Glom UI Review

I have been working on a UI Review for Glom. It is still rough around the edges and mostly covering the most obvious problems.

The most challenging bit so far was the redesign of the welcome screen. This is what I came up with (inspired by Adobe’s welcome screens):

Glom Welcome Mockup

For comparison, this is what it currently looks like:

Current Glom Welcome Screen

What was most important to me was to allow single-click activation of the individual options, but by doing so I realised that Gtk doesn’t offer really satisfying options for this. The best I could come up with was buttons set to RELIEF_NONE, which is essentially the same as a toolbar button. Unfortunately this doesn’t make the item look particularly clickable (unless hovered). Other platforms often use labels that look like web links for this kind of functionality, but while Gtk supports hyperlink labels, that is generally only used for actual web links. Why?

As applications become more and more similar in design to websites (and vice versa), I feel that we over-use the “button” element and do not provide enough flexibility to create “clickable items” that suit the purpose of the application.

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12 responses to “Glom UI Review

  1. Nicely done, much cleaner. We need more of these UI cleanups everywhere in GNOME.

  2. I like this.

    I think your labels look very clickable, for two reasons: 1) The icon in front, 2) the context. You could play with mnemonics, maybe.

    I like the consistent use of “…” for every label that leads to another pre-glom-shows-your-data dialog.

    Also, the local network support looks much nicer now.

    What I *dont* understand is why on the left, “hbar/open …” is at the bottom, whereas on the right “empty database …/hbar is at the top. Because of the horizontal bar being on top/bottom it looks a bit strange. And only few (those who have used Glom a lot) will be able to start with an empty database, so this might give the wrong impression to newcomers.

    Maybe the right column should read “Create New Database”.

    PS: Something is wrong with either planet.openismus.com or your feed. There, your article is titled “Screenshot”. And the screenshots themselves get cut off by the “Subscriptions” menu … perhaps we should allow images there to have scrollbars if needed?

    PPS: Could this comment box be wider, please? With a not-so-narrow font?

  3. Agreed very much on the limited options for clickable elements. GTK does a nice job separating content from presentation, but right now it also separates content from meaning. The result is a lot of hacky GUIs that, unfortunately, work around GTK’s nice design to implement specific visual metaphors it doesn’t (but should) support.

    As for your welcome screen redesign, I think there are a few apps out there with a similar approach; I don’t think people would be confused by it 🙂

  4. Dan Carpenter

    The new version looks really nice.

    On the old one the first thing that you see is the *ALERT* no sessions found on local network.

    I haven’t used glom so maybe I’m wrong but I agree with Michael that it’s odd to have “Open…” at the bottom.

    But mostly I just wanted to say it looks really a million times better than before.

  5. Alexandre Mazari

    Great stuff. Blending web technologies with Gnome mature and complete stack is the way to go.
    The recent breakthroughs of HTML/CSS/JSS makes it a very compeling UI definition and design oportunity and has 1000 times more authoring tools and competent developers than GTKers.

    Would be great to lower the entry barrier for Gnome development and take advantage of the dynamic nature of a DOM interface and animated graphical abilities found in fresh renderers (webkit and gecko).
    Also it would be great to allow mashups of web content and service and local data and behaviour.

    That is the aim of the SeedKit project. It provides a WebKit view which is augmented with Seed/GIR-provided GObject symbols.
    The javascript context has access to both the DOM nodes and events and binded GObject/DBus services.
    As an example I built in few minute a Rhythmbox controller whose UI is html based using the DBus API.
    There is also an opportinity to mix and match Web services and local data. A gmap filled with EDS/Telepathy contacts for example.
    The third idea is to use SeedKit for single site browser, an app for each webapp you use.
    You could have a gnome menu entry for GMail, launching a simple webview window with gmail content. The integration with underlying services could allow to send notification at message arrival or fill an icon badge with the number of unread mail. Of cours, we have to deinitialize seed as soon as we interprete remote scripts for obvious security reasons.

    Finally, and that seems more interesting to your requirement, it could be embedded in an application (Glom for example) to provide an html view controlling the GObject backend. A Welcome page with link to projects or templates for example… 🙂

    Well, more on SeedKit at http://gitorious.org/seedkit, and if you feel like contributing in any way… drop me a mail !

    There are some related posts on my blog if ever you are interested.
    http://billetvert.blogspot.com/

  6. Fantastic adjustment! This is a great adjustment to see happen.

  7. it could be just fine even without Document Five..

  8. does glom could implement at ubuntu?

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