Comments & questions abou Paroli UI design

Risto H. Kurppa risto at
Sun May 17 03:42:05 CEST 2009

On Sat, May 16, 2009 at 12:32 PM, Mirko Lindner <mirko at> wrote:
> Paroli is indeed themeable. Due to its plugin-nature every app comes with
> its own edc files that can be adapted which is highly encouraged.
> If anyone wants to give it a go or improve the default design get in touch
> with me, I help where I can.

It'd be actually very nice to see a new theme for Paroli. Not because
I wouldn't like the b/w but to show what it can be. Bling bling,
anyone :)

>> * For a new user it's a mess not knowing when to slide things sideways
>> and when to click on 'nothing' (=black area) to get to phonebook etc.
>> I think I'd like to see small arrows on top/bottom or left/right on
>> the screen when user can slide. Maybe this could be a 'beginners mode'
>> and then the 'advanced mode' turns them off?
> I like the idea of adding small hints and had thought about a "first use"
> mode myself. my idea included windows explaining the screens, but you
> approach is much nicer :)

The KDE-approach here would be to present the user with a long list of
options s/he could select what to use and what not :)

>> * Empty I/O shows an 'edit' button.. maybe it should be hidden and
>> instead a text 'no logged events' could be shown?
> That I already implemented (after reading this mail), it is currently still
> only on my machine as the commit would break other things, but it is done :)

Great :)

>> * There's nothing (no text/button) telling one should click in the
>> black area to get to phonebook to select recipient in 'msgs' -> '+' or
>> 'Tele'
> Maybe a little magnifying glass in "beginner" mode when no number is entered
> and a "+" once a number has been entered?

I maybe wouldn't want to have there one extra icon as it now already
shows the top bar woth profile, time, GPS signal strength and battery,
on the next row it has the arrow left & 'back' text and 'next' button
then the somewhat unclearly shaped empty space (because of the
backspace button) and the keyboard. Since no colours are used I really
think the concept of 'button' should be around.. How do I know that
the arrow left (backspace) is a button, time is not, empty space is,
profile name is not, 'next' is and gsm/battery signal again is not,
date in home view is not, time you have to slide sideways...  I guess
this actually is what disturbs me most (atm) in the UI. One really has
to struggle to find the places where to press. Think about it: a door
with 10 handles - and only one of them actually opens the door. The
others would make it rain, close windows, turn alarm on, delete your
backups etc.. A pain, right..?

>> * when not in fullscreen mode (=illume enabled), one can't see the
>> used profile in the home view -> is it intentional that the top bar of
>> Paroli doesn't show if running not-fullscreen?
> I am fighting this since I first changed profiles...I hunting and hope to
> get this fixed.

I guess this comes down to the integration: having two bars is not
ideal (especially having all time, battery and GSM statuses all there
twice, both in Paroli and Illume). I think a nice solution would be to
get paroli profile visible in the illume bar but I guess that becomes
more difficult...

>> * could the dial volume change (AUX during call) either have % char
>> with the number or a graphical scale. Now it's just a number, seeing
>> 60 there doesn't tell you that it's 60% of the max 256 of Calypso..
> hmm, I think graphical scale wouldn't be too readable either ... I am
> personally not a big fan of the % sign. Any icon ideas anyone?

So no text, no graphics.. Not many option? A blinking light that uses
morse to tell the %, or maybe using the vibrator..  OTOH, if you think
a graphical scale is not readable, I guess you have already thought
something else for battery & gsm signals too...? So why not something
like this, with our 280+ dpi screen:

>> * The screen now has (in some views) 4 fields: top bar, navigation bar
>> (next/previous), num view and the keypad.
> I think I don't get the message...

oops, I think I was distrubted when writing this..I guess my point was
that the UI elements keep moving around in these areas. Or maybe it
was that it'd maybe want to see the navigation bar in the bottom, not
top or something. Just ignore it, if this stuff still bothers me I'll
come back to it..

>> *  The date doesn't need the | -bars in the home view: it's | Sunday,
>> May 10, 2009 | - the bars just make it more difficult to read
> That also depends on you liking I guess... I don't find them too bad.
> Opinions anyone?

I think it's against this minimalistic UI that Paroli seems to be
following. I'd rather see those lines around a button.. (it won't make
me stop using Paroli but I'd rather see usability, not eyecandy. I've
noticed I've stopped writing SMS's as I have to struggle with Illume
keyboard (compared to a phone with physical numbad to write SMS). Just
an example of usability, I'd really want to see a fullscreen
(transparent) keyboard - but this is offtopic.. Anyway, I fear that if
these lines are added just because they look good, where's the
usability factor, could there be lines added to make it more usable :)
(not planning to start a fight.. As I'm not the one who decides, I'm
happy to know the people who decide have read this and then decide
what they think is the best (and are responsible for that :)

> Apps never have a back-button, they are closed using the topbar. Subwindows
> should always have a back-button which allows you to navigate an app without
> closing it.

And the user should know the difference.... I strongly disagree.. If
the UI is similar, so should the behaviour. I was surprised to see
that the QT phone apps had a close button that said 'back' - but then
I realized that in the phone world that's what happens, yes, I go back
after writing a SMS or dialling a call. But of course it's nice to
have the option to jump back&forth between apps. Now it's however a
bit unclear.

>> *
>> back has the arrow but next doesn't? why's this?
> Good one, in fact I would like next and back to be icons only which would
> limit the potential translation effort again.

Please don't use the backspace icon there.. Or even better, use it
there but change the backspace button. I think that a normal left
arrow (long enough!) will be familiar for everyone who've used
computers. See

>> Are there any GUI guidelines or
>> documents telling how the GUi should be made. Like if I want to write
>> an app to send my location to an internet service over GPRS, is there
>> a guide how should I position the buttons? How about a checkbox or a
>> radio button, are they OK to use in Paroli etc etc? Are these
>> documents available somewhere?
> Your app can be designed as you see fit. Using what is already available in
> paroli as in design files as well as gui classes might just make your work
> easier.

Yes, my app of course but how about Paroli!? Just though if someone
writes an Awesome connection manager to manage wlan, bt, gprs etcetc
and would like to get it in official OM2009, does everything have to
be approved at the OM designer?

ok, I think it's now time for me to zzzzzzzzzz...

Can't wait for the next testing :)


| risto h. kurppa
| risto at kurppa dot fi

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