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[Design Help Needed] Muon Discover design

User avatar pedrorodriguez
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I really like it! Hope to use Muon soon!
User avatar anditosan
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alake wrote:
apol wrote:Ok, so I'd really like to start pushing these forward, but if we want that to happen we will also want to get a bit more pragmatic.

For starters, it would be good if the mockups used exclusively the MockupToolkit [1]. We need to implement this using the QtQuick Controls and the graphical resources we have available are _very_ limited. We can workaround things, but let's not consider it the norm.

Also it would be _very_ good if we can follow the current workflows. I know it's less fun, but it will also help to make it possible to find the time to implement this.

Thanks a lot guys!

[1] https://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Usabi ... kupToolkit


So I went ahead and took all the great ideas shared during the brainstorming phase here on this thread, and took a stab at putting some more pragmatic designs as requested for this next phase of the design. In order to help understand how to best use the brainstorming ideas, I took a stab at a vision, personas, scenarios as well as the organization of the application to help pick appropriate layout patterns. Then I took the brainstormed designs with an eye to the current Muon Discover design and, per apol's request, used the Mockup Toolkit to put together designs that will hopefully be achievable.

The result are captured here: https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_De ... n_Discover. Feel free to review and provide feedback.

Here are some initial visuals based on that effort so far:




Please be sure to read the vision, personas, scenarios and organization stuff in the link above.

Hope this helps! :-)


I love the direction you took. It seems streamlined (only graphics talk here) and direct. I like the reductionist approach you took. The interface is clean and I don't think there is anyone feeling lost in the interface. My personal opinion would probably be to see how thumbnails would look instead of lists. A little like this

Image

Any thoughts?
User avatar ken300
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IMHumbleO, having icons instead of lists may make the Muon window look a bit too similar to Dolphin (I don't think the list style originally proposed suffers from that issue). I'm not saying that I think users will start getting their windows confused in normal use, but when they're shrunk down to previews as they would be when using the updated Present windows/Desktop grid being discussed in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=285&t=123481 then they do start to look similar.

In that thread, the issue of where on the preview to put the icon & window title is currently up in the air - if those things are sorted so it's really, really obvious which is the preview of a Dolphin window which is the preview of the icons view of Muon then it's a non-issue but if they're not then it could lead to a bit of annoyance. Hardly the end of the world but not great if we can avoid it :)

My suggestion for the mockup:

I REALLY like the extra 'room' & white space created by the Breeze theme. The left hand screenshot in this pair looks a tiny bit like the content area (Where it's telling you all about Chromium and showing you the reviews) is a little cluttered with lots of text:



What about rearranging the things a bit so that the reviews aren't displayed on the page when it's first displayed?

Two ideas that are 'inspired' by the layouts that seem to be more & more common on the internet are:

1 - Tabs - have the grey box that's telling you all about Chrome and has got the 'install' button on it, on one tab and the reviews on a separate tab. Maybe the 'Details' section at the bottom of the grey content area could be moved onto it's own tab too. Then at the top of the page & above the tabs so it's always displayed could maybe be the icon, screenshot & install button.

2 - Move the reviews to the bottom - I'm used to reviews being at the bottom of the page (Amazon & loads of other shops do it), I know that if i want to read reviews just scroll down & they'll be there. We'd put a link to scroll down to the reviews section near the top of the screen too.

Of the two ideas, i think the 'tabs' one might be a bit easier to navigate round and the easiest to make the design look really polished - but tabs aren't the most popular round here ;) . However Muon is accessing the internet and maybe using ideas that are common on the 'net would be the best bet for this rather than trying to keep everything exactly the same as 'core' applications. I think people might be disappointed if it wasn't a web-like experience & they'd say that it was old fashioned.
User avatar apol
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Hi,
I really like how things are getting into shape! Good work! :)

One thing I don't really understand is the move of Updates/Installed/Discover to the right and having the Categories over there. In general it shouldn't be that common to be browsing an application in a category and decide to jump into something completely different. That's why we currently keep narrowing the scope when the user decides for some (sub-)category. If the user wants to restart the search, he presses the home button (or any of the buttons in the breadcrumbs bar).
User avatar ken300
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apol,

The only time i can think of when I personally would want to keep switching from one category to another within the 'Discover' section would be if i'm doing a fresh install, i've got a list of applications that i want to install & for some reason want to navigate around using the mouse. In reality i'd just use the search function. Although i can imagine that if you wanted to browse around, especially if you're a new user & were looking to see what's out there, then having the categories always visible when you've gone into the Discover section could be useful - after all it is called Muon Discover.

What i don't get is why the sidebar shows 'Updates', 'Installed' & 'Discover'. Wouldn't it be better, and lead to a cleaner more elegant design, if we tweaked the front screen so you can click down into either one of the 'Updates', 'Installed' or 'Discover' sections. From what i can see when playing with the current Muon Discover, the sidebar wouldn't be of any real use in the 'Installed' section - wouldn't it be better to just have the sidebar in the sections that need it & leave it out of those that don't & remove the links to the other sections from it (so remove the 'Updates' & 'Installed' sidebar links when you're in 'Discover') to make it cleaner?

When you're in a section and want to switch to another one (switch from 'Updates' to 'Discover' for example), instead of having a link permanently shown in the sidebar, you could have links in the menu accessed by clicking on the 'Edit' button (if that's what it's called - the one just to the right of the search box - the circle with 3 horizontal lines in it). I don't know if you'd want to hide a home button / menu item in there to to get back to the front screen, i suspect that you'd want that button always on display so that it's more easily accessible.
User avatar apol
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Well, the menu is for settings, not for navigation. In fact now you don't do any navigation there.

Furthermore, now we show Updates within Installed, the 3rd tab we show is Sources.
User avatar ken300
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apol wrote:Well, the menu is for settings, not for navigation. In fact now you don't do any navigation there.


But i still think that having the application a tiny bit more 'divided up' so that not all the navigation destinations are visible in the sidebar at all times (only the ones that are relevant to the current section) - and we don't have a sidebar at all if it's not needed in the section that you're in - will lead to a nicer & less cluttered design. Some way needs to be found of navigating between sections - if the menu button isn't suitable then we need to come up with something that is.

For example you'd have the sidebar displaying the categories when you're in the "Discover' section but no sidebar if it isn't needed in the 'Updates' section.
User avatar anditosan
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ken300 wrote:IMHumbleO, having icons instead of lists may make the Muon window look a bit too similar to Dolphin (I don't think the list style originally proposed suffers from that issue). I'm not saying that I think users will start getting their windows confused in normal use, but when they're shrunk down to previews as they would be when using the updated Present windows/Desktop grid being discussed in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=285&t=123481 then they do start to look similar.

In that thread, the issue of where on the preview to put the icon & window title is currently up in the air - if those things are sorted so it's really, really obvious which is the preview of a Dolphin window which is the preview of the icons view of Muon then it's a non-issue but if they're not then it could lead to a bit of annoyance. Hardly the end of the world but not great if we can avoid it :)

My suggestion for the mockup:

I REALLY like the extra 'room' & white space created by the Breeze theme. The left hand screenshot in this pair looks a tiny bit like the content area (Where it's telling you all about Chromium and showing you the reviews) is a little cluttered with lots of text:



What about rearranging the things a bit so that the reviews aren't displayed on the page when it's first displayed?

Two ideas that are 'inspired' by the layouts that seem to be more & more common on the internet are:

1 - Tabs - have the grey box that's telling you all about Chrome and has got the 'install' button on it, on one tab and the reviews on a separate tab. Maybe the 'Details' section at the bottom of the grey content area could be moved onto it's own tab too. Then at the top of the page & above the tabs so it's always displayed could maybe be the icon, screenshot & install button.

2 - Move the reviews to the bottom - I'm used to reviews being at the bottom of the page (Amazon & loads of other shops do it), I know that if i want to read reviews just scroll down & they'll be there. We'd put a link to scroll down to the reviews section near the top of the screen too.

Of the two ideas, i think the 'tabs' one might be a bit easier to navigate round and the easiest to make the design look really polished - but tabs aren't the most popular round here ;) . However Muon is accessing the internet and maybe using ideas that are common on the 'net would be the best bet for this rather than trying to keep everything exactly the same as 'core' applications. I think people might be disappointed if it wasn't a web-like experience & they'd say that it was old fashioned.


Can you create a mockup?
User avatar ken300
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anditosan,

I'm a bit tied up at the moment - my Nan's not firing on all cylinders bless her & needs sorting out (I'm not being lazy - honest)! :(

I know from being on the forum for the past few months that my graphic design skills are vastly inferior to you & others on here so one of my 'quick & dirty mockups' will add little to the text descriptions above - having said that of course i'll have a go if I get time between hospital visits etc but apologies in advance if i don't!!
User avatar anditosan
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ken300 wrote:anditosan,

I'm a bit tied up at the moment - my Nan's not firing on all cylinders bless her & needs sorting out (I'm not being lazy - honest)! :(

I know from being on the forum for the past few months that my graphic design skills are vastly inferior to you & others on here so one of my 'quick & dirty mockups' will add little to the text descriptions above - having said that of course i'll have a go if I get time between hospital visits etc but apologies in advance if i don't!!


Oh no worries Ken, that is not a problem. I mostly ask because I don't always picture the comments. A shortcoming of mine. Maybe you could use mockup diagrams instead of full svg design. It is easier and many times, cleaner :D

PS: I think we could use a UI dictionary, because I always end up calling UI elements by the wrong name.
User avatar alake
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apol wrote:Hi,
I really like how things are getting into shape! Good work! :)

One thing I don't really understand is the move of Updates/Installed/Discover to the right and having the Categories over there. In general it shouldn't be that common to be browsing an application in a category and decide to jump into something completely different. That's why we currently keep narrowing the scope when the user decides for some (sub-)category. If the user wants to restart the search, he presses the home button (or any of the buttons in the breadcrumbs bar).


Good question apol. There are several things going on so I'll try to provide each of the considerations that went into this:
  • Location of Updates/Installed/Discover - After identifying the content structure of Muon Discover, it made sense to me to use a single pattern for top level navigation of the same kind of content. I should update the wiki to say that content can also be grouped on whether updates are available. There is more design work incoming for software sources.
  • Showing the categories under Discover - The HIG recommends the breadcrumb pattern for navigation of n-deep content. As it mentions in the HIG, one of the downsides of the breadcrumb pattern used by itself is the awareness of navigation options in layers above the current location - it usually requires an interaction step to gain that awareness. The value of that awareness is often the context it provides for the currently displayed content (e.g. Are there other categories the application I'm looking for might more likely be found in?). With the top-level categories always available (in addition to the breadcrumb pattern), there's one less interaction step required to gain that awareness. There is more design work incoming to show navigating the sub-categories and the breadcrumb pattern (it'll be similar to the approach used in the current design).
  • So I chose that list pattern since it provides a single common pattern to navigate the top two levels of the application style content. It also hopefully establishes a consistent visual hierarchy for the layout design. More design work is incoming to show Updates and Installed. Those are separated for the moment, but we'll see how the design progresses to see if it makes sense to merge them again. :-)

Thanks much for your patience on this while we work on refining the design.
User avatar alake
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anditosan wrote: My personal opinion would probably be to see how thumbnails would look instead of lists. A little like this

Image

Any thoughts?


Interesting idea anditosan. :-)

I'll take a look to see what a "grid" style view might look like. My bias towards a list is a practical one - it just provides more space to display and compare content.
User avatar anditosan
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alake wrote:
anditosan wrote: My personal opinion would probably be to see how thumbnails would look instead of lists. A little like this

Image

Any thoughts?


Interesting idea anditosan. :-)

I'll take a look to see what a "grid" style view might look like. My bias towards a list is a practical one - it just provides more space to display and compare content.


I agree as well. What attracts me to the grid system is mostly because of the idea of an online store. Maybe a bit extra info can entice the user to take a closer look to an application. I think of really all the stores out there, Amazon, Chrome, iTunes, etc.
User avatar alake
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ken300 wrote:My suggestion for the mockup:

I REALLY like the extra 'room' & white space created by the Breeze theme. The left hand screenshot in this pair looks a tiny bit like the content area (Where it's telling you all about Chromium and showing you the reviews) is a little cluttered with lots of text:



What about rearranging the things a bit so that the reviews aren't displayed on the page when it's first displayed?


Great ideas Ken, thanks. :-)

UI design is always a balance between providing enough information to be immediately useful (minimizing the interaction steps required to get information) AND providing so much information that it becomes prohibitive to interpret and act on.

For as much as I'm an advocate of breathing room and spacing, I'm also an advocate of minimizing interaction steps necessary to get useful information. That often means I'm first always looking for creative ideas to present as much useful information in the available space while keeping things uncluttered. Then, if we run out of ideas, I'll start looking for interaction mechanisms to reveal additional information. Checkout this great article called Magic Ink that I've mentioned elsewhere on the forums. Sorry for the rambling, but sometimes I think it's worth it to share some of these thoughts.

In the design above showing Chromium, the box representing the application is intended to remain static while the column containing the screenshots and reviews are intended to be scrollable. Application add-ons, if any, would appear above reviews. The visual design intent is to try to establish a clear visual hierarchy (where to look first, where to look next) with the application as the anchor.

Based on your feedback I'll revisit that second column to see if there are ways to improve the feeling of clutter you expressed. Hmm.. maybe just showing the review summaries by default... I'll come up with something. Holler if you have any ideas there.

As always, thanks so much for the feedback! :-)
User avatar ken300
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alake,

Oh .... I really like the idea of having the grey box static (the one with the big Chromium icon on it), and the area to its right scrollable, i hadn't noticed the scrollbar. It's a great idea to to have any available add-ons shown too - i always liked that about Ubuntu. If the bit where the add-ons are was in the scrollable are below the reviews, it would easily get hidden away, buried under them all though!

I do still think that if we can come up with some a way of making the right hand (scrollable) area less 'wordy' that would improve the look.

One possibility to clean things up a bit, might be to leave out the name of who's left the review (to the right of the stars). Personally when checking the reviews, i'd look at them (the No. of stars & the comments) to get an idea of what people think - i'm not really that fussed about who posted it. I can see that people think that it's nice when you've posted a review to 'see your name in lights' but i can't say that i've ever really paid much attention to who wrote one myself!

 
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