Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Nov 2006 19:49 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Graphics, User Interfaces There is a new video of the 'Sugar' user interface for the USD 100 OLPC laptop. As you may know, the mission of this non-profit association is to develop a low-cost laptop, a technology that could revolutionise how we educate the world's children.
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Not bad...
by Moochman on Fri 24th Nov 2006 20:55 UTC
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Not bad at all... I can imagine that it would be especially suitable for a pen-based interface... But, a few suggestions/hopes for the future:

-Default text size in word processor needs to be bigger. Even the context menu text is way bigger!!!

-The word processor should save in OpenDoc. The rest of the world can't read AbiWord documents. (I thought AbiWord support for that was coming...?)

-Firefox needs to have a URL bar--really. There's just no reason not to have one, when the rest of the world does. Especially when Firefox supports internet keywords, there's no reason why people should be forced to go through Google... really. This isn't some grandma-grandpa interface, this is supposed to introduce kids to computers and the way they work. So give them some credit for their learning capabilities; the kids in South America will be able to figure it out just as well as the kids in North America. At least make a pop-up URL field an option. Please.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Not bad...
by Kroc on Fri 24th Nov 2006 21:25 UTC in reply to "Not bad..."
Kroc Member since:

There is a download of this available that you can run in VMWare. If you click on the webpage title, it shows the full URL for you so you can change address.

However, having used the interface I find it incredibly confusing and unfriendly. The buttons have bad icons (a row of buttons with varying dots, and a square), and having the frame appear at all edges messes with fitts, when you want to get to UI element near the edge of the screen. Maybe this won't be so bad on the real hardware trackapd.

Reply Score: 2

by miscz on Fri 24th Nov 2006 22:01 UTC
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This interface really needs a lot of work.
-Why dumb down Abiword to the point of sillyness when GTK open dialog is still quite complicated in comparison? There's no way to change font from the toolbar FFS!
-Having Google as start page and no address bar? And why use Firefox? Epiphany would be much better choice.
-Terrible icons, dots, more dots, dot, square and for some reason original Abiword one?
-How does the chat app work? Is it some sort of global room for every computer in WiFi reach? How does one name himself?
-This eToys thing, what is this? It doesn't look very easy or polished, quite buggy actually...

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by wkornewald on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:04 UTC in reply to "..."
wkornewald Member since:

-This eToys thing, what is this? It doesn't look very easy or polished, quite buggy actually...

It looks like Squeak Smalltalk:

Reply Score: 2

UI guideline
by Finalzone on Sat 25th Nov 2006 00:52 UTC in reply to "..."
Finalzone Member since:

So many question but very few answers. There is a documentation about the UI guideline:

Remember Sugar interface is still incomplete. To editors, it will nice to include the above url for better description of Sugar Interface.

Edited 2006-11-25 00:53

Reply Score: 4

OLPC designs
by JrezIN on Fri 24th Nov 2006 22:19 UTC
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I love to what everything related to OLPC, all their designs, everything they've put in the project... but that said, I have to say that I'm really disappointed with the state of it's user interface. And I really mean "really disappointed"... =[

I hope they can accomplish much more, but right now it's completely unusable... it just has too many design and implementation problems... Does anyone knows the state of this? "how much it's done"?

Right know I would just trow it away and modify Maemo to the device, children would be much happier...

sorry, but I'm really disappointed. This project has so many great designs for it's hardware and even some mockups of the interface, but the UI (at least right now) is far from the quality we've seen put in the hardware and these mockups. =|

Reply Score: 3

crap UI
by grable on Fri 24th Nov 2006 22:34 UTC
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I tried it using vmware and in my opinion the UI sucks.
The "frame" realy bugs me, and all those funky icons doesnt say much about their funtions.

Oh, and eToys is actualy Squeak, a Smalltalk VM. its a little rough around the edges but would be a good introduction to OO programming.

Reply Score: 1

Adult caught designing...
by chocobanana on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:04 UTC
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This UI really needs work. I question myself if the designers are involving the target children in the design... That's a fundamental rule in designing this kind of things - involve a group of target users in the design process. The effects of not doing so are that you always notice/complain about a product's operation and it won't fulfill your needs/expectations.

If they're talking about UI guidelines, how about making it feel totally consistent across applications/interface screens? We don't need here the sort of problems we're facing with the mix of open-source desktop environments.

I hope they make those GTK save dialogs easier and more attractive to use.

In the end, I'm just criticizing and it's not in the most constructive way, but I still love the guys who are behind this project and I wish them the best of luck.

P.S. I also don't understand why the browser doesn't have URL input...

Edited 2006-11-24 23:05

Reply Score: 3

Children will be scared!
by Temcat on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:10 UTC
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When I looked at it, I thought "OMG poor kids...". This may really, really kill the whole idea. As another poster has already said, it'd be better to run Maemo or plain Matchbox on the lappy. And not dumb the apps down like that.

Reply Score: 1

Field work?
by tuttle on Sat 25th Nov 2006 14:18 UTC
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What they should do is to give some of these notebooks to children in the target demographics and see what they do with it. Start with a stock operating system and then only change the UI where it is necessary.

This is looking more and more like microsoft BOB. Hopefully the poor kids will be able to replace the software with DSL or something.

Reply Score: 1

*nods*, but I''m a wee bit more optomistic
by cerbie on Sun 26th Nov 2006 00:36 UTC
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Kids, especially, can learn. Kids can do more with computers because they aren't limited by metaphors to other things, and do no fear consequences of being wrong.

Didn't some group put a desktop PC on something for Indian kids to use, and found they learned quickly, came up with custom terminalogy, etc., just fine? Yeah, here we go:

I'm not against simplifying interfaces and making them more consistent, but doing so by just making it better all-around (the open and save dialogs, FI, suck for adults, too, especially the GTK ones), rather than having custom cartoonish interfaces that have little in common with the rest of the software the world uses.

Now, it's not all bad. I like the frame menu and lack of a normal taskbar, FI. But, the minimal toolbars and only hiding one layer of the interface, so they will really need to learn what's behind there in the end.

Maybe they'll get it right as they go along...we'll see. Of course they could also have an option for standard desktop hidden back there, too...

Reply Score: 2

There needs to be
by de_wizze on Sun 26th Nov 2006 08:55 UTC
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a bit more effort in term for standardization accross applications and how they use the layout. Some guidelines need to be developed so that the applications can be more well integrated .. I saw too many instances where to achieve a action there were three steps ... if there are to any improvements to the current implementation I would suggest less submenus and more context relavant options directly availible in the "frame"

Reply Score: 2

Oh god, it's getting worse
by joshv on Mon 27th Nov 2006 03:42 UTC
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I think I get where they are trying to go with this. With the OLPC you have this awesome opportunity to introduce a revolutionary new UI paradigm to millions, if not billions of new users. Who wouldn't want to take advantage of this opportunity? (my answer - anyone who is interested in producing a usable, cheap laptop, sometime before 2020).

The problem is, this isn't a particularly well thought out or intuitive UI, and I doubt the world will ever see 100,000 OLPCs made, let alone millions. Worst of all, I think this new UI will only serve to decrease that number by increasing the development time of the OLPC while simultaneously slowing the acceptance of the OLPC due to incompatibility with existing software. Not to mention the inevitable growing pains of the new UI platform itself. Imagine never ending cycles of updates for the first few years to get all the bugs ironed out.

Sure, existing user interfaces have their own issues. None of them are perfect. But they are there, they work, and they are what these poor children are going to have to work with if they ever manage to break out of poverty and acquire a job that requires computer knowledge.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Oh god, it's getting worse
by Finalzone on Mon 27th Nov 2006 06:59 UTC in reply to "Oh god, it's getting worse"
Finalzone Member since:

The UI won't be a problem given the documentation available on the wiki. Also, don't underestimate the users which is primarily the kids, they learn much faster than adult.

Worst of all, I think this new UI will only serve to decrease that number by increasing the development time of the OLPC while simultaneously slowing the acceptance of the OLPC due to incompatibility with existing software.
OX (name for the OLPC) is currently going under testing on

These articles also includes pictures containing the fully functional Ebook with Sugar interface. Current emulated Sugar Inteface (last build on 20061117) does not do justice to the real thing.

Reply Score: 2