the IP address and information about the current connection speed. Also, seeing the large amount of different information available for a single wireless connection we propose to split this information up into the sections ‘My computer’, ‘Speedgraph’, ‘Connection’ and ‘Router’.

Take a look at the proposed mocks of the detailed views for KDE Network Manager:

Picture 3: Optimizing the interface (neglecting how to open the details, icons are placeholders)

Picture 3: Optimizing the interface (neglecting how to open the details, icons are placeholders)

Next to your comments and ideas below, we would just like to get some feedback on the sections we propose for displaying detailed information.

How do you like the proposed division of connection details in the mocks?

View Results

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Please share your ideas and comments with us, so we can continue to improve the KDE Network Manager even further.