UbiquitySlideshow specification Wiki page shock and horror

Dylan McCall dylanmccall at gmail.com
Wed Jul 22 02:46:47 BST 2009

> Personally, I think we should be covering concepts rather than
> specific applications.  The original specification [1] spoke of
> community, free software, in place upgrades, 10,000+ packages, and so
> on.  These are things that are better expressed in icons rather than
> screenshots.  But rather than go back and forth on that, I'd like to
> get a first cut of this out the door so we can get it into the archive
> and on the CDs.

Okay, it isn't done yet by any means, but I've pushed the first bit of
this and split the screenshots stuff to another branch. I'm feeling more
optimistic about the simplifying all of a sudden, but it will need to
happen quite quickly now :)

Something that I found slightly inspirational to begin with was Apple's
introduction screens for iLife and iWork 08. When a user first opened a
piece of software, he was greeted by a screenshot of the program, with
arrows pointing to different parts of the interface explaining what they
could do for him.

I noticed that iLife 09 abandons this approach, going for a much simpler
thing. Basically an icon and text that says "the best way to get to know
$app is to see it in action." The intro screens are identical between
all the apps, always mentioning (but not linking to) the documentation
they want people to see.
Why, of course! They have good documentation for end users, so it's
completely logical to encourage them to look at it. I think we can do
the same, and in our case I think it's important to really stress the
web resources, like answers.launchpad.net and the wiki, we always want
new users to look at. Further, showing a full screenshot of an app that
is actually open to be used and explored already is a bit silly; the
"it's easy enough that it documents itself" mantra is a good one, and
the first solution should always be to fix the app, not the

I think Apple lost something there, too. Now a new user may not know
what an app is for until he opens it, closes that intro window, finds
the Help menu and watches an introduction video. The intro windows are a
bit too vague to be of much use. We can fit in the middle.

I like the side bar they have, where they mention video tutorials and
tech support. We have a bit of extra white space, so depending on how
things shape up with writing, it may be interesting to throw some
information to the side as well. (I need a margin to keep text away from
the icon anyway, and having SOMETHING to break stuff up, in the absense
of a pretty background picture, would be really good).

What do you think would happen if I threw in icons from Breathe? They
tend to look a bit prettier than the Human ones on their own, which may
be nice here. The downside is they sometimes use different objects. Do
you think it is important to stick with Human?

I haven't edited the readme yet. I'm thinking a good policy would be to
allow images, but only used sparingly (when they really make sense!) and
only when they have no localization issues to worry about.

I brought the text size up a tad, but beyond that I think this could do
with a lot of new writing. The point form doesn't make as much sense
now, so I think I'll be pulling in Andrew H's changes and writing a bit
myself. (I have an interesting capacity to make simple things take up
many pages, as you can see, so it may be a good fit :P)

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