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Hey all,

One thing that I've noticed is that we have a lot of great redesign
proposals floating around, but we have yet to establish a true direction
for the Libre Office platform.  Someone recently posted this video ( ) which really made me realize
the importance of having specific long-term goals for software design.
 Therefore, I wanted to propose a few simple goals that I think LibreOffice
ought to have for its design as we move forward (maybe even for the 4.0
release)  as well as the basic tenets that I think we can use to help
achieve these goals.  So, here we go:

*The Goals:*

   - *Make LibreOffice easy to use while retaining its power.*  This is by
   far one of the biggest complaints I have when I suggest that my clients
use LibreOffice - they don't understand where things are in the
   menu/toolbar hierarchy.  The best example of this is page margins.  The
   easiest way for a lot of my customers to find this is through the
   right-click menu.
   - *Lead current trends in technology, don't just follow.*  LibreOffice
   retains a layout that was first commercially phased out about four years
   ago.  While the Menu/Toolbar paradigm is an excellent way of displaying
   program features for less fully-featured software and smaller screens,
but let's face it - most desktop screens are no longer small and
LibreOffice is extremely full-featured.  Instead of copying another office
suite, let's pave the way for others to build on.
   - *Help people to be more efficient.*  This is really important if we
   want to get LibreOffice used in more businesses and schools, and is
   ultimately the best way to get any piece of software adopted.

*The Tenets:*

   - *Allow users to focus on the content, not the UI.*  The document
   viewport should never change size or lose/gain visibility due to pop-up
   dialogs or toolbars.  The only exception to this is menus, as users
expect these to overlap their document.  One major subset of this should
be live previews.  For instance, you have to click through Headings 1-10
individually to see what the differences are.
   - *Everything should be accessible within 3 clicks, not just the 'most
   common' features.*  This will help reduce the clutter while increasing
   users' mastery of the software.
   - *Consistent UI areas (not features) across all individual 'apps'.*
   Keep the UI as consistent as possible without sacrificing the
   features/functionality of any individual app (Calc, Writer, etc.).
   - *Value context over comprehensiveness.*  Users don't need to have
table tools up and at the ready when they only have text in the body of a
document selected.

I couldn't agree more with the propsal that we should be guided by principles. 
What I have found a little frustrating, by way of comparison to the 
developement of commercial software is the disconnect between genuine user 
requirements and development. What I think is consistently missing here is the 
next layer down from your excellent 'tennets'; user validated  requirements 
(not personal opinion or anecdotal observations). A corpus of well structured 
use cases, including those for the product architecture, will help us set a 
strategic direction. We should research requirements before too many folk 
pitch in with alternative designs and prototypes that may or may 
not be any kind of solution to users' real needs. It is precisely this which 
will make or break Libre Office and will set it apart from other office 

If we know what users want then we can stage implementation in deliverable 
chunks over several releases. There's no need to implement the whole deal in 
one hit. 

One final thought. If the current implementation or architecture is part of an 
impediment to realising a long term roadmap to a redesign, then that too 
should  appear as one of the tennets.
Let me know what you think of these and, in particular, how you would
change/expand on these.  This is just a very very rough draft (and very
well could be repeating itself or incomplete) of things that I see , but
ultimately LibreOffice isn't any one man's software, but rather
everyone's, so I invite everyone to put some thought into this and please
reply to this so we can come up with a general UX direction for this
incredible project!


P.S. Sorry for the re-post - I sent this just before the list changed
addresses, so I'm re-posting it with the new one!

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