Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Jun 2010 19:17 UTC
Linux Linux Magazine has a profile of Daniel Fore and the Elementary project. Elementary is a Linux distro that's committed to a clean and simple user experience, but it's more than a distro - it's actually a multi-pronged effort to make improvements to the user experience for a whole ecosystem of components, including icons, a GTK theme, Midori improvements, Nautilus, and even Firefox. The work that elementary is doing isn't limited to their own distro, and some of their work is available in current, and perhaps future, Ubuntu releases. The results are really striking, and I think it's probably the handsomest Linux UI I've ever seen.
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by Icaria on Sat 19th Jun 2010 05:59 UTC
Icaria
Member since:
2010-06-19

I agree with the general tone of the thread: this is more fashion, than usability. The former certainly has it's place but lets not conflate the two - especially with regards to OSX, or Windows, whose UIs have been explicitly designed for the least competent of their users. 'Intuitive UI design', is more often than not, a synonym for simply lowering your standards and ceding good design, in favour of one that meets the whims of an arbitrary audience, with little conceptual understanding of what they're doing (the 'computers are magic' mentality).

The only real enhancement I can see, that Elementary brings, is a neatly ordered Nautilus sidebar. Removing menubars isn't an enhancement; they're unobtrusive widgets; if you don't use them, you don't notice them. Dumbing down the toolbar[s], is a poor substitute for making them customisable and the less said about those non-standard buttons on the right, the better.

That said, I do think there are places where the Elementary team could be of assistance. Inconsistent widget padding, icon and button sizes, and toolbar styles, are something that trip up experienced users and novices, alike. Although it's not a glamorous job, if they put their efforts into badgering developers, to ensure consistency across applications, Gtk+ environments would be better for it - aesthetically and functionally.

And no, I don't mean to simply enforce the Gnome HIG, with regards to padding. 2px padding is sensible; the rest should be left up to Gtk+ themers.

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