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Hi && A more effective way to develop new Designs

User avatar Kelteseth
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Before we begin I want to take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Elias Steurer aka Kelteseth. I'm a Programmer as well as an experienced UI Designer and of course as well as most of you an Open Source enthusiast. I worked on several open source projects before, mostly in relation to the Linux based tablet WeTab.
For my daily work I use the latest version of Gnome (for now :)), but I have always struggled with the fact that Qt/QML is my favourite framework, but for getting work done I use a gtk based desktop. This comes down to three aspects (excuse me for this little rant, don’t take it personal):
    1. As a UX/Webdesginer I always felt the style of the whole KDE desktop environment, with all the glow effects, useless animation, inconsistence it looked more like a cheap copy of Windows Vista than a fully developed desktop .
    2. The idea behind the workspaces is awesome. I can structure my work, switch between a multimedia workspace and a programming workspace with just one click. The idea has a lot of potential, but for most users is just too unintuitive. And this is a major flaw!
    To give you an example: Most of the KDE settings are in the System Settings, there you can customise you desktop so its suit your needs. In every Linux desktop I’ve used this is the place where I can change the background image. But not in KDE :/
    3. Developer hate Designers. Ok this is a dramatic overstatement. But my experience with most open source project showed, that if someone offers help with design the most common replies always where: A. “Damm this means work. I also cannot see the benefit, so should I invest time in it? „ Or B. “I’m comfortable with the way I use my program. It might not be the best, but it works for me and I don’t like change because this would mean that I have to switch my habits. “

LUCKILY the KDE community has shown with its latest efforts, that you’re way more open minded that the common replies shown above!


So the last weeks I’ve read a lot of posts in this forum about ideas, sketches, navigation and it looks promising to me! But how do we get from the “Hey I have a new Idea” to a finished design? The main problem here is this:
Image

Way too many post to read, when I as a designer want to see images and mock-ups. Don’t get me wrong in the beginning it’s a good way to get feedback, but in a more advanced state some other tools would be better:

Github has introduced a way to version and compare Photoshop files (my example: https://github.com/kelteseth/Seadot/commit/c6ed8b9f829c1b90371cd989aec49bc36669476a):
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Deviantart is used by ElementaryOS the by far best looking Open Source desktop:
Image


What’s your opinion? How can we get a more efficient workflow?
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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Welcome to the KDE forums, Elias!
I agree that it's hard to start reading a long-lasting thread. And the mentioned 25 pages is a rather small number compared to other forums.
If the thread revolves about a design only question (design in terms of visual aspects) your suggestion makes sense. But design in terms of UX and usability means discussion and balancing pros and cons. It's not enough to just show images.
I believe it's up to the original poster (or moderators) to coordinate a thread. For instance the thread could be closed after 10 pages or so, and restarted in another thread starting with a conclusion. Or we add structure to the first posting, like a few references to key postings. And the third option is to blog about intermediate and final results, which is the usual way for KDE people.
User avatar jensreuterberg
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Hi!

Well the reason why we chose the forums is because the alternatives cut off paths that most of us thought should be open. Take Github for example which has the downside that many designers don't feel comfortable using it. Deviantart on the other hand is legio BUT it isn't very common with non-designers (which was the other group we wanted to attract, people who haven't done design before but where interested in the subject).

The other alternative where the mailing-lists but they like Github is a stumbling block to many or for that matter IRC which doesn't offer a good form of documentation and tend to lend itself best to proper, organized debates if anything.
Another method was Google Plus where we did have a group BUT G+ isn't that popular with many people and forcing people to join it seemed ... well not nice considering Googles trackrecord.

The entire motive was simply to be as inclusive as possible - having an open record where anyone, without having to join could browse through.

BUT as you and Heiko says it could be better organized which is something that needs to be discussed in depth as the Plasma Next beta comes out.


KDE Visual Design Group - "Sexy by default - Powerful through cooperation"
User avatar Hans
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This is something I've also been thinking about. One idea I had was to use the KDE Community Wiki to summarize discussions, e.g. System Settings. Anyone can edit the wiki (you can use the same KDE Identity login as you use for the forums), and it provides a way for people who don't feel that they're "designers" to contribute. But someone has to keep it up-to-date, otherwise it could be confusing.


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User avatar colomar
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Hans wrote:This is something I've also been thinking about. One idea I had was to use the KDE Community Wiki to summarize discussions, e.g. System Settings. Anyone can edit the wiki (you can use the same KDE Identity login as you use for the forums), and it provides a way for people who don't feel that they're "designers" to contribute. But someone has to keep it up-to-date, otherwise it could be confusing.


I agree that we should use the wikis more. Not for discussion, but for documenting (preliminary) results. The barrier for editing a wiki is higher than for writing a blog post, but it's pretty doable (not all Wikipedia editors are geeks, for example).
User avatar Kelteseth
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colomar wrote:
Hans wrote:This is something I've also been thinking about. One idea I had was to use the KDE Community Wiki to summarize discussions, e.g. System Settings. Anyone can edit the wiki (you can use the same KDE Identity login as you use for the forums), and it provides a way for people who don't feel that they're "designers" to contribute. But someone has to keep it up-to-date, otherwise it could be confusing.


I agree that we should use the wikis more. Not for discussion, but for documenting (preliminary) results. The barrier for editing a wiki is higher than for writing a blog post, but it's pretty doable (not all Wikipedia editors are geeks, for example).


Is there already a wiki page? I just didn't found anything related to that.

Irc would be also a great way to communicate... I found two #kde-look and #kde-artists, but without users ;D
User avatar colomar
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Kelteseth wrote:Is there already a wiki page? I just didn't found anything related to that.


There is not specific section for visual design yet, no. It would make sense to create a project page on http://community.kde.org if we decide we want to put more things on the Wiki.

Irc would be also a great way to communicate... I found two #kde-look and #kde-artists, but without users ;D


The forum worked quite well for us so far due to its asynchronous nature. IRC is awesome for coordinated meetings, but since we come from many different timezones, there probably wouldn't be much regular chat happening on IRC.

I assume that #kde-look is for stuff on http://www.kde-look.org, so it isn't directly related to this group. Kde-artists was the predecessor of the VDG, so that's why you find no VDG members there.
Sogatori
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colomar wrote:The forum worked quite well for us so far due to its asynchronous nature. IRC is awesome for coordinated meetings, but since we come from many different timezones, there probably wouldn't be much regular chat happening on IRC.

I assume that #kde-look is for stuff on http://www.kde-look.org, so it isn't directly related to this group. Kde-artists was the predecessor of the VDG, so that's why you find no VDG members there.

It indeed does work quite nicely for us, however, now that I know of the wonders of IRC I have to say that it's a very nice addition. On IRC my inhibitions to ask a question are much lower compared to the forum. New Threads really do make the forum even less of a pleasure to navigate (even though Hans thought me a few tricks :) ) and PMs don't allow others to see the message, unless you want me to spam all your inboxes.
It doesn't even have to be IRC, but it would be nice not to have to write a forum entry when one wants to ask something maybe relatively trivial. IRC and similar messaging services are ideal to get quick feedback or to reassure oneself.

Summa summarum it would be nice to have a place where one can get in contact with the rest of you for very simple questions through a non-persistent medium.
User avatar colomar
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Sogatori wrote:It indeed does work quite nicely for us, however, now that I know of the wonders of IRC I have to say that it's a very nice addition. On IRC my inhibitions to ask a question are much lower compared to the forum. New Threads really do make the forum even less of a pleasure to navigate (even though Hans thought me a few tricks :) ) and PMs don't allow others to see the message, unless you want me to spam all your inboxes.
It doesn't even have to be IRC, but it would be nice not to have to write a forum entry when one wants to ask something maybe relatively trivial. IRC and similar messaging services are ideal to get quick feedback or to reassure oneself.

Summa summarum it would be nice to have a place where one can get in contact with the rest of you for very simple questions through a non-persistent medium.


Setting up a VDG channel on IRC would be easy. The question is, how many people would actually join it? For that, we'd have to gauge the acceptance of IRC in this group.
I, for one, do use IRC, but I only go there for appointed meetings.
I have found that just aways "idling" in the channels was not of much help for me. I currently do most of my intra-VDG communication via instant messaging. Currently it's mostly via Google Hangouts, but me and a few others are currently evaluating the viability of switching to Jabber (KDE Talk would be the easiest option here).
Jabber would have the advantage that you can also create chat rooms there.

For synchronous communication, I indeed think that those three are the best options. The question is, how many of us would like to use which. Here are some pros and cons of the individual protocols:

IRC:
+ No registration necessary
+ One can use chat bots to automate some stuff
+ Works well for group chat
- IRC clients often have a very "techy" feel to them, might not be very inviting to designers
- No audio/video chat
- UI for 1:1 chat not as comfortable as on instant messaging clients
- Not so well integrated into Plasma


Hangouts:
+ All Google+ users already have an account
+ Also has great group video chat support including screen and document sharing
+ People can be found by real name (not such a big advantage for us as we don't all know one another's real names)
+ Convenient web and mobile clients available
- One has to have a G+ account
- When using an IM client with Hangouts, offline messages never reach the client and there is no notification, so it's easy to miss them
- No permanent chat rooms
- Not everyone might want to "circle" everyone else on G+ just to chat
- It's proprietary

KDE Talk:
+ Very easy to register / set up account within KDE IM clients (KDE Telepathy and Kopete)
+ Very convenient 1:1 chat using the IM clients
+ Permanent chatrooms similar to IRC possible
+ Allows audio and video chat (theoretically, client software is still catching up)
+ Allows collaborative document editing using e.g. Kate via Telepathy Tubes
- Web clients less convenient than Hangouts
- IM clients not fully optimized for large group chats (probably not a problem for our group's size, though)
- No easy sharing of rich-text office documents

Anyone, feel free to add more pros and cons to the methods are suggest a new method.
I agree that agreeing on an instant communication method for the VDG would be helpful!

 
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