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Hi all,
On Tue, 2011-06-21 at 23:09 +0200, Bernhard Dippold wrote:

Hi Björn, all

Björn Balazs schrieb:
Hi all,

I am a little unsatisfied with the amount of individual threads going into
the direction of: "We need a new interface for LibreOffice - and it needs to
look linke this...".

For me they show the high interest of our team members in the UI design 
area. But you're totally right: We need to integrate the different 
proposals in general directions for UI improvements.

This is a Free Software Project. As a design team, we will not need to
convince ourselves about this need to change the GUI (we all agree on that),
we will need to convince the people actually doing (and financing) it - the
developers and the companies paying them.

Even if a large group of developers are paid by companies, there is 
another group coding on their own.

What we need are at least a few developers interested in UI design. If 
we can convince them, our ideas will become code and finally find their 
way into the product.

But if we can convince more than just a few developers by showing the 
needs our users to the entire community, this would get more developers 
interested and involved...

[... we should never argue about personal opinions ...]

So, how can we make this more productive?

Ideas are good, visualisations are even better. So let us find a way to not
comment on these, but to collect them with the goal of easy comparision with
eachother. A gallary of ideas and visualisations of the future LibO.

A gallery is great - but I'd rather think of a gallery of single UI 
improvements (with visualizations from different mockups) than of a 
gallery of the different mockups.

If several mockups contain sidepanes, similar context menus or context 
sensitive tools, these should be combined as features, based on user 
data (already existing or new to be reached for) and expert statements, 
decided on their positive/negative impacts and recommended for 
implementation based on a specification containing all the necessary 
information for the developers.

We should then try to extract the dimensions these ideas differ on. Knowing
these we can then again use user-centric methodologies to have the users
decide about what they like.

Of course user feedback is the most important quality measurement for UI 
modifications. But based on the user's likings it stays to us to decide 
which feature should be implemented in which way:

There are more than design aspects to consider (marketing, present user 
base, documentation, coding effort, interdependency with other areas of 
the product ...), users can't have in mind.

With this data we will have much less trouble to convince the code-sponsors
to go into a certain direction.

That's true - real user data are a very good argument to convince 
marketing and development ...

So - the main point I am argueing for is a gallery of interface ideas. Easy
to compare and on one spot. What do you think about this?


I'd start with a gallery of the already presented mockups
(perhaps with a short description of their features) and then go through 
this gallery and collect the single features for another gallery of UI 
elements / positions / ideas as a basic tool for our overall concept.

I don't know if a gallery or a table would fit our needs better.

While a gallery is easier to create and maintain, a table allows to add 
more fields than just one caption below each image.

With a gallery we probably need to go to the gallery entry's wiki pages 
to get the necessary information.

A table (containing mid-size images in one of their columns) would allow 
to add the features contained in the mockup, the rationale for each 
specific design element (if existing) and many more information.

On the other hand it's harder to write than just to the gallery.

Best regards


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Could we circulate the link to other LO lists and possibly post it on
the LO site for users to access? I was thinking of broadening our answer

I think you will have roughly three groups: those who prefer an improved
version of the current UI but with limited graphical changes; those who
prefer a more distinctive UI (there may be a few major groups here); and
finally those who are indifferent about the exact look as long as it
meets certain goals such being customizable, well organized.

Personally, I am most in the last group of being more interested in
meeting certain goals rather than the graphical layout itself. I would
prefer to let the layout be determined by specific design goals such as
user customization, being well organized. I do not object to a new
interface if it will meet these and similar goals nor do object to
keeping the current interface if these goals can be enhanced.

For Linux users, you are probably familiar the debate about the Unity
GUI (basically a customizable dock with indirect access to all the OS
features) versus the more traditional GUI interfaces that are similar to
Mac OS and Windows. I actually found a Linux version that combined
elements of both the traditional interface and customizable docks, a
middle of the road solution. Ironically, this version developed these
ideas based on user comments from installing Linux on user boxes. The
docks allow me to have access to the programs or folders I want quick
access to while the traditional elements allow me to use access
everything else the way I am have doing for years. 

I think we probably can combine the best features of the traditional UI
and newer ideas into a winning UI that the vast majority of users will
like. The key is the proper balance to obtain the most effective

Jay Lozier

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