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This thread makes me wake up from my silence for few months.
I've already given up on working in the design team, because it's useless, but I wanted to express some comments and provide a clear answer to K-J.

Thanks to Mateusz Zasuwik for his strong feedback !
But I see that there is no real reactions.

Le 24/10/2013 13:06, K-J LibreOffice a écrit :
Hi Kendy, Mirek, *,
Am 15.10.2013 10:45, schrieb Jan Holesovsky:


Terribly sorry - best to keep me CC'd for quick turnaround :-)

I was more looking for a wallpaper (as K-J suggests) or the 'welcome
information' (as Cor said) - I think it gives better first time
experience than a 'no recent documents found'...

Sorry for not being clear in my request :-(

What happened with the whole thing? It was somehow lost in discussion.

First, I just want to say that what happens for the start center is a huge fiasco for LibreOffice. It clearly shows that there is no design process : - a subject is thrown for GSOC without any initial work, studies, validated UX design, prototype, nothing. Just "It would be useful to present few recently used documents there (as thumbnails), and do more fancy stuff." [1] And all others GSOC subjects (with UI/UX part) are the same.

- a student starts to code, without any information about UI/UX

- the student then wants to enhance UI/UX and makes some completely improvised assumptions about what users expect [2]. In this thread, you can read that Mirek starts a design whiteboard at the end of July, half time of GSOC.

- he codes what he wants (because there is no roadmap, no blueprint...)

- at the end of GSOC, the start center is unfinished, the UI/UX brings lot of regressions. Worst of all : some huge lacks in a11y.

Do we
- use the proposal Mateusz gave us?

While being a very good proposal, it is based on broken foundations.
However, it shows that a skilled/professionnal designer can quickly propose very interesting mockups, even if the designer seems to be a graphist (not a UX designer).

- make any proposal of a sc-"wallpaper"?

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean .
If it is about proposals to add some background image (ie wallpaper), then it's just some painting on a broken wall, so it's useless.

- announce it?

No !

- start other things?
- left it all?

I propose to mix those 2 points :
- revert the code of the new start center : LO4.2 should keep the LO4.1 start center
- start a new process to design a new new start center :
   - involve devs, QA team, a11y team
   - ask some users (specially from MIMO [3])
   - should enhance the current start center or create a new one ?
- clearly define a UI/UX design (with prototypes), validated by every team
   - only then, start to implement it

It is a standard process when you want to build anything (a physical product, a building...).

The way LibreOffice is developed today is the best way to shoot himself in the foot :
- don't listen to users (is it the Gnome way of doing ? [4])
- no roadmap (Charles clearly said that [5])
- incoherent UI/UX [6][7]
- schizophrenic behavior in design team [8]
- ship unfinished/undesigned features (template manager for LO4.1, and today the start center)

All this make me feel desperate about LibreOffice. Really. And the facts are here :

As most users start switching to online and mobile version, there is no free office suite to compete GDocs or Office365 or Office for iOS/android. (where is LibreOfficeOnLine ? it would have been one answer).

Now back to my silence for a long time.


Michel Renon



[3] MIMO is related to some french administrations that are users of LO.
You can ask Arnaud Versini (dev/qa team) who knows some of them.

The last paragraph is abysmal :
"and since i understand why people react this way, i can smilingly fall back in my chair and enjoy reading mean comments with a bag of popcorn."

[5] : "When it comes to the reliance of Java, there does not seem to be a master plan either. To be honest, we at LibreOffice do not really like master plans. Why? Because we know that a true Free and Open Source Software project works through its community, and a diverse community of contributors simply has a diverse set of interests otherwise known as “itches to scratch”. Therefore we don’t tell contributors to develop this or that. Patches are submitted and unless they break stuff, do not work with the existing codebase or simply suck, we accept them. That’s why this community does not and cannot work based on a master plan."

[6] design team should realize that users are mostly on Windows.
Here are the download stats for OpenOffice : (see graph 'Trend in OS') : ~90% windows, ~9% mac, ~1% linux. I guess it should be similar for LO. So it may not be a good idea to force a Gnome UI for LO. Maybe something neutral, or something that can be adapted for each OS.

[7] just an example of last minute changes : the last proposal by Mirek for start center (no personal offense) :
- move a toolbar at the bottom : why ? pro/cons ? has it been validated ?
- remove the menu bar : is it technically doable ? what are the side effects ? Is it ok for all OSes ?...

[8] some devs integrated the sidebar (from IBM/AOO) without telling other teams (design, qa...). Currently the design design team is divided between pro and opponents to the sidebar. There is absolutely no information about what will be the future of the sidebar in LO. Nothing good can be built with such a situation.

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