Guidelines to extending UIs such as FLUX

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Guidelines to extending UIs such as FLUX

Graham Perrin
Administrator
This post was updated on .
Menu bar as an alternative (hidden but available - perhaps an option at installation)
and from another message,

using the ribbon as the sole user interface element in MS Office while continuing to maintain the pop up window properties way of doing things is really quite ignorant, if not stupid. It's just bad design. We can do better than this.
My two-penneth:

Parallel to (not trailing) development of a UI such as FLUX, consider the ways in which developers may wish to extend the OOo interface.

One such example is ICE, future notions might include EndNote or Zotero, no doubt there are many possibilities.

Consider first: three popular word processors, one of which has (in its purest form) debatably the finest UI.

Then, consider: the screen shots attached. The presence of an extension not only mars the beauty, it makes what was previously the finest *product UI* become probably the most mashed (least appealing) *product combination*.

This is _not_ a criticism of any particular extension! Rather, this is a (non UI-centric) appreciation of the future ways in which users may wish to extend their _uses_ of OOo.

So: think guidelines. As you make beautiful your FLUX, your dashboard, your ... whatever:

* how should extensions complement, not jar with, that beauty?

Food for thought :)



Postscript: from the expression "third party developers" I removed the words "third party".
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Re: Guidelines to extending UIs such as FLUX

Joshua Martin
Yes, those screenshots really are "just a bunch of jumbled up mess"...

I have to say, however, having *ELEVEN* menus across the top doesn't help
one bit...


On Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 6:30 AM, Graham Perrin <[hidden email]>wrote:

>
>
>
> > Menu bar as an alternative (hidden but available - perhaps an option at
> > installation)
> >
>
> and from another message,
>
>
>
> > using the ribbon as the sole user interface element in MS Office while
> > continuing to maintain the pop up window properties way of doing things
> is
> > really quite ignorant, if not stupid. It's just bad design. We can do
> > better than this.
> >
>
> My two-penneth:
>
> Parallel to (not trailing) development of a UI such as FLUX, consider the
> ways in which third party developers may wish to extend the OOo interface.
>
> One such example is ICE, future notions might include EndNote or Zotero, no
> doubt there are many possibilities.
>
> Consider first: three popular word processors, one of which has (in its
> purest form) debatably the finest UI.
>
> Then, consider: the screen shots attached. The presence of an extension not
> only mars the beauty, it makes what was previously the finest *product UI*
> become probably the most mashed (least appealing) *product combination*.
>
> This is _not_ a criticism of any particular extension! Rather, this is a
> (non UI-centric) appreciation of the future ways in which users may wish to
> extend their _uses_ of OOo.
>
> So: think guidelines. As you make beautiful your FLUX, your dashboard, your
> ... whatever:
>
> * how should extensions complement, not jar with, that beauty?
>
> Food for thought :)
>
> http://n2.nabble.com/file/n1880392/ICE%2Bin%2BNeoOffice%2B2.2.png
> http://n2.nabble.com/file/n1880392/ICE%2Bin%2BOpenOffice.org%2B3.png
>
> http://n2.nabble.com/file/n1880392/ICE%2BStyles%2Bmenu%2Bin%2BMicrosoft%2BOffice%2B2008.png
> http://n2.nabble.com/file/n1880392/ICE%2Bin%2BMicrosoft%2BOffice%2B2008.png
> --
> View this message in context:
> http://n2.nabble.com/Guidelines-to-extending-UIs-such-as-FLUX-tp1880392p1880392.html
> Sent from the OOo user experience: Renaissance and user interface mailing
> list archive at Nabble.com.
>
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Re: Guidelines to extending UIs such as FLUX

Graham Perrin
Administrator
Joshua Martin wrote
I have to say, however, having *ELEVEN* menus across the top doesn't help one bit...
OK, the topic here is

> Guidelines to extending UIs such as FLUX

I offered example screen shots of

* one extension to OOo and other word processors

I didn't intend to draw attention to one person's extensions to their OS environment (already, the original images were cropped to remove most of my customisation) so to help re-focus, I'll post again with some screen shots that exclude my Dock etc..
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Extending UIs: a thumbnail montage showing the effect of one extension

Graham Perrin
Administrator
In reply to this post by Graham Perrin
Focus first on this montage of thumbnails.

The montage presents one extension, added to three current word processors, one of which is OOo 3.0.

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Extending UIs: zooming closer to screen shots of one extension in three word processors

Graham Perrin
Administrator
> Focus first on this montage of thumbnails.

Consider next the (slightly reduced) screen shots of the one extension in its three environments:



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Re: Extending UIs: zooming closer to screen shots of one extension in three word processors

Joshua Martin
I can see the problem - we must find a way to better integrate extensions
into the UI (though the final decision on an extensions place in the overall
UI would ultimately be up to the developer)

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Joshua S. Martin
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Extending UIs: a word processor that arranges itself poorly

Graham Perrin
Administrator
In reply to this post by Graham Perrin
In the screen shot below, focus on what happens after the user asks this word processor to arrange its windows:

* the application arranges its window so that the zoom, minimise and close boxes are hidden behind the extension

* the application arranges its window so that its primary toolbar icons are partially obscured by an extension.

It is this type of *application* UI misbehaviour that we might avoid if, at a reasonably early stage, there are guidelines on how the application and its extensions should interact with each other.


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integrating extensions into the UI

Graham Perrin
Administrator
In reply to this post by Joshua Martin
Joshua Martin wrote
… better integrate extensions into the UI
+ 1

(though the final decision on an extensions place in the overall UI would ultimately be up to the developer)
— and I would not expect the behaviour of any one *current* extension, no matter how popular, to unduly restrain our creative thinking about future *Renaissance* user experiences :)

Incidentally, I'm not singling out ICE for special attention. I just happened to discover it a few days ago, and it was a handy example of Word arranging itself sometimes strangely in (cough) compatibility mode with a template. (Note to self: report the issue to developers of ICE.)

@ Joshua: thanks for speedy attention to these things, I really don't expect anyone to be working on things during a festive season, any further feedback from me can be mentally shelved until a later date.
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Re: Extending UIs: zooming closer to screen shots of one extension in three word processors

Philip Ganchev
In reply to this post by Joshua Martin
Mozilla labs is going to great lengths to integrate extensions into
the interface of Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox.[1]  The labs
recommends different places for different extensions, so that that
each extension and its preferences show up where it is most logical.

[1] http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/design-session-where-do-firefox-mobile-add-ons-go/

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