Tabuntu themes

Registered by Tina Russell on 2008-04-06

Tabuntu must have themes reflecting the needs of tablet users.

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
None
Priority:
Undefined
Drafter:
None
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
None
Definition:
New
Series goal:
None
Implementation:
Unknown
Milestone target:
None

Sprints

Whiteboard

It would be good for Tabuntu to have special themes for tablet users. Here, we can put our ideas.

- Right- and left-handed themes. One thing that frustrates me as a tablet user is that important buttons are often placed on the right and left sides; while "close" buttons and the scroll bar are generally placed on the right, toolbar buttons such as "back" and "forward" tend stick around on the left. So, a "right-handed" theme that would have toolbar buttons tend towards the right side, and a "left-handed" theme that would reverse the "window icon" and "minimize/maximize/close" button positions and place the scrollbar on the left would be good.

- Large buttons. I'm fine with hitting standard-size buttons with my stylus, as I need all the screen space I can get on this thing. However, the option would be very nice.

- Sliding keyboard applet. On Windows Vista for tablets, there is a keyboard tab on the left that will slide in when you click it. This makes it easily accessible and obvious. Something like this would make a lot of sense. In fact...

- CellWriter integration. I'm not sure how CellWriter is programmed, or how we might have to take it apart to incorporate its features into the larger desktop. However, CellWriter is such an excellent program that we must ensure it gets used heavily in the Tabuntu interface, though not so much that it would bother the user when he or she might prefer to use the keyboard. At present, the login screen does not support alternate text input (as far as I know), and the method for using CellWriter with "gksu" password prompts is not obvious. These must change.

- Cursors. Here's another good idea we might want to borrow from Vista: when you hover the stylus over the tablet, the cursor becomes a minimalist, unobtrusive "glint" shape that makes crystal-clear where your cursor is pointing without the awkwardness of looking like a cursor one associates with a mouse. This glint-shaped cursor will disappear after a few seconds, which is a good idea, since a tablet user has no need to know where the cursor was last located. However, as soon as you use the touchpad (if you have one), the cursor flips back into standard mode, with a typical arrow-shaped "mouse" cursor that sticks around as long as you like. This would be a critical feature for Tabuntu.

-Look? I'm leaning, in my head, towards a ruby-red theme. However! Do not fear. Post your creative ideas here, wherever they may be. Important themes for Tabuntu's look may include:

  - The ancient Greek symbolism of the tablet... "carved into stone..." the foundation of civilization, the paper of early schools.
  - The idea of the user as God, being able to interact with the computer interface directly and move objects at will
  - A certain _swiftness_, responsiveness... an elegant commitment to simplicity and the very real idea that we are reinventing the user interface, so it's important not be overwhelmed, but delighted to see how easy it is to take control over the device (think of the first time you used an iPhone). Pleasing contrasts will help this happen.
  - Creativity. With a tablet, you can impose _yourself_ onto the interface and the world you create on your tablet. Graffiti artists call this a "throw-up," and it's a very moving concept.
  - A "hand-drawn" or "painted" style might look kinda cool, charmingly irreverent in having a strong attention to detail, but without the hyper-crispness typical of computer graphics. "Homemade."
  - The "humanistic" style of Ubuntu must never be forgotten. Ubuntu implies a common humanity, and that your dignity is linked to all others'. This is the guiding principle of the Ubuntu project.

- Speaking of "look," I'm finding it difficult to find wallpapers that will work both in normal and portrait orientations. Making or finding such wallpapers is key, but we may also want to consider tying in our rotation applet a wallpaper switcher such as Wallpapoz, so that the wallpaper itself will change when you switch orientations. This means we may also want to consider mucking with Ubuntu's appearance preferences dialog, so that this will make sense to the user. We also may want to pester the GNOME developers, asking them if they'd make different wallpapers for different orientations a supported feature (I'd also like different wallpapers for different desktops, but never mind).

- Compatibility. People will inevitably use this on all kinds of devices. This was intended as an Ubuntu version for tablet computers, but we may end up being seen as a step above Ubuntu Mobile, meaning people might choose to run this on "ultra-mobile" PCs or "internet tablets" or devices charged with saving the world or whatever. By "compatibility" I don't mean we should hobble the project by attempting to support a million unrelated devices, but that we should keep the specifications open and generalized so that Tabuntu can be useful on any platform that it turns out to be geared toward, even if we don't recognize such opportunities beforehand.

---Notes above are from me, Tina. Please add your own ideas and comment on the stuff above. We can decide if we want our comments here signed, like a wiki comments page, or unsigned, so that this may change more drastically as needed. For now, I guess, sign your comments so we can assign blame for awesome ideas :)

-- A key feature of a tablet linux has to be a good notetacking programm....(i dont like comparisons to MS but Onenote is a good example). xournal jarnal and so are okay but they dont have key features like convienient archieving tools. A good example is "kbasket" but they have no handwriting feature by now. (i think they also have not enough developers, maybe they would get more support if a tablebuntu distribution is established). just my two cents --sim

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