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Words, Design & Usability

The word Ubuntu still means “humanity”. So, it’s about a Linux desktop environment, made for the ordinary people. That was one of the first issues I found. Because that’s not entirely true.

Ubuntu should be for the ordinary user, not for the Admin. Not for the Linux community and also not for the Linux experts.

It is a funny fact that the people who can build their own PC, which can install any operating system on their own and can change every program/app and desktop environment, grumble every time a new Ubuntu release comes our way. Some hate just everything about it, one old example is of course the Unity 7 desktop. But you know what? People have used it and went along with it quite well.

So, why listen to those people? Of course, they are a big part of the community, because they use it, they contribute – therefore, they have great influence. But do they represent the simple day by day user, using the operating system to get things done? Or do they just love to play with the operating system, like others pimp their cars? Right, you know the answer. Those cars sometimes look amazing, but driving is not the main purpose anymore.

But that should be the target. Like with every other operating system.

It was quite a task, to get to the design part of it. Because, this has maybe the biggest impact.

Modern desktop design should also be useful. And not stuck in 2002.

Yes, it is 2017. Yes, a desktop should be modern, cool and at the same time just work, to fit your needs. Not to be intrusive. Be intuitive, or at least have a good and logical learning curve. And the icing on  the cake would be the possibility to personalize it (at least a little) to YOUR needs.  

There are a lot of desktops out there, and it is not surprising that alternatives like Elementary OS, Budgie, and Zorin OS find more and more users. That also means that Ubuntu is losing users (even if they still use an Ubuntu base… yes).

Why? Maybe because there is a straight line, the design follows. A line how it works. No obstacles. No design flaws. No inconsistency. Everything out of the box.

A lot of people still like a Gnome 2 design, but going back should not be the way to go. Ubuntu is not Gnome. Ubuntu is not KDE. Ubuntu also is not Windows or macOS. So, please guys – leave Ubuntu be and use whatever you wanna use. But Ubuntu needs to have an own design, an own look and feel.

Using it, doesn’t mean understanding it.

Usability is the key.
It shapes design and functions into experience.

When you think about what tasks you are doing all day long on your PC, think about what functions do you use, how you perform them, and how they could be easier to achieve. What programs do you use? What information do you need? What “interaction” do you have with the operating system and/or you PC?

Usability is something that is mistaken by a lot of people. Sometimes it is because you are used to perform tasks always the same way, sometimes it is because the design is more important and cannot handle certain tasks right. Sometimes it is the unwillingness to make something different or new. But it’s also not the way to reinvent everything, “just because”.

Usability – the word – kind of tells us that something is “able to use”. But not only that – it should also be easy and logical, repeatable and self-explaining. And much more, of course. Sometimes it is good to get rid of everything and start from scratch – because some things just cannot be adapted from a certain point.

So, where is the sweet-spot? And is there a sweet-spot?