Montag, 31. Januar 2011

Design Team Kick-Off Step 2: Current Status of Work and Collaboration

Hi all,

this post announces the second step of our official Design Team
Kick-Off. It is about what we've done so far, and how we did it - thus,
it aims to get everybody "on track" who is interested to join, or to

So, please read the Current Status of Work and Collaboration

Some background: A few days ago, we've agreed on how to set up our Design
Team, and we've invited other parties to join - people having interest
in user experience, visual identity design, accessibility, and user
support and training. Together, we'll aim for "Make it just work, and
look great, too!"

Here is the general Design Team Kick-Off Page.


Samstag, 29. Januar 2011

Not even included, but already improved!

Dear marketeers, dear visual design loving people!

You may have noticed that the new LibreOffice icons "missed the boat" for the LibreOffice 3.3 final - as one of the developers said. Fortunately, they will be included in the upcoming minor release (see ReleasePlan).

But although the icons are not even included, there have been vastly improved - already. The guy who did that is the same person who initially led to the rumors concerning "interesting mockups" that have been extensively discussed on the TDF mailing list. Well, now he joined the Design Team and did not only provide deep insights in usability aspects, but also in his great design skills.

So this is what "Paulo" did for LibreOffice ... first, he improved the 128px icons (left side shows the old version, right side the improved one).

Next, he created the missing 256px icons that now provide a richness in detail, so that they can easily be used for marketing material. Click on it to see them in full size ... worth the effort :-)

Personally, I'm deeply impressed how much the icons gained - by keeping the metaphors. Now, I'm even more curious what the design team will come up with in the future. Both concerning making LibreOffice more usable, and caring about visual details.

And before I forget this: Thanks to both Paulo and the whole team for doing such great stuff! As Florian would say ... You all rock!


Sonntag, 23. Januar 2011

Invitiation: Kicking-Off the LibreOffice Design Team

In our recent discussions, we became aware that it is finally time to kick-off the LibreOffice Design Team that wants to, "Make it just work, and look great, too!"

But, are we complete? I don't know, so I'd like to invite you to join - if you have interest, or even some background concerning one of the following areas:
  • User experience: User experience considers the user's point of view even before and also during the use of LibreOffice. It aims for productivity, usability and enjoyment and targets both the the LibreOffice project's Web resources and the LibreOffice software. If you're interested in or have expertise in research, design and evaluation methods, we want to hear from you!
  • Visual identity design: Visual identity design is about creating stunning artwork to be used in the LibreOffice productivity suite, in the LibreOffice project's Web infrastructure, and in the LibreOffice project's marketing material. It is also about improving the quality and consistency of the visual branding language, which represents our whole community.
  • Accessibility: Accessibility is about making the software usable for everyone: people with and people without special needs. To achieve this challenging goal, we implement the laws and technologies that are that are widely-recognized requisites in the field.
  • User support and training: This is about sharing your experience when providing support and training for end users. It helps us identify important areas for improvement and establish essential requirements.
Consequently, if you'd like to work on improvements that target both the community and our large end-user base, then the Design Team is the right place for you.

What to do now? If you are interested, then please subscribe to our Design mailing list. Within the following days, we will discuss on list how we'll proceed. Thanks!

Well, we are looking forward to see you!


Disclaimer: The Design Team is not (yet) the right place for you, if you want to ask for an overhauled user interface, or to ask us to resolve issues that drove you mad (personally). At the very moment, it is about to get a team to finally work on such topics ... not so much the other way round :-)

Sonntag, 16. Januar 2011

LibreOffice Initial Icons - Milestone Number One

LibreOffice Design Team Effort

Hi all!

This post is - more or less - on behalf of the LibreOffice Design Team. Yesterday, we reached an important milestone considering the initial icons for the applications, the documents, and the templates. We now have final drafts for all six major LibreOffice applications.

As you may know from some older Design related posts, we've been working on the icons since about two weeks ... although we've started quite some time ago. And - to cite Bernhard - it seems that we kicked of a collaborative design effort we've never seen within OOo. And that just feels great. Plenty of feedback, and help - although we still need some more support (I'll explain that later.)

LibreOffice Icon Proposals

Let's have a look at the recent Calc icon proposal ...

If you had a look at previous versions, you might notice some changes - based on feedback we got. For example, the application/document icons (top row) now feature grayish background to convery the idea of "paper". Instead, the lower ones now feature more intensive "application colors".

But what are the main characteristics of these icons in general?
  • Document symbolism that is unique among all the LibreOffice icons
  • Different sizes that contain (hand-optimized) pixel perfect alignment and adapted symbolism details
  • Versions for viewers with good eyesight, and versions for people with visual disabilities
  • Based on the LibreOffice Branding Guidelines (here)
Okay, not avoid flooding you with too many details, let's compress the information and just highlight the 128px icons we've created so far ...

Progress and Next Steps 

Many icons are still missing, but the most important ones (a.k.a. visible for the user) are available. Now I'd say: "We will complete our mission!" :-) But ...

Help wanted!!! Sorry for shouting visually, but we currently lack a bit developer support to bring them into LibreOffice. Currently, the naming scheme, the packaging and the locations are unclear - so, developers, please join! Here is Bernhard's initial message.

The following table shows the current state of the icons - the most recent version can be found in the wiki.

By the way, the graphics within this blog post refer to the icons I have been working on. Of course, due to the incremental improvements, some contributors also offer slightly different / alternative versions - please refer to the table.

More Information

So what do you think? If you are interested in more information, then:


Donnerstag, 6. Januar 2011

Icon as con I can #2

Calc Icons

This night, I've already presented a proposal for the Writer Icons - here is the next iteration for Calc and spreadsheet documents in general.

The right place for discussion and volunteer offers is - as already mentioned - the Design Team mailing list :-)

I already got some feedback for the Writer icons - this will lead to better recognizability for the small versions, and less visual noise for the large template graphics. Kudos to Ivan, and Mirek!

Home (Office), Sweet Home (Office)

Painting all day long - it somehow fits, even the color matches somehow the LibreOffice branding language. Today, I've started to decorate one of the walls in our workroom ... second coating to come.


Icon as con I can

Writer Icons

The title of this blog posting may sound a bit weird to you ... that is how I currently feel with the different work topics :-) But here, I just wanted to show a recent proposal for "own" LibreOffice icons that we are currently working on.

The "we" refers to the LibreOffice Design Team that collected ideas an already went through some iterations for the icon design. Unfortunately, we got stuck a bit (Christmas and vacation time, few volunteers ...), so that it is unsure whether the icons may get included into the upcoming official LibreOffice release.

Nevertheless, I thought it might be interesting for you ...

The picture shows both default color and high contrast icons for the application Writer and its documents (top), and the Writer document templates (bottom).

More Bits and Pieces

Discussions currently take place on the Design Team mailing list, and there is a dedicated Initial MIME icons wiki page - a bit outdated, but it provides an overview.

And here is an older draft I once made to show how the tiny 16x16 icons could look like. Just guess the applications :-)

Finally, this is a good opportunity to say "Thank you!" to Bernhard, Ivan, Jaron, Björn, ... anybody who wants to join?