Some TOSP GUI dreams

As a follow-up on my previous post on notifications, here is a part of what I would dream of this OS’ GUI and desktop shell if I were to design them here and now. This is not complete, and there’s certainly still a lot to be worked on by the time I actually get to design and implement that stuff. But who knows, maybe some of these ideas will live up until the actual GUI design times ? :)

As before, PDF for you this time. It’s just better for things which need precise formatting.

4 thoughts on “Some TOSP GUI dreams

  1. Wannes June 23, 2011 / 12:08 am

    You talk alot about good default settings. But what do you see as the best default: a side-panel with text next to the icons like in your sketches, or just the icons like unity and Windows 7?

    When I look at the screenshots, I seem to find it a bit of wasted space with text enabled. Especially since more and more applications are starting to make use of design ideas for widescreens, like Calligra office with its dockers.

    On small netbookscreens, the best default would be without text, but on larger screens/dual screens I would enable text by default. This would create a little inconsistency in creating a universal look, but I wonder where the boundary is between text enabled/disabled? Perhaps this could be a choice you make in the installation of the OS.

  2. Hadrien June 23, 2011 / 3:18 pm

    On screens where you can afford it, I think that displaying text makes more sense, because people know what icons do without having to hover them, and large buttons are easier to target than tiny ones. On smaller screens, on the other hand, you’re right that just displaying icons is a better idea, because screen estate constraints override discoverability concerns.

    The problem with defining the boundary is that it must be defined in a resolution-independent way. Pixels do not take account of screen resolution, centimeters do not take account of input resolution. Maybe the fairest option would be not to allow the bar to take more than a certain share of the screen. Like, say, 15% of the available horizontal space. If the text version gets too big, iconize or autohide (depending if icons take less than 15%) the bar.

    For more consistency, one idea would be to keep the full text displayed on the desktop, and to “minimize” the bar in an animated way when new applications are opened.

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