[ubuntu-art] Thoughts on future interface/artwork

PetriceanuA kamionn at gmail.com
Sun Feb 25 14:46:53 GMT 2007

OK, this is my first post over here. Is this the right place to post this?

I have been browsing ubuntuforums.org for a while, especially the Feisty development section. Have been an enthusiastic Ubuntu user since Dapper. I was quite satisfied then with the interface, however, I have seen that no major interface changes have occured since 6.06 and can predict that Feisty will be no exception. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but the artwork team should be doing a much better job especially now, when more and more users are switching to Ubuntu. The artwork evolution is stagnating, the only new and nice idea I have seen is the Edgy beta artwork which did not make it to the final release unfortunately.
Even though Ubuntu's interface can be easily changed in a second, but when switching to Linux from Windows for example, first impression means quite a lot. And by first impression I mean the default interface, which appears in all kinds of reviews, screenshot galleries and at ubuntu.com. If we take the average Linux newbie, he/she listens to his/her heart [interface] not to the real things [performance, stability etc.] because he/she does not have technical knowledge on this area. How should he/she know about Beryl and Compiz or other stuff? We are tlaking about newbies here and Ubuntu is mainly targeted to newbies and intermediates. And many distros like Sabayon for example have more default eye candy than Ubuntu has, and since bandwith is cheap nowadays, users might prefer it more.
In ubuntuforums.org I have visited the topics about the new artwork Feisty has, and noticed that the most critiques were referring to: 
-the lack of consistency in startup GUI [boot+GDM+desktop]
-the pinkish colors
-the lack of process log on the bootscreen
-the exaggerated and useless simplicity of the panels and wallpaper

So I've grabbed Photoshop, and after an hour and a half and several snacks and 2 liters of coke I've came up with these.

1. The bootup screen (http://img407.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ubuntubootaltyd7.png)
As you see, it is very minimalistic. I have read that less content on the bootscreen reduces boot time, so only the ubuntu logo and the progress bar is displayed. The event log only shows the current operation Ubuntu handles and can be deactivated by pressing <F2>.
The progress bar takes the full width of the screen, and by increasing its length, users get the impression of higher speed as the progress bar advances quicklier than on the current bootscreens. Very slick.

2. The GDM theme(http://img404.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ubuntuloginaltie8.png)
On all OS releases except Mac OS X it can be notuced a gaping hole between the bootscreen and the login screen. In order to solve this problem on Ubuntu, I opted for a black GDM theme. The Ubuntu logo is in the same position, now has a very subtile reflection, and on the right side it is grouped the login information and the text box with a nice fade in the background. All users need to know can find here, the options menu and the computer info is near, so it is more visible, and no large mouse moves are necessary to turn off the computer for example. You see the subtile chocolate curves in the background? They are part of the consistency. The GDM theme has a lighter overall feeling, the whole interface gets lighter as the user advances trough the starting-up process.

3. The splash screen(http://img81.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ubuntusplashalt3ra3.png)

4. The desktop(http://img93.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ubuntudeskaltba3.png)
The overall desktop is friendly. The wallpaper uses the colors of cherry wood/chocholate, which users can feel more close to the home feeling than the alien pinkish hue Feisty currently has. Now, as the starting-up process is over, the desktop is fully enlightened and ready for the user to work on. See the three curves on the wallpaper? They were included (in a darker hue) in the GDM theme. Now the panels have background. Very subtile. Very consistent.

I think a linux user's first encounter with a new edition of an OS and the first time he/she boots up is on of the most marking moments of using an OS. The interface presented above is high to that challenge, and makes the user's first impression a quite good one.

See my original topic on ubuntuforums.org >>> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=369414
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