Idea: To have oversight of (or at least be made aware of) highly visible projects.

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Thu Jun 25 14:53:26 BST 2009

Hash: SHA1

H S wrote on 24/06/09 22:40:
> Are you at all suggesting I re-post my message on the Desktop
> Experience Team's mailing list?

No, they're not working on the installer.

>> The Design team is aware of this, but we haven't had time to get
>> involved so far.
> Are you on the Design Team, and if so, do you feel we should re- post
> this discussion on their mailing list?

I am on the Canonical Design team. Ubuntu community teams
<> have public mailing lists.
Canonical-specific teams do not (just as Dell-specific teams do not,
HP-specific teams do not, Google-specific teams do not, etc).

>> I suggest having *one* illustration per slide, and making that
> illustration look non-rectangular...
> That sounds right to me.  Would you possibly consider taking the next
> step, and posting your comments to the slideshow mailing list?

Feel free to forward them on. :-) I really don't have time for another
mailing list, sorry.

>> Like every other team involved with Ubuntu, the Design team has
>> limited time. So part of our challenge will be to help other Ubuntu
>> contributors learn design processes and principles to use themselves.
> That is quite a challenge.  I can appreciate that your resources are
> limited.  I can also appreciate your "teach a man to fish" approach.
> I obviously have some interest in this - and obviously initiative,  to
> have not yet given up on this, after having posting to ubuntu-doc,
> then ayatana, and now desktop.  Can I, perhaps be a conduit for
> "help(ing) other Ubuntu contributors learn the design processes and
> principles themselves"?  How might I do so, I wonder.  I've sort of
> reached a "where do I go from here?" moment.

Your tenacity is impressive! Unfortunately there's no easy answer to
this. One thing you can do is to provide references to established
resources (such as the Gnome Human Interface Guidelines, or user
research from places like,, or whenever
relevant. Unfortunately there isn't yet a definitive reference for
determining that something is ugly.

>                                               I have ideas for
> improving the design of the slideshow, in addition to other projects,
> like the website, among others.  Is there a way I can
> become involved, and if so, how?  Perhaps the first step might be to
> highlight those projects which might need a lesson or two on design
> principles?

The Ubuntu Web site in particular has its own mailing list.

> Dylan McCall and I have been sharing ideas on
> but so
> far he's pretty much shot down every idea I've given.

No need to overstate it. Dylan's comments were quite reasonable and not
particularly negative.

>                                                        That's why I
> then turned to Ayatana, and now to you.  So, I guess I'm asking, where
> does a guy like me fit in - if at all?  Can Ubuntu use the interest
> and energy of a young man such as myself?  My interest is in seeing
> people have a positive, interesting, engaging, and intuitive
> experience of Ubuntu, from initial download and install, to
> maintenance and daily use.  I'd like to connect the people who are
> good at knowing how to design the user experience (like myself, or so
> I'd like to believe), with those who are actually implementing those
> pieces of the system.  Any suggestions of where I should go from here?

With user experience design it's harder to establish credibility amongst
fellow volunteers, because it's harder to measure the results. This is
just something you have to get used to.

One thing you might try is a heuristic evaluation or cognitive
walkthrough of a particular application, as I did with Pidgin and
Empathy for example <>,
reporting bugs on the problems you find. (For best results report a bug
on a specific *problem* and suggest a solution at the end, rather than
reporting a bug assuming a particular solution.)

If you have the opportunity, another thing you might try is informal
usability testing on particular tasks. One thing the Canonical Design
team hopes to do in the next few months is publish guidelines for
volunteers on how to carry out this kind of testing.

- --
Matthew Paul Thomas
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