Renaissance ideas

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Renaissance ideas

Luis Fabiani
Hi, Renaissance team.

I write to you because I have no other place to share my thoughts. Thoughts
about the interface standards we're inheriting from the past, standards that
make no sense today. Let me explain.

Yesterday I was in a foreign language classroom watching a Youtube video the
teacher was projecting on a flat TV when I noticed how many unuseful
information I was watching. First of all, the TV was panoramic, as more and
more screens are today -laptops, TV, etc. And what I saw from the top to the
bottom was, as the browser showed it: title bar, menu bar, tools bar, Yahoo!
bar, tabs bar, information, status bar, windows start bar. All the bars went
the whole panoramic-way right to left, leaving a small and thin space for
the info.

Then the teacher changed to Office's Word to write some words, and, although
Word (and OO's Writer) is based on vertical pages, most of the screen was
occupied by bars and we only saw a short section.

Suddenly I realiced how absurd it's. I realiced why my subconscious hates
the big-tool-bars that Office 2K7 has and you're copying. We're inheriting a
way of working from when the screens were near-to-square, but now we insist
to put all the information top-to-botton wasting a lot of useful space,
leaving a small portion for working. Google Chrome is minimalist, I love it,
but I'm not editing. When I have to work with the new Office 2K7, I'm
trapped between my desire to hide that intrusive menu bar and the necesity
of those useful commands.

I think I have a solution that can make a difference to Word, *the
difference to DESIRE OpenOffice*: Leave the principal menu on the top, but
expand the commands on one side. We've been doing it on web pages for ages.
OS are doing it with the intrusive gadget bars. It's a much better solution.
Or, better, allow the user to decide where the commands-bar has to be
located: top, side, botton.

I'ld also make some tests -or surveys- to decide which design is the default
best. It can be very refreshing. Or you can ask for the preferences on the
first start-up and informe the user that he can change it.

It's only a thought. I hope you can use it. Please, feel free to contact me
if you want.

Yours sincerely,

Luis
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Re: Renaissance ideas

Irné Barnard
Luis Fabiani wrote:
> Leave the principal menu on the top, but expand the commands on one side.
>  

Hi Luis, yes +1 for me as well. It has been discussed a few times here
already. And I think the general idea is that we're moving towards a
movable, tabbed & dockable tool window. This could be placed either at
the top (as if it's a ribbon) or on the sides (as if it's a sidebar),
depending on the layout inside. I prefer the sides as well, but that
could be different for other users. Also the entire layout needs to
change between horizontal / vertical, so it would probably end up being
2 versions of the same thing.

Especially with users creating large documents, I've seen them turn
their 16:9 screens on the side and have the operating system adjust' to
suit - in which case a side-bar could cause problems, where a ribbon
wouldn't. But that sort of modification I've only seen very seldom and
only on very large professional screens, so I don't think the ribbon
should be default.

BTW, here're the links to the previous threads about this:

    * http://ux.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?listName=ui&msgNo=877
    * http://ux.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?list=discuss&msgNo=2563
    * http://ux.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?listName=discuss&msgNo=4016
    * http://ux.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?listName=discuss&msgNo=3874


Be assured the menu will not disappear (at least not before the users
won't become disadvantaged). Only after seeing that nearly no-one uses
it anymore (in favour of whatever other UI is used - through usage
calculations) will it even be thought about to remove the menu entirely.
Also not only a ribbon-like interface is being looked at, that's only
one of the "options". The renaissance prototypes have unfortunately made
people believe that we're only opting for the ribbon, which is not true.

E.g. see the design proposal here:
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Proposal_by_Johannes_Eva

--
Regards Irné Barnard