Hi. One thing that we would also like to do is to promote and review some of the best and most interesting installable applications from our Maemo users and community developers that are currently out there. Naturally there are many available (check out the Maemo site or your local Application manager app), and we can’t unfortunately highlight all of them, but let’s start anyway. This is not a official Nokia company endorsement or a seal of approval, but just a review from one designer and user. 🙂

Maemopad+, from Kemal Hadimli, is a combined note taking and sketching application. It allows the user to write down notes and draw sketches as memos and save them for later use and reference.

Nice things:
– It is nicely hildonized. The menus, toolbars and other UI elements work rather closely to what is the current system style. The application feels stable also. Nice work.
– One data file supports multiple memos. It is fast to switch between multiple pages and do edits to individual memo files.
– Sketching is nice and smooth. There are multiple brush sizes, a nice full range color picker and all the drawing tools that you need.
– The multiple undo feature works nicely.
– Exporting. The user is able to then get out the data in the application. This is naturally very important. 🙂

Improvement ideas:

– One of the potentially nicest features of this application is the “Pressure sensitive brush color” feature. If the user draws with a light touch, the colour is then lighter. (I wish more people and applications would be utilizing this feature!) Unfortunately at least with my current device the calibration seems a bit off – anything more than the very lightest touch results in the full color being drawn. It would be good if the defaults would be changed, or if the user could manually adjust this setting.
– The New memo dialog is slightly confusing, especially with the ability to give a sketch name to a text file and vice versa. Perhaps it could be simplified to simply have a selection between note, sketch and task list and not have separate radio buttons and tabs in the same dialog.
– The sketching canvas size cannot be changed. (Or then I didn’t find a way to do this.)
– The sketch toolbar could be improved somewhat. Right now it doesn’t indicate which tool the user is actually using (line, freeform etc.) – unless the tool is the eraser tool. Check out the device Sketch application for this.
– No importing. As Elaine asks in a Seinfeld episode: “Just imports? No exports?” They would certainly go hand in hand.
– First time user experience. When I started this application for the very first time, it asked me whether I want to create a new database and asked to save a file name. Perhaps a smoother experience would be to automatically create one for the user, even create a new text and sketch memo there, as not to start with a completely blank page.

Other thoughts:
– At least for my personal use the ability to create childnodes with infinite depth is “too powerful”. I could live with even a simpler structure of just having multiple pages in a flat hierarchy.
– Thumbnails for the sketch pages would be really nice.
– Integration with other applications and tasks: What to do with the sketches? Could there be more easy ways to send these sketches to contacts or other devices without having to first manually export them outside the application.

Anyways, even now it’s a very nice application for many users. If you have a need for note taking or sketching, go and check out Maemopad+.

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.

Hello and good morning

April 13, 2007

Hello world! This is a new blog of the Nokia Maemo user interaction design team. Maemo is the software platform that is running in the current range of the Nokia internet tablet products. Since many of our software comrades are already blogging about their own work, it’s high time that we start our own blog.

We’ll be blogging about the various topics and issues relating to the user interface and user interaction design that we come across in our work.

However, since blogging is about direct feedback and communication, if you have any suggestions on what kinds of issues and topics would you want us to blog about, please comment and give your ideas. We’ll try our best to answer and discuss the topics that you want to hear about.

This WordPress account will be our temporary home away from home. Once we get the official Maemo site upgraded and fully functional, this blog will then probably move to that address. This will be a shared blog, with multiple persons writing entries and giving replies. We are individuals with differing personalities, so take everything we say with a healthy grain of salt. Absolute truths are very rare in the world of interaction design.When we’re not blogging, we’re busy designing new things and improving the current designs, so please have some patience with us. 🙂

On behalf of the interaction design team,

roope rainisto