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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Linux/KDE Mockups Drive Increased Productivity

Black Halloween
KDE with a theme that I am particularly fond of

As KDE gears up towards the release of version 4, users continue to contribute innovative ideas. Below are a few examples, all of which are mockups and brainstorms.

  1. Show Progress in Title Bar. This one shows the pragmatic effect one can achieve by embedding extra information in the title bar of a shaded window.
  2. System Notification. Here we see an illustration of system and task status centralised under a single widget.
  3. Tasks Info in Less Windows. Lastly we have yet another similar example where information gets condensed, which saves some screen ‘real estate’.

Related items: KDE: User-Driven Innovation, KDE Receives Praises for Innovative Features

Users Are Efficient; Neither Stupid, Nor Lazy

WHY is it that so many user interfaces simply fail to work? It’s because users are permitted to take shortcuts and ignore the instructions. This is in fact the message which is delivered by Jeff Veen, whose opinion was inspired by another’s.

Veen concludes: “They’re not stupid. They’re not lazy. Don’t treat them that way.” Users are efficient. They want to get the job done with the least effort. It just doesn’t bode well as far as the intent of the developer is concerned.

New Yanoff for Palm – an example of
poor UI design

KDE 4 Will Make Linux Shine

KDE menus

IF the visual traits of a desktop environment is anything to go by, Linux has got it all. I am not suggesting that appearance is the very core of user experience. However, who refused to accept a tool which is packaged appropriately and is designed to improve usability?

KDE appears to be getting a gentler, cleaner look through third-party addons and some customisation or themes. Here is a quick preview of the one such outcome. Looks are subjective due to taste, of course, which is not always the case when it comes to function (i.e. features).

Here is a KDE 4 mockup, which might become a reality when KDE matures. KDE 4 is approaching its release date.

Older related item: KDE 4 Preview

GNOME is Also Beautiful

Palm Bliss
Palm Bliss: An old product of my interest
in themes and templates

QUITE often I rave about KDE, as I last did a week or so ago. However, I admit that GNOME is beautiful too, so I have collected a few themes and previews which support its beauty.

Lastly, here is a way of making GNOME look more like Mac OS X. I don’t necessarily endorse or praise, but I just love the looks of Apple hardware and software. KDE is able to achieve similar results, I might as well add.

KDE: User-Driven Innovation

Tiger in KDE
An example of less innovative KDE themes: Baghira Mac OS X lookalike

YESTERDAY I took a quick tour through some mockups and proposal made for the KDE project. I would like to present three examples, which are merely screenshots, sometimes combined with art work.

As these ideas were contributed and voted on by the community of users, no doubt KDE will remain at the forefront of functionality and user experience. It’s a case of programmers preparing and eating their own dogfood, so to speak.

Interesting Product Listings

Shrimp USB drive
A shrimpy yet fully-functional USB drive

Here are a couple of fun lists which I have recently come across:

Some even contain videos.

Why I Love KDE

Pager in KDE
A KDE pager containing eight virtual desktops

KDE is a powerful and versatile desktop environment, which I have raved about for as long ago as I had known it (read GNOME vs. KDE, for example). Apart from its augmented support for virtual desktops, it boasts an almost infinite number of features that make it highly extensible. Here are some examples of things that any user is able to achieve with KDE.

  • Open a particular program, let us say the Web browser, consistently in desktop 8, always in shaded mode with opacity level 80% (20% translucent). These per-program features were added around version 3.4 of KDE.
  • Without any extensions, KDE enables the user to download fresh wallpapers off the Internet (primarily through, all with a single click. Then, the user is given the choice to select multiple wallpapers from the collection, revolve them (as in a slideshow) every number of minutes, with separate wallpapers assigned to different virtual desktops, at different changing intervals, and with effects like hue shifts applied to them ‘on the fly’.
  • Move and resize windows without reaching for their edges and corners, simply using the mouse pointer and the keyboard. Moreover, window focus policies, as well as new window placement, is highly customisable.
  • KDE supports XGL (or conversely so, as well GNOME, of course). XGL is hardware-accelerated nice ‘eye candy’, which does not necessarily enhance the pace and productivity of work.

So where is the competition? KDE appears to be best bar none, in terms of function. Many consider it user friendly since its look-and-feel is assimilated to that of Microsoft Windows.

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