more, Ubiquity Slideshow for Ubuntu

Dylan McCall dylanmccall at
Tue Jun 16 18:49:16 UTC 2009

> What a great discussion!  I'm happy to be a part of it.
> After reading all the comments, here are some of my thoughts:
> * When the user ends the slideshow, it should show one last closing
> slide.  That slide should mention how the user can locate the
> slideshow after they boot into their new system.  It should also
>  remind users of the permanent documentation that is on the system.

The current 'last' slide before it loops to the beginning (called
"documentation") will do this in the real thing, triggered only when
installation is completely finished. For the time being, it's not so
clever. Do you think it has the right stuff?
I was thinking some kind of non-critical intermediate slide, that
appears after all the slides have shown but before the installation has
finished, could be in order, but what goes in there needs some

> * For bookmarking slides, I like the idea of clicking on a little star
> for "remind me about this later!".  I think that is far better than
> requiring the user to go grab pen and paper, which seems kinda clunky
> to me.
> * I still say the slides are too small.  They show much a small
> portion of the screens to which they refer, that only a seasoned
> Ubuntu user would recognize them.  Instead of 3 slides per page, just
> use one or two, and make them larger, so we can at least recognize
> what they are showing.  Also, we can take a page from the Apple
> notebook here:  minimalism.   Less is more.

I have /almost/ been convinced of bigger screenshots. They could
definitely be made a tad taller and a tad wider, at the expense of white
space, and the third screenshot isn't really necessary very often. I've
been meaning to test the thing with multiple rows and smaller numbers of
screenshots. I think it could do fine fluctuating that while still
maintaining the all-important visual consistency of margins and borders.
Making them taller at least may do well.

Still, one thing to keep in mind is file size. Today's screenshots hover
around 10kb each, which is reasonably tiny but adding more could add up
to an undesirable file size...
Lots will need to be redone later on, so that could be a nice
opportunity to scale them up.
The header could be trimmed. Footer is now reserved for a star button
and very reluctant looking arrows, I guess. (Although I think I'll hold
until Lively Lemur for any star button. Maybe a neat feature would be
copying stuff from the live cd into the user's new account, making the
star button much easier to implement).

Having a full size picture as the background would be ideal, but until
stereoscopic screens are the norm I think we'll have to pass on it.
Either the text or the screenshot would conflict. Pretty, artsy
backgrounds, though, may be quite nice :)

I did have huge sized screenshots with an earlier version that used
SVGs. The problem was I wanted to draw peoples' attention to particular
things, which meant the screenshot had to be really huge to have
everything I wanted them to see. Bigger than the very tiny slide,
basically. The screenshot was thus scaled, which made it fuzzy, ugly,
meaningless and unpleasant. That's kind of going off topic, but the
bottom line is bigger screenshots are not /always/ better.

Something I really like with the awesome 3 thumbnails idea is it
encourages a design where screenshots are not scaled; they are cropped
out at full size from an existing picture. (If necessary, one can trim
and move parts of screenshots to make them fit closer together, but
still at full size).

> * As for slideshow pausing, you're using Scriptaculous, right?  I just
> Googled "Scriptaculous slideshow pause", and found
> Here is one
> for jQuery:  They support
> pause-on-hover.

Yep, it is using Scriptaculous via another nifty little script. Thanks
for the link :)

> * I beg your pardon if I am taking this out of context, but your
> comment about the accessibility slide being "boring" seems uncalled
> for.  That is the same slide which states, "At the core of the Ubuntu
> philosophy is the belief that computing is for everyone and access
> should be free and complete whatever your economic or physical
> circumstances."  I don't understand why you would single this slide
> out for ridicule.

Oh, it's a heartwarming slide for sure! By "boring" I mean that it isn't
relevant to a lot of users, but the people who would benefit from it
benefit a lot. (And I guess it's a nice case where the "Remind me later"
button would be really cool).

This is something I'm a bit afraid of, because if that "boring" slide is
up for too long the user will take us up on our offer of fun games and
miss all the other cool stuff. Come to think of it, perhaps customizing
fonts could be moved into the Accessibility section.

> * I rarely read the release notes, so I think a "what's new" slide
> would be great.  We're talking one slide here.  Surely something could
> be put together without causing complete panic, no?  It doesn't need
> to include every little thing, just the big changes.

Hehe, okay. That would actually be a good way to briefly introduce the
6-month release cycle, too, and maybe even the upstreams. Or maybe it
could go into the welcome slide. If it doesn't, that frees up the whole
bottom area for something. Oooh, the choices!

By the way, I was originally doing this by smashing stuff into trunk
like a lunatic. Since I think there's enough people paying attention
now, I'm going to adopt a more sensible approach of creating slides in
their own branches and then putting up merge proposals, so if I come up
with a really bad idea it will get noticed and vapourized.

> * Q: Should the slideshow also be used to give the user a 'heads up'
> to what portions of the install process still lay ahead, what
> questions and decisions they could be thinking about, etc.?  If we
> include these slides, they should appear in the install slideshow
> only, and not on the permanent slideshow that resides on the installed
> system.

I have, in the ReadMe, a note that text in the slideshow should be aware
of its present surroundings. Which means yes, if it's in the installer
it should know that it is installing, that there's a menu to the top
left and the person behind the screen is now an Ubuntu Linux user. That
risks a slightly ugly assumption that it is in the live cd environment.
(Little extra bridge to cross for the straight graphical installer it
gives you the option to run from that disk).

This is also extra incentive to not write angry text, because it's so
intelligent that it could jump to life and form SkyNet at any moment.

> * Q: Should the slideshow direct people to a community-maintained
> webpage (therefore not officially-sanctioned) which lists popular
> and/or recommended post-install procedures (eg. choosing a local
> repository, running important security updates, and then possibly such
> things as installing ubuntu-restricted-extras, enabling commercial DVD
> playback, etc.)  I think some of these things are very important for
> new users to be made aware of.

I don't see the purpose of telling people to install
ubuntu-restricted-extras or Flash, since Firefox and the media players
are meant to do that themselves. Still, the last slide should point
people to community help information. (Which currently the first slide
does. That needs fixing).

I don't know if the release team would like something that says "use
Medibuntu!" in such a prominent place.
Does the offline documentation do this?
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