Segusoland, and open-source UI development

Had a couple of conversations with Danny and Quinn in San Diego about why Open Source UIs generally aren’t… Erm… Well… They suck*.

Here’s a half-formed one that was the basis of my side of the discussion with them.

Design generally operates at a different clock-speed, and generally evolves best over time when certain strata of it’s basis are moving slowly, such as the requirements, the code base or the context of use cf. “How buildings learn”, “Adaptive Design” etc.

Does the speed and diversity of open source iteration leave a designer – if they are involved at all – building on shifting sands?

Segusoland – a novel file manager seems to buck this trend, or at least suggest a new way forward in working with UI design in an open-source-context by establishing and publishing open-source human interface guidelines, to co-evolve with the code.

» Segusoland: Human Interface Guidelines
[via the more.theory weblog, and NooFace]

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* I may just think Open-Source UIs suck due to my ignorance and lack of exposure to excellent open-source UIs. If you know of any, or wish to offer an alternative appreciation based on your wider experience – then please let me know in the comments!

0 comments
  1. Andrew said:

    Intersting,that segusoland UI is actually using something like a faceted classification scheme, allowing the browsing of multiple related heirarchies. It certainly has some clunker UI decisions (“the big red arrow shows you what to look at”) though.

  2. dan said:

    Brilliant!! SegusoLand is a grammatical interface. It’s a wee sentence builder. It would sooo rock if it had voice recognition, you could quickly (and I think intuitively) open files with the right app.

    Code versus design in opensource, I think is down to the slightly different approaches to iteration and evolution. We’re facing it again with the new messageboards project here, problems I’m sure you know about. Code can be object oriented and worked on in discrete chunks, can design? I would think so but in a different way.

    Will have to go away and think about that a bit more.

  3. Not being a designer, I can’t properly articulate what I’m trying to say here, but I feel you need to look at open-source design from a product perspective rather just as the way people ‘see’ software. Perhaps the Airbus or something like that might have a way in?

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