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[DotGNU]Interesting interface idea.

From: John Rebbeck
Subject: [DotGNU]Interesting interface idea.
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 18:56:47 +1000

I have been thinking about how to make an interface for a PC OS that is simple enough for a newbie to use from the word go and powerful enough that professionals can use it, I came up with what I believe may be a solution and I would like it if it was considered for DotGNU.
First of all you remove (or make un-necessary) the start menu, it's old. Second you change the nothingness of the desktop into the interface. Third you almost eliminate the windows (making them possible but un-necessary for a lot of tasks).
Down the left side of your screen (150px or so) you have a column of image buttons with the optional text (Overview, Communication, Information, Work, Programs, Multimedia, Computer, Personal, Settings, etc.) and when you click one of these the main area of the screen changes to reflect it.
The overview panel shows information about everything, number of new emails, number of messaged waiting, wether or not you are online, wether or not new topics have been added to discussions you are involved in, etc.
The communications panel is just that, com's. You have an ICQ style list of all your contacts down the right, then in the middle you have things like discussions, chat rooms, assistance, tips, etc. that can be navigated similar to windows System Tray (the buttons for each program open). The contact list should be able to work like ICQ and MSN Messenger put together allowing file transfers, conference calls (voice and/or video), remote desktop, config transfers, contact transfers, etc. You should also be able to invite someone in your contact list to use items in your work panel such as project management, client management, etc. or even give them the right to check your emails for a week while you are away.
The information panel is where you can look at news, articles, reference, books, etc. and you can organise and manage it yourself.
The work panel contains things like project management, client management, order management, employee and contractor management, document management, etc.
The computer panel is basically just so you can manually interact with drives and stuff.
The programs panel displays a few groups, Office, Games, Development, Internet, Accessories, etc. and it is self organising to put all your installed programs into these categories. It probably should be possible for the user to change the organisation though.
The multimedia panel lets you play music and videos etc. as well as rip CDs, convert WAVs to MP3s, burn CDs, download more music, etc.
The personal panel displays your accounts details, personal information, contact list, security options, etc. and allows you to manage it.
The settings panel is like the Windows XP control panel.
Basically that's it, I think the style of it all should be reasonably similar to the new Windows XP login screen, very space age, nice to look at, but most importantly clean and easy to use. The colors should be silver, blue and orange (I think).
On each panel if something relates to another panel it may be necessary for a command to change the 'currently displayed' panel.
The push should be towards not using programs for common tasks only specialised stuff. Emails are common so have it built into the desktop not a standalone application. That is the same with the contact list and a lot of other things.
I also think that rather than making the user organise their PC it should be organised for them. Somewhere on the HD there should be the folders Music, Downloads, Programs, Reference, Files, Projects, etc. which are all rather self explanitory.
If you download or burn music it automatically gets saved in the Music folder, if you want to play music it automatically loads the list from your music folder (cached though).
Along with all this if voice recognition is implemented it could be made even easier to use.
Everyone please tell me what you think. I will keep coming up with ideas but I'm sick of typing them at the moment.

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