Here’s just a quick summary of notes from the discussions I was in yesterday at the GNOME London UX Hackfest:
OSD & Panel Icons
Yesterday jimmac and hbons worked on Moblin icons, with the idea we could use the style for GNOME OSD (on-screen display, e.g., when you change your system volume, the big speaker icon pops up) and possibly the panel / applet icons.
Why use the moblin style? It’s much quicker to put together than the high-res icons (it can take 15 hours straight to do one of these); the Moblin style requires much simpler artwork. The style, because of its simplicity, could potentially be good high-contrast / accessible icons as well.
How do you get the Moblin icons?
git clone git://git.moblin.org/moblin-icon-theme
We’d like complete coverage but won’t have it immediately. We should have a fallback – the Ubuntu folks suggested using a suffix for naming/calling icons from apps. E.g, if an application that wants to use this style they need to explicitly ask for it, if it doesn’t exist it falls back to the normal icon. (I’m not 100% sure how accurate my notes are here.)
One issue with the style is that it doesn’t work for every background color. There are a couple of potential solutions here:
- Add an extra stroke of the shape in an inverse color around the outside of the icon, similar to how Tango icons have two outlines, one light one dark.
- Pick the colors from the gtk theme.
One other challenge is they don’t work at smaller sizes right now; we potentially have to adapt them for smaller sizes. Since screens are getting more dense these days, we could consider doing 22×22 or 24×24 as the small size?
There is a single Inkscape SVG with all the icons, and a script renders the individual icons. It takes 20 minutes though; it’s inefficient.
What work needs to be done to make this happen for GNOME?
- Icon recoloring – make it possible to recolor the icons to work on any background. Can we implement them so they pick the color from the GTK theme settings?
- We need additional icons for GNOME Shell that are not in the current Moblin set: battery, network, status are some examples.
- We need to see if the Moblin icon theme license will be an issue for GNOME usage. Moblin is Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 => is it compatible with GPL? Will this cause any issues?
- Consideration: in the indication of extremes – if volume is all the way up or all the way down – color it so it is visually different?
How to get involved
The mailing list gnome-themes-list might be the place to continue the conversation.
John from Canonical showed us some mockups he had done to try to simplify Nautilus. We discussed them a bit. Here are some random notes from the discussion:
- remove combo box to change nautilus view, just use menu?
- frustration that nautilus is becoming like midnight commander, not beautiful to use, too complicated
- dont like split pane idea, why not use two windows? split-pane seems universally disliked by GNOME designers.
- snap to side-by-side like in windows 7 would be good and would remove need for split-pane.
- search in nautilus sucks
- confusion between magnifying glass icon for search vs zoom
- Things to consider removing from ui:
- zoom controls
- Things to add to ui
- search folders
- sharing / collaboration – share with
- context-sensitive actions toolbar
Improving GNOME Designer Collaboration
Two main features that would make life easier:
- Easier syncing of files
- Version control
Garrett and jimmac use Dropbox for this today, but it is not open source and is capped at 2 GB.
Canonical Use Case Mapper
John showed us Canonical’s Use Case Mapper, which will hopefully be open-sourced at some point so GNOME designers can use it. It interfaces with Google docs at the moment.
The template it uses in Google docs is public.
Special bonus tips that happen when us designers are in the same room
Both of these gems are from Garrett:
- I kept trying to take pictures with my digital camera when my memory card was not in it. Garrett’s tip: leave your memory card door open when it’s out so when you pick up your camera you know right away the card’s not in it.
- In Gimp, filters> edge-detect > difference of gaussians, radius 1: 30, radius 2: 2 – results automagical cleanup of whiteboard photos (like the one in my post before this)
Hope these notes are useful for you.