I installed Fedora 19alpha on my laptop the other day, and I have to say that Fedora's GNOME desktop has really lost me. I don't expect things to change in Fedora 19beta. In my opinion, the last usable version of GNOME was version 3.4 in Fedora 17. And that's barely usable, but things get better if you use some of the plugins.
Fedora 19 will include GNOME 3.8 as the graphical desktop, and I've noted elsewhere that GNOME 3 has poor usability. (My graduate thesis is on the usability of open source software.) The developers at GNOME have continued their downward usability trend, so Fedora 19 isn't getting any better. GNOME 3 fails to meet two of the four themes of successful usability: "Consistency" and "Menus". Where are the menus? There is no "File" menu that allows me to do operations on files. There is no "Help" menu that I can use when I get stuck. The updated file manager (Nautilus) doesn't have a menu, but other programs in GNOME 3 do. The Gedit text editor (which is also part of GNOME) still has menus, but the file manager does not. When you maximize a Nautilus window, either to the full screen or to half of the screen, the title bar disappears. I don't understand why. The programs do not act consistently.
I will give a positive comment that the updated file manager now makes it easier to connect to a remote server. This used to be an obvious action under the "File" menu, but in GNOME 3 it is an action directly inside the navigation area. So that's a step in the right direction.
I've only discussed the file manager here, but I'm sad to say that this is just one example of poor usability throughout GNOME 3.8 in Fedora 19alpha. While some areas of the Fedora 19alpha desktop seem familiar, the environment contains many areas where I was left confused. Programs act differently; there's very little consistency. And the updated desktop environment seems to avoid familiar "desktop" conventions, tending towards a "tablet-like" interface. This further removes the obviousness of the new desktop, and it's familiarity.
The worst offender is the Fedora 19alpha installer itself. Maybe they fix this in Fedora 19beta, but I doubt it. Fedora used to have a very simple, easy-to-use installer. You answered a few simple questions using point-and-click or drop-down menus, then the installer did everything else for you. For example, let's say your computer was set up to "dual boot" both Fedora Linux and Microsoft Windows. Previous versions of the Fedora installer would give you the option to install over your previous Linux installation, or set up the install disk configuration yourself. The latter phrase may be more meaningful to someone with more technical knowledge, but the former is easily recognized by users of all skill levels to mean the same thing.
In the Fedora 19alpha installer, everything has changed. (Actually, I believe this changed in the Fedora 18 installer.) The installer now presents a yellow warning label that the disk doesn't have enough room. When I clicked into the disk setup tool, I was given the option to "reclaim" space, but I really didn't understand what that meant. There was no button or other option to "install over my previous Linux installation," despite the fact that this laptop only had Linux on it (an older Fedora 17 install). If I were a user with "typical" knowledge and "average" skill, I would likely be afraid to use this installer, lest it do the wrong thing.
The installer's progress bar is equally confusing. Usually, when a program displays a progress bar and a message to indicate the percent complete (such as, "Installing 50%") you might expect the progress bar to indicate the same "percent complete" as the text message. Not so during the Fedora 19alpha installation. The installer (Anaconda) displayed a message that it was installing system software, and it was "50%" complete, yet the progress bar displayed something like two-thirds complete. I quickly decided not to trust the progress bar. And it's a bad sign when your users decide not to trust your software.