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[Idea] KDE UI design - 'start' button, menus and taskbar :-(

User avatar russh
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KDE is incredibly flexible. However, without greater 'predefined' configurations, all distributions will default to a 'start button', KDE menu / Lancelot and a bottom task bar.

I'm not saying this isn't optimal - your UAT may well be saying this is what users WANT! However, newer UI's (Unity (Ubuntu), Docks (ElementaryOS), etc) - provide a radical change in the look and feel - which KDE can achieve - but 90% of users will try KDE, see it's a 'windows-esque' design, and move on.

I'm the first to admit I've not researched the VDG sufficiently to see if this is either addressed or within your remit - but from browsing multiple distro forums over the years, it's clear that there's a common complaint that 'KDE always looks the same' followed by a standard response 'it's infinitely customisable... down to the distro's'

Well - lets give 'em an option for something different.

We can do 'Unity', we can do a Dock. Can we have some options to take this forward instead of a new (Konky, icon, colour scheme, wallpaper)? Rather than refreshing the design, can we evolve? There are allot of ideas out there on DeviantArt so we CAN do this, we just need to wrap them up and offer them, surely?!

Just throwing this out there.. I hate to see the KDE UI stagnate!
User avatar Leroux
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I agree with you for 100%! I also think that KDE should be better predefined. There are a lot of people that will stay with default settings and maybe they even won't realize that they can change almost everything, so they will likely complain for some stuff.
User avatar russh
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Leroux wrote:I agree with you for 100%! I also think that KDE should be better predefined. There are a lot of people that will stay with default settings and maybe they even won't realize that they can change almost everything, so they will likely complain for some stuff.


Thanks Leroux, glad I'm not alone.. just not quite sure how to achieve a change!
davidwright
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I installed kubuntu for a friend a year or so ago, and after we'd rebooted the system following the initial install we were greeted with a mouse pointer, the cashew in the corner, and nothing else! He turned to me wide-eyed and said, 'Is this Linux?'. I would have laughed if it wasn't so tragic.

The point is, I really think that this is something the distros themselves need to handle. Why they continue to ship with a vanilla install is beyond me really, you would have thought they'd try to differentiate themselves from each other.

Having said that it might be nice to have some sort of GHNS for template workspace layouts, which I suppose could be an extension to the proposed theme package kits. It would be interesting anyway, being able to transform your desktop into a Unity clone with the click of an apply button.
User avatar lazyit
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In fact, KDE, has already netbook interface and interface Activity, each suited to the type of hardware you are using, but I just think that the current traditional desktop interface is really the best for your desktop. Instead, the only thing missing really is a kde greater attention to design and details, I find it much better for the rest of KDE Unity or Gnome 3 new windows style
User avatar Leroux
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davidwright wrote:The point is, I really think that this is something the distros themselves need to handle. Why they continue to ship with a vanilla install is beyond me really, you would have thought they'd try to differentiate themselves from each other.


I think that if distro want to handle the UX that much, they will likely do something like Ubuntu does with it's Unity or Elementary does to Gnome with they Pantheon(?) or what ever they call their DE (which in great part is just beautiful). So I think that there should be better default configuration.
Default configuration which will show what's the spirit of KDE! That it's moving forward!
Now, all you know is that KDE == "you can do whatever you want" or "it's up to you how your DE looks like!". Yeah, but for most users that's rubbish and that's why (not always) they prefer unconfigurable Elementary or Unity.
User avatar EraX
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People have different tastes... I like the traditional desktop look but hate the oxygen theme and the old window design. it would make more sense to show a window at a first KDE start with some predefined configs +system settings with the same list and ability to save your own preset.
User avatar Leroux
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What a grat idea @EraX! At that point every kind of user could easily change their system "with one click", without going into details! :D
User avatar EraX
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And here is a quick example of how the preset window could look like.
Simple list, expanding an item exposes more advanced settings allowing customization of the preset.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/633 ... resset.png
User avatar Leroux
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Wow! I love that! You have my vote! My +1 and whatever is needed for support this idea!
User avatar jensreuterberg
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(I'm on vacation right now so this is written on a tropical island, close to a beach - so don't expect a too exact answer and my replies may take some time :) )

EDIT: so this got longer than I thought. Sry.

Lets start with goals:
Design wise KDE's and Plasma's flexibility is the major thing we have to remember - the point being that no one solution can ever be a one-size-fits-all AND that what ever is made must be able to be undone by the user. So when we make creative new solutions all have to be made with that in mind - that the individual user knows best. No matter if the solution we propose and implement is perfect from a design perspective the key design goal must always be humility towards the users - without it anything we propose will be abusing our position.
(I am not saying that this is what other DE's do, just that we have that as a major goal)
Visually design goals are being worked up as we speak and I will post them here when we're getting somewhere (You have some on the blog with a mood board and some long term goals written down)

Then it's the time:
We need to remember that revolutionary can be a goal, it can also be the curve of the time table of changes - we want the first, not the second. The point being that the steeper the change the more uncomfortable it will be and the more complex the work to have it undone. By going bit-by-bit with the eyes firmly set on a goal we can introduce new ideas but take it slow enough so that anyone who doesn't agree with them can avoid them. That may sound kinda boring - and it is trickier as a design work method but it's worth it.
All the ideas here are things that are really in line with what we wanna do - but in due time. That doesn't mean it's something we should ignore or me trying to say "oh lets not bother".
Lets work on it now! Lets get crazy ideas going and see what works from a design perspective so we can implement them when the time comes!

Then finally it's the work climate:
My main goal with this is "Everyone is a designer" - yeah so the VDG group consist of 10 designers who work with or study design AFK, our point is to make certain stuff get done (because sometimes certain basic things need to get done on a certain time table (like Plasma Theme, right now)) - BUT personally I hate the snobbism of the design world (I'm an illustrator professionally and culturally) so the most important design group is this public forum. This is ment to be inclusive - to that end I want to keep things positive. Which means that suggestions have a low barrier to cross to be accepted as valid ideas but criticism has a high bar (we follow the criticism rules from design and art educations). I run by the method of "do-ocracy" - the people getting things done are the people in control.
I want all ideas to be given a good consideration - a passionate debate is fine - but it must be respective first and foremost. You guys are the engine in this and should consider yourselves the chief designers of Plasma NEXT and I will make damn certain you get due credit in all work.

This is key - there are informal hierarchies and sometimes we need someone to go "no" - but I want you to know that I consider the people in this forum to be my bosses.
But remember every idea also has a lot work to get done. Not only the programming but the design work (from visual work with SVG's to work with QML) - so we need to be respectful of the work needed. My wish was to create a course for QML and tutorials - this take some time to get done but it WILL come. :)

Lets get down to the ideas!
@erax that is an awesome idea and mockup! Spot on! I was really impressed with how Chakra tried to bridge the issue and I think we can go further. One idea that was thrown around between me and Alex (one of the plasma devs) was a "theme'r" and a Mega Theme - where you edit the appearence as either a massive theme with a layout and everything and then you can go in and edit things that you had to do with SVGs before.

@davidwright exactly - the issue is often that distros simply ignore the fact that you can do so much with Plasma and just deliver the most vanilla desktop available without any interest in making their own version.

@lazyit remember that plasma should be for all - and one size never fits all - as long as we remember that some (like you) enjoy the classic layout and make damn certain that it's easily available to all - change can never be wrong.

@russh well this is the bit - I don't want to force anything on people. Because any change no matter how good - if it's forced on someone it's never good. So as relevant as the work is to redefine the desktop - we have to keep everything flexible, humble and above all positive. My husband think me mustasch needs to be trimmed but he can't just decide to trim it while I sleep as an example. :)
I use a non-traditional layout on my desktop for example and the ideas I have is in many cases non-traditional, but if the idea of a picker - a way for any user to make an active choice is better than saying "this is the way it looks now". This is not an argument for stagnation and traditionalism - just a comment on the relevance of being respectful for peoples eventual traditionalism.

Essentially - GO FOR IT! Lets see ideas coming but remember our job is not to tell people how they are supposed to have their desktops but provide them with alternatives.


KDE Visual Design Group - "Sexy by default - Powerful through cooperation"
User avatar lazyit
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@erax in chakra have Kapudan for similar work on start after first installation, but in my opinion this is setting for distro, beaucose Kde is vanilla
@jens
I am ever for change :)
but only my opinion classic desktop is the best for pc and notebook, Unity and gnome 3 is mix for other device and pc (tablet,smartphone etc.) but kde have different compresse for all device, all in one.
But i have open mind and don't problem for innovation in general :)
User avatar colomar
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For me, presenting users with a choice between different pre-configured desktop layouts at first boot - with the ability to edit the current layout and switch to others at any time later on of course - is definitely the way to go. I think there should not even be one "default", but a set of well thought-out layouts to choose from, to give users an impression of the flexibility Plasma offers. Not like "This is the default, but you can change it!" but instead "These are some ideas we offer you, feel free to choose one and adapt them to your liking!"
Actually, if I understood the Plasma team correctly, this is what they already planned anyway, so they're surely on the same page!
User avatar anditosan
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I am not sure if this would go here, but I wanted to suggest a less "android" approach to highlighting in the taskbar. Having the highlight be a line has always strikes me as too subtle. I have tried android phones as well that feature this google highlight idea and I think it can be improved. Also, for fear of imitating android too much I wanted to suggest making highlights full and colored. Here is what I mean

Image

The reason being that I fear with computer screens getting larger, it will be harder to notice the line above the active window button. Is that too crazy? Flat design is more about a pop color rather than flat subtleties. Flat design makes it easier on the eyes and faster to find what you look for. Color can help with that.
mintlars
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I think @EraX idea is just awesome and exactly what I've been missing in the current version of KDE. I would also like if the pre-defined choices for looks would be named after, and optimized for, what kind of tasks you mainly would do on your desktop. In other words, if it's mainly used for developing, it would make sense to choose a desktop optimized to that kind of task, if you mainly want to do graphics design, you choose the "design desktop" and so forth. I realize there are no "one size fits all" even if different people are using it for the same tasks, but it would be great if you could kind of capture the general workflow in the desktop theming, and make it simple to do detailed tweaking of it. Also, naming the different desktops after how similar it is compared to other Linux-desktops wouldn't make any sense if you never used Linux before. If I've never used Ubuntu, I would have no idea of how a Unity-desktop looks like etc.

Besides that, this kind of simple way of changing the whole looks of the desktop would maybe, if it's simple enough to make "desktop packs", encourage the different desktop developers to make their own, unique desktops in their KDE releases, which could be great in the long run.


mintlars, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Oct.

 
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