Rants and raves

April 18, 2007

Hi everyone. This blog as such might not be the most ideal forum for this, but if you have specific comments (rants/raves/questions) about individual parts or aspects of the current UI design, feel free to give your comments here.

However, if you have found something that is clearly a bug, please use our public bugzilla tracking system, found at http://maemo.org/bugzilla . Yes, we could and should do a better job of tracking and utilizing that system, but we’re trying to improve on that also.

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7 Responses to “Rants and raves”

  1. Milhouse said

    Great idea for a blog, I’m sure others will be along soon, but there is also the Developers newsgroup which may or may not be more approriate. :)

    This question could be (and possibly has been) raised in the developers newsgroup but I’ll give it a shot here anyway.

    Why, when an application is not running in full screen, are there gutters of wasted space on the left and right hand sides of the application window? You can see these gutters in the two screenshots here:

    http://www.theinquirer.org/images/articles/n800-virtual-keyboard.jpg

    You can see the gutters to the right of the vertical scrollbars in both screenshots, and to the left of the red box in the bottom screenshot (also to the left of the horizontal scrollbar in the bottom screenshot).

    When you maximise the application the gutters are no longer present. However, in reduced screen mode, when pixels are at an even greater premium, the UI is wasting space on these gutters.

    Why are the gutters necessary – they seem to serve no purpose. Perhaps the right-hand gutter is intended to make any vertical scrollbar more accessible, but if this were the case the gutters should be present in full screen mode as well.

    Can the gutters be got rid off so that full screen and reduced screen application windows are consistent – ie. no gutters?

    Thanks.

  2. Roope Rainisto said

    Hello Milhouse. You’re right about the issue that the gutters take effective screen space away from the applications. As you also point, the full screen mode “solves this issue” partly.

    As to why they are there in the first place, originally the main reason is to provide the graphical designers the flexibility to design a skin in such a manner that there can be a graphical element around the entire application area, allowing for more versatile theming. The non-full screen view is non-optimal in many aspects of its screen space usage. We are looking into this, but I cannot promise anything specific. :)

    However, as a note of interest, Tuomas K. commented that the widths and heights of these margins are contained in the theme that is in use. So a theme (skin) developer
    can create a new theme where these margins can be set to 0 also in the non-full screen mode.

  3. I have opinions about the Connection Manager UI, and I have opined on them here: http://blog.russnelson.com/770/connection-manager.html

  4. Milhouse said

    Hi Roope – thanks for the explanation.

    I do hope the non-full screen view is optimised for the next release, it’s small issues such as the gutter that give the impression the devices are still a little rough around the edges.

    Standard themes/skins that are shipped with the device should be fully optimised – most users won’t download third-party skins in order to fix those problems that Nokia haven’t addressed.

    Admitting that the current views are not optimised is a positive sign and gives me hope that the situation will improve sooner rather than later! :)

  5. Brian said

    My rant is about the scrollbars. Some applications seem to have the “fat” one, but most don’t. Without using the stylus, the narrow scrollbar is very difficult to use. Sometimes, scrolling by brushing your finger against the screen isn’t good, e.g. very long web pages, or pages where there’s a risk of triggering a link-press instead. It’d be _really_ cool if the scrollbar could change if it detected a finger vs. a stylus, like the text input fields do for the on-screen keyboard. Also cool would be text-fields on web pages that grew to a larger size, maybe as kind of a pop-up, to make finger-clicking in it easier.

    My rave? I really like the way the dictionary guesses what you’re typing, and seems to notice new words you use and add them. Nice!

  6. Roope Rainisto said

    Hello Brian, thanks for your comments. You’re right about the scrollbars: at least I’m not happy with them at all. But we’re working on improving scrolling content, on many levels, actually. You’re also right about the UI problems in the browser: whereas with our own applications we can design UI’s so that the component sizes etc. are sufficient for a touch screen, doing it for web pages is a lot harder. But it’s also something we are keen on improving.

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