This is the work blog for the KDE Visual Design Group a group of dedicated designers striving to improve community participation in design for KDE as well as design work in general for KDE applications and Plasma.

söndag 13 juli 2014

The Road Ahead

Plasma 5.0 is wrapping up and we have all learned a LOT in the first few months of the Visual Design Group's existence. One thing is clear though. If any of us had any doubts about whether an open approach to visual design can produce great results, most of those doubts have been assuaged. I'm super-proud to be part of this community and the quality of the results we have produced. It is really exciting to see the participation and the optimism by everyone involved!

So one question some folks might be pondering is "What's next for the VDG?" Well I'm glad you asked. The core VDG group sat down and looked at the long term approach to supporting the Plasma desktop and KDE applications.

Plasma 5.0 is a beginning, not an end. Just like on the technical side where the focus was on the laying the foundations for the future, the same can be said for the VDG's activities as well. We worked together with the wider VDG community and the Usability group to come up with design guidelines that are now integrated into the Presentation section of the KDE HIG. This is a living document and will see continuous updates. We recently updated the typography guidelines and have just begun work on coming up with tooltip and animation guidelines. For the Plasma 5.0 release much of our focus was on trying to get the design of the building blocks in place (UI controls style, icons, colors, cursors, window decoration, etc.). These should also be considered "living" as well. We need your help to flesh out more of the fantastic Breeze icon theme effort that Uri has been leading. Design work continues on the Breeze window decoration design in the forums. The Breeze plasma theme will always need refinements and evolution as well.

Beyond the building blocks, we'll be focusing on identifying common application layout patterns, navigation patterns, as well as more localized, functional patterns to help application designers and developers build consistent, beautiful, powerful solutions. The hope is that over time we will build up a set of resources that will enable the entire KDE community to more easily create total user experiences that are both functionally and visually amazing. (About that last block in the diagram; please don't go about saying that KDE is creating an OS. We are not. That block is simply about designing the total user experience assuming all the underlying layers of the OS have whatever capability might be needed).

One important clarifier though; we don't need to wait until all these pieces are in place to create new designs or improve existing ones. We already have a great foundation to build on. There is much we can do today to improve our existing designs. More importantly, your creative ideas today will inform what we identify as desirable approaches to design both today and tomorrow. That's why we're working on the System Settings design today. That's why when a developer approaches the VDG for help we will always try to help instead of saying "hang on a bit till we get some more stuff in place". This is a continuous process of learning and improvement for everyone.

So please, don't wait around for all of this to "finish" to start sharing your ideas or helping to improve things. There is no finish line. Join in on the fun today and help to update an application design, application icons, a dialog window, a panel applet, a window decoration theme, a plasma theme, fix a visual design bug, whatever. As Jens always says, you do not need to be a "designer" to participate. Just be creative! Be positive! Share your ideas! Participate! We will walk the road ahead together, in the open, where everyone can participate, learn from each other and create a new future for community design together!

1 kommentar:

  1. A consistent toolbar layout including navigation buttons across apps would be a good start.
    Since most apps share the same functions it would be great to have some built-in toolbar consistency OOTB.
    Take for example Dolphin, Gwenview, Okular, Kate/Kwrite, Amarok and Kdenlive - to name a few: first thing I do every time I setup a KDE environment is adjust their toolbars so all the share functions appears in more or less the same places (the back and forwad buttons, open file button and so on).
    While I love KDE flexibility it's impossible to not notice everything is a bit chaotic and just don't feel like an homogeneous or solid interface.
    I've been running Ubuntu lately and some other systems with GNOME 3.12 and while the environment and applications are still light years behind KDE regarding customization and features THEY DO feel enough solid and integrated as a concise GUI.
    No ranting, no stupid F/W here, I love KDE but I too appreciate work well done everywhere else, I'm just trying to make you guys rise an eyebrow and poke your curiosity.
    Thanks for reading me!