review, I took some time and my application design experience to write a little about the user interface. Do not be overwhelmed as it is easy to write about but programming is a different discipline. I understand this. The program is excellent as it stand, I can use it. I simply wanted to let you know a future direction to a better usability because your product is quality. These changes will make end users understand and use Ubuntu easier.
As a software developer with expertise in User Interface design, I do have some opinions on how I would like to improve the product. Seriously, a good review of the features.
a) take out the extra 'funny' type words from all system messages and menus.
- like removing exclamation or punctuation marks from menu items.
- try to shorten the words within the help tips to one line.
- Move real help tips to an overlay window for official help documentation standards. This can be built in,
however separate the information into a new window. I envision a transparent HTML style textual overlay.
Just compress the HTML into a file and reference it from within the APIs.
- reconfigure the main portal of the interface.
- usually within usability standards it is most useful to limit the amount of functional information being used within
- for example to reconfigure the main configuration window, there are four major chunks of the application.
Current Items, Add-Ons, Configuration and Themes.
So functionally these should be categories listed upon the right side of the interface.
Nice big square boxes with Icons going vertically or within a grid in the main windows.
They should be labelled:
Docks, Plug-ins, Preferences, Theme, About and Close.
- a huge mainstay and exciting development opportunity that will excite
modern users is transitioning between these contexts.
- make the transition a fluid animation. but short, less than two or three seconds.
- upon changing the context to one of the 4, the interface should result in a
full dialog of the functionality selected: Docks, Plug-ins, Preferences, Theme, About or Close.
(it may be desirable to keep the apply and close buttons at the lower right as well as having a cancel button.
The measurement of the buttons should fit within a specific rectangle domain. Current size too small.)
- at the top of this view, a return to home button to go back to the main menu on the left with a help button on the right.
- another very important button is an Undo button at the top. This can be until the last save. Keyboard operation uses CTRL + Z.
- within each of the views, a major difference should exist to visually cue that
particular context. This can be accomplished by changing the title bar text or by changing the background
image to have a slight alpha transparent image iconic of the task. (very slight)
Functionality of each view:
The docks functionality is where users can configure items on a particular dock as well as add new docks.
The user interface usability leads to first selecting which dock the user is going to configure.
Most users will find that one or two docks are sufficient to operation. Therefore, a drop down
combo that lists the docks currently active will be used to change the inner context. The current implementation
is also very functional in that it is a tree control.
An important feature is adding new items, positioning them within a list and assigning icons and animation effects.
- operations of the tree control should include keyboard operations to reorder the list,
insert new items, and remove items from the list using standard keyboard keys arrow keys, shift, control, insert key and delete key.
- cut copy and paste items.
- in place editing of the item's name within the list. typically refined as the f2 key or single click upon the name.
- as with the current system, when the selection changes upon the item, the detail panel currently called "Desktop Entry"
reflects the item's details.
- within the Desktop Entry panel, change this name to "Item" without an icon.
- add an 'Advanced' or 'Extras' tab at top next to "Desktop Entry" or now "Item"
- within desktop entry panel, label the items with less text. Thus more simply
having the four fields: Parent Dock, Title, Icon, and Command.
- have the ability to select an application for the command field from known applications or
build the parameters for a particular command.
- the Icon field should also have selections from a bank of icons easily as well as a path to a browsed file.
Users like nice pictures, so the opportunity for an integrated internet image search from a Cairo icons database,
local images. Display preview of the selected item large. - Provide image editing effects such as photo editing,
and background transparency edits (currently edge lasso select and delete operation). The ImageMagick library provides
use APIs for accomplishing this. Link to external image editors installed
on system for ease of work flow.
- provide storage for icon specific animations. This is users want to beautify their desktop states.
The Plugin functionality currently named Add-Ons works well. User's turn on plugins by checking the box.
- a possibility for the information architecture exists to have a combo box at the top for category.
- Changing this ComboBox will provide smaller lists within the plugin listview.
- the opportunity to provide an internet database of these items that is updated.
- search for plugins listed within the database.
- with this functionality of database of plugins, search it makes more sense to
have two lists within the interface. a) currently installed and or active and
b) additional new ones.
- The recommended User Interface design for this functionality is to separate
the adding and installing of new plugins into a new tab. Therefore
I would have two tabs on the Plug-ins context named
Active and Install New.
- The Active tab will have a combo box at the top to separate category,
upon selection change the list of active items will change. The list
within the category combo box is limited only the types of plugin categories
currently installed. - selecting the plugin will display the information
preview page for the plugin on the right side.
- I would change the information plugin display to be an HTML5 display (but adding browser functionality may be weighty =
I know that there are small browser implementations for types of display.)
- the Install New tab will contain a list gathered from a database. The list could be
prefetch local cache. For fast browsing.
- the opportunity exists for a smooth download, installation, licensing agreement and purchase.
- filter installable developed plugins for quality and assurance (security).
- I would make sure the list does not
resize when selecting different plugin (plugin addon preview information).
Within the plugin category I would add a couple to the list. Common in modern day is browsing by preview.
Since I have a list of books, each with covers, the folders plugin is used to display the directory where I store
my books. Yet there are specific operations for a library of books and reading of books. So a better integrated
solution would be the ability to have an integrated library that displays a scalable view port of books installed
of multiple eBook formats. Integrate reading services for opening (a specific viewer that works well in desktop environment),
pagination preview, book marking, historical positions, zooming (ctrl mouse wheel), and subject searching.
Modern users are media consumers. They have videos, games, songs and images stored upon their hard drive. Plugins that
let you easily catalogue, preview, batch operate upon (play lists - even odd color lists , artists, song audio normalization, equalizer, video playback
are useful. Integration with cell phones that have mp3/4 and mp3 players is a great feature.
It is a complex task to support all of these media formats. Therefore, it is worth looking at
using a VNC client integration. Integration of audio and video purchase with the appropriate interface is a desire.
- cell phone control, tablet control - transfer information, schedule, calendar, a dial live applet. additional plugin within firefox to
dial numbers or start a mail envelop print procedure from addresses within page. The applet is within another application domain
but it makes good user desktop sense. So a good way for your team to integrate browsing interface to plugins within cairo.
- the application's menu plugin should have a small adjustment of timer mouse operation. Sometimes a user will not move the cursor directly
horizontal when selecting items within a sub menu. A millisecond timer to change menus is appropriate for usability. So when the
mouse reaches to open sub menu, the new off track one is not opened. - adjustable time located in preference
- integrate mouse wheel functionality
- sound ticks
- start typing focuses upon search field.
- terminal plugin should allow right click or clicking upon plus to add a new window.
- subdocks (plugins) should detach and attach as mouse draggable moveable items. Keyboard equivalent
- modern users want a way to publicize information securely. Push information to to a book stored within a content management system, publish html files,
or create a web site and generate phone apps fore their friends. Some modern methods for phone apps are cordova. Using cordova requires a lot of setup and installation
There is a way with the write Java byte code formatting and binary output to simply put information into a template application and package it for deployment.
The applet will be "native" and supported. A phone building plugin that lets users communicate with one another either through HTML or native code could be useful
for modern socialization. Well tested interface and deployment publishing for android, blackberry, fireOS and HTML is nice. Just drag and drop media assets with a
little typing and presto - phone apps.
- small businesses like restaurants need it too,
- integrate a browser as a sub-dock view.
- downloading progress quick view graph. That is, sometimes I will issue a few downloads within the browser, minimize and continue to work on other things like coding or reading.
it would be great if I could quickly mouse over to see the downloading progress.
- In general, the ability to have a progress for any application that requires long computation or network time would be beneficial. IE like rendering movies with blender, batch database operations etc.
- is there a generalized system of progress reporting?
- small behaviour change or preference setting to hide sub-docks when another application gains focus by user interaction.
- ability to change to shut down menu to one of the list types, eg I would like to use the rainbow layout.
- add slight nuance sounds like click, or tap for realistic use. These sounds play at low volume.
- user can configure start-up sounds for particular applications. Sound when starting to load or when completely loaded, sound when
window activated through any desktop action and when shutting down.
- currently the configuration tab
- settings of main application
- ability to configure start-up parameters
- configure OpenGL parameters
- add more animations.
- the ability to be a choice of accessibility.
- some features of accessibility are useful to all like zooming in upon a particular folder view. The sizes should remain
saved after setting them.
- voice input recognition.
- when using the system windows switcher, Cairo shows.
- Select theme as with existing.
- selection shows preview of user's current docks as new.
- sometimes user's edit the main dock and then apply a new theme. It seems that new themes
subtract some of these edits. The user's additional preferences should stay within the docks
but the appearance of the dock should change. If the new theme contains additional plugins
activated, and the theme is changed back to one that does not include the plugin -
it should be turned off.
- what app does, version, dependencies, support information.
- The application development team.
- tool that lets a developer submit a plugin to repository for free or purchase, A reviewed process.
- exists the window