Lately I have been interacting with the UX community at OpenOffice.org with a great exchange of ideas and with the hole way OOo new interface should be approached. First was the push to a slimer toolbar, then the problem that some of the impress UX choices on the prototype were very lowly represented.
KOffice UI about text documents and spreadsheetsThe discussion went into talking about the KOffice UI which also had a lot of chatting since there was the issue with different ways of looking how the open office suites are moving into a more vertical box bar, usually called dockers. However some messages kept the rest of the group download and use it. Then again there is a great study case to take into account.Today however I got back into slidecast to look at the most successful presentations and how horrible is both powerpoint and impress to generate these kind of presentations. Basically most of the presentations are very image oriented, they rely on 80% images to deliver a message but in these lines we provide very little tools. So maybe our developers need to have a read at one of the modern presentations books like slide:ology and Presentation Zen.Even with the recently updated image editor section within OOo we only have a relative archaic Gallery panel and also no way to easily import content from the web or cammeras or others.An insert images button is also relatively hidden from the general UI and users that want to insert images from the web fight through a very nagging process to put the images. So I hope that we can get the messages about the current state of presentations and how can we make easier for users to be guided on creating the best presentation they need by having access to the cotnent they want.
Prototype Impress shownedThese can be done through extensions…. that is correct but as user experience we can’t rely on them to solve all our problems. And many people think that extensions are much greater than what they are technically are. The latest message came as please make the UI an extension. These of course is just not possible to refactor the toolkit just by adding more code on top.I think that the goal from Renaissance is a bit hollow since their wishes are not compliant with their resources. But even if I am wrong and there are a lot of developers behind at the same time other group is pushing for performance and so on, user experience will face the question about if their expertise is the one required to say what the user feels when they use the interface. Can they really do the best they expect on the very first minute that they use.I am still hesitant about these prototypes because I love innovation and change and even if many people are conservative and fighting back there still a lot of stuff we need to oversee to make this tool more efficient. Please let me know about your thoughts and contribute to the conversation about UX at their mailing list.