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Re: New "Tux Paint" available
> Tux Paint alpha release "2002.06.17a" is now available.
Very cute! My son is now 11 and highly GIMP-literate - but when
he was much younger, he played with Xpaint (which is somewhat similar
to your program), I noticed some things that you might find useful:
* Try to do without text - the kids at the lower end of your age
range hardly know their letters - let alone the meanings of things
like "Undo" and "Redo". (I always liked "OOPS!" instead of "Undo"
and "Byebye!" instead of "Quit" anyway).
* Try to avoid two-step operations - like picking 'Paint' and then
choosing the paint colour or picking 'Stamp' and then the stamp shape.
Again, at the lower end of your age range, they'll want to stamp a
picture of Tux or something, and remember that the stamp was over to
the right somewhere - but find it hard to associate pushing a button
way over on the left to make that happen.
It would be better if the stamps were always there and if instead of
having 'Paint' and a row of colours, you had just a row of coloured
paint brushes and a row of coloured shapes and a row of coloured 'Abc's
so that you select the tool and the colour of the tool all in one go.
Admittedly, this leaves you with a problem when it comes to THREE
step operations (Pick 'Paint', pick 'Green', pick the Round brush).
This takes up more screen space - but I think it's worth it.
* Instead of loading and saving, it's interesting to think of
simply auto-saving on every program exit and every 'New' operation
and providing a visual browser to access a list of thumbnail pictures
in chronological order. Dealing with filenames is an impossibility,
and even at age 11, my kid has trouble thinking of good names and
remembering them again in the future.
I just *hate* the floods of tears whenever an "important picture"
goes missing - either because it wasn't saved or was overwritten -
or accidentally 'New'ed.
With disk drives in the multi-Gigabyte range, and the easy-compressability
and low resolution of most kid pictures (maybe not if they use a lot
of stamps) - you should be able to store all the pictures a kid would
ever reasonably produce.
I really liked the nice bold words at the bottom of the screen so the
child may come to associate the picture of moon stamp with the word 'MOON'.
It would be an interesting project to think of how to gently transition
a child from TuxPaint to GIMP. Maybe some TuxPaint options to make it
look and feel like something partway between the two?
Anyway - I'm sure this will be a hit even as it stands right now.
----------------------------- Steve Baker -------------------------------
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