Mark Shutterworth announced today that Unity the default desktop enviornment which comes with Ubuntu will no longer be developed. It was based on the concept of convergence which to be fair was a good idea.
I personally didn’t really like Unity for desktops and never really got to play with Unity on a smartphone or tablet. I needed to make a lot of changes to make it more useable although I did find it slightly quicker than Gnome Shell under Ubuntu. But Gnome shell is just great to use for many reasons including its many extensions and lack of clutter is just right.
The bigger news is the concept of convergence seems to be under some doubt too, which I assume puts Ubuntu phone, tablet and tv at some risk? Weirdly enough just like the Boot2Geko/Firefox phone project?
In the meanwhile, for those thinking this is the end of Ubuntu… they are very wrong.
GnomeShell is one of many including KDE and more…
Jason Silva in his latest shot of awe, talks about the paradox of choice we all face with the advances in technology and increase choice. He also mentioned the fast company piece about the trend towards less choice, especially in user interface design.
Companies are catching on quickly. With the realization that data is much more valuable when used with other information, protocol is increasingly being adopted to ensure that data sharing is seamless. With the explosion of both data collection and unification, we’re creating an environment that, while not fully exposed, is at least open enough for information to be meaningfully aggregated.
Taken together in four steps—collection, unification, analysis, and implementation—we have an environment where information is working for you behind the scenes to do things automatically, all in the service of letting you focus on what’s most important to you in work and life.
I have concerns about this along with my thoughts about who/whom is writing the software and what is their opinion?
What Jason and others are talking about is contextual design or as I prefer perceptive design (along with perceptive media). As context only explains half of the solution and frankly anticipatory design sounds like when I first talked about intrusive media. It will never find the mindshare with a name like that!
I think of Apple products as anticipatory and antihacker. I remember the blog I wrote when I saw Aral talk about user experience at Thinking Digital in 2013.
Perceptive design needs to empower people with chances and experiences for mastery, not enslave them and ultimately make them feel trapped, lost and cut off from others.
I studied interaction design in university and always had an imprecation for good interaction and interface design. Recently I seen a few examples which have got me a little excited.
I like ubuntu’s unity paradigms of scopes and lens, even though I prefer to use Gnome Shell as my default on the desktop. The scopes and lens really make a lot of sense. It was fascinating to see Ubuntu apply it across their phone and tablet. Be interesting to see how it works on Ubuntu TV if thats still ongoing?
When I first saw the pebble time interface, I instantly thought, when are they going to roll that across there existing line of smartwatches? If not, maybe I might invest in one of the new ones. Division of a interface by future, present and the past on a watch makes a lot more sense than anything else I have seen to date including the Apple Watch.
Android Material Design
Ice cream sandwich or Android 4.0 was a massive step up in style for Android but Android 5.0 Lollipop really was the first Android when the interaction design was thought about at a deeper level.
I don’t necessarily like the style of flat plates of colour for example the Google hangout app is just the wrong kind of green for my pallet but the interaction model is nice. Although I have spotted a few places where the rules are broken by certain apps.
Can’t believe I’ve not blogged about this epic rant about The Future Of Interaction Design.
Tony highlighted it to me and for once, we were in agreement… The future of interaction design is not glass interfaces and pictures/icons/pictograms under it…
Theres some great examples of why pictures under glass doesn’t work…
Okay then, how do we manipulate things? As it turns out, our fingers have an incredibly rich and expressive repertoire, and we improvise from it constantly without the slightest thought. In each of these pictures, pay attention to the positions of all the fingers, what’s applying pressure against what, and how the weight of the object is balanced:
Absolutely the amount of gestures, positions and repertoire fingers can perform is dazzling.
Remember the saying for tricks, the hand is quicker than the eye…
So what is the Future Of Interaction?
The most important thing to realize about the future is that it’s a choice. People choose which visions to pursue, people choose which research gets funded, people choose how they will spend their careers.
I could jump in with a rant about how certain companies are limiting choice but I won’t…
I believe that hands are our future…
Absolutely! 3 things pointing at the early future of the interaction…
- Printable circuits
- Conductive Fabric
- Squishy Circuits
For sometime I’ve been trying to get Gnome Extensions (still alpha) going but for some reason most of the good ones failed to install. However when I head home (after Christmas in Bristol) I give it a try, and it suddenly all works.
Its a bit of a hassle to get it working without Firefox but now I got quite a few installed.
- Activities Button Text – changed the text to say cubicgarden now
- Music Integration – useful to know whats playing and change the seek
- Coverflow Alt-Tab – Back to the Compiz style switching
- Calculator – Great for quick calculations
- Journal – Seems to bring up relevant stuff in the overlay mode
- Jump Lists – You can search for categories not just apps
- Notes Search Provider for Gnote/Tomboy – Search notes (more on this in the next post)
- Recent Items – Rearranges the search by recent items
- App Search – Searches for available apps not just installed apps
- Status only icon – Removes your name from the top right
Generally I’ve installed many of them but turned off the ones I don’t really like.
Although I really like Gnome3 Extensions, I’m really liking the look of the Unity Lens extensions (for example, Youtube, Piratebay, TomboyNotes Lens) I’m seeing going by in my Google reader via sites like OMGUbuntu and Webup8.
I’m not totally sure how hard it is to create the Gnome Extensions but I gather its mainly Python with a smidgeon of JS and CSS? It would be great to see even more extensions including some of the Unity Lens ones. Certainly could make use of some of the internet connected ones…
Generally I like what the Gnome team is doing, installing a Unity Lens is much more trouble than a Gnome Extension, now all we need is many more of them and a better way to search and sort them.
Alex Faaborg has a nice round up of the proposed user interface changes which are planned for Firefox 3.0. None of the ideas are complete and Alex is soliciting ideas around a few themes. So what you waiting for? Go check it out and contribute to the next Firefox UI.