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When we'll finally see a new UI? [closed]

asked 2012-11-15 08:29:37 +0200

Nick@Appletech gravatar image

updated 2012-11-15 08:31:23 +0200

We've read many requests for a new UI. Specifically, this question: http://ask.libreoffice.org/question/31/are-there-any-plans-for-a-new-interface-gui/ is a good account of the situation.

I have to return to this subject because all the arguments in the last post of the -now closed- above thread are very valid and must be SERIOUSLY taken into account.

Although we won't doubt bjoern-michaelsen's arguments about the difficulty of the endeavour, it IS CRUCIAL to constantly remember those points, which I can confirm from OUR OWN EXPERIENCE in our non-profit Organization:

"STOP to add and add new functions but just go there > http://pauloup.deviantart.com/gallery/28216273 and try URGENTLY to change your prehistoric UNERGONOMIC very old UI and you will see how fast The Document Fundation will be a REAL alternative to MSO."


"1) i saw how hard it was for the workers to adapt theirs skills on an UI witch is really NOT ERGONOMIC. 2) i saw their efficiency going down with the actual interface, a very old conception not any more used in any kind of software in present days. 3) the workers are really more efficient with an UI which is beautiful (they are really happy to work with nice tools), simple, without sub - sub - sub... menu option. 4) they can learn a lot faster with a software which has easy and "cool" UI (which is very important for a compagny who want to switch, because "time is important"). 5) May be LibreOffice or OOo have a lot of downloads but I'm SURE that not even 10% of the people who have downloaded LO or OOo are using it."

So, PLEASE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE UI NOW! See at http://pauloup.deviantart.com/gallery/28216273 (with which I am not affiliated in any way), and PLEASE understand that without this change LibreOffice makes our life difficult and unproductive, while, WITH this change, it CAN become the killer project worldwide.

PLEASE, PLEASE, start a UI revision project NOW, and, why not, perhaps start a public fund raising effort for the UI-revision project only. PLEASE!

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Closed for the following reason the question is answered, right answer was accepted by Alex Kemp
close date 2016-02-18 17:35:07.926154


@ROSt52: Bug fixing is always crucial. Starting a UI-revision project would be a new one, with its own resources, designers, developers, that's why separate funding is suggested. Current developers should definitely focus on bugs. UI-revision in LO is very important because current UI is UNERGONOMIC

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-16 17:53:36 +0200 )edit

@vojo: See previous comment. Stability (i.e. bug fixing) is of primary concern. BUT without a contemporary, friendly and ergonomic design, users and esp. companies cannot endorse LO! Note the above points, ALL of them confirmed in practice again and again. Both bug fixing and UI cannot wait.

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-16 22:11:09 +0200 )edit

It's a shame someone has down-voted, when I think it's clear that WE SHOULD NOT regard bug fixing / UI as either/or fields. BOTH are extremely important. It's just that UI evolution has been largely neglected.

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-19 12:31:11 +0200 )edit

THE REAL QUESTION IS (as Jaret below has pointed out): Why don't you immediately start a new, coordinated, well-defined and well-designed project to invite the public/organizations to fund specifically a total LO UI redesign/rebuild aiming at offering the best user experience? Please reply to this.

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-19 12:33:23 +0200 )edit

@ROSt52: Ask for UI-development funding as suggested and you'll be able to get the devs you need for it. You are doing a great job. Why not expand it to other important areas? The world puts more hopes than you think to LibrO!

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-19 13:10:36 +0200 )edit

NO ONE TO UPVOTE FOR UI-REDESIGN YET? Even from those who favor the change (and have an adequate karma)?

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-19 13:19:42 +0200 )edit

I hope this thread might help make clearer the point that productivity is NOT only a result of bug-free operation, compatibility and features but of a well-designed UI too, esp. with such software (like LO) which provides the main daily working environment. This truth seems to have been overlooked.

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-28 08:20:28 +0200 )edit

Those Mock-up thing, with left-side menu are good for LO Write, but not good enough for LO Calc.

My wide screen isn't wide enough to fit my 50+ columns of tables and freeze 3 columns at left. I work everyday from 9 to 5 (mostly to 9 to 7), and most of my work time is using Calc.I wish I had 20:9 screen or wider to fit my Calc's sheets.

Paijo gravatar imagePaijo ( 2013-06-25 12:00:06 +0200 )edit

I definitely agree. The LO is in dire need of a UI redesign. I would love to replace MSO with LO but I just cannot since the workflow is just way more complicated in LO. The MSO pivot table is straight forward and so easy to use. The same cannot be said for the LO version. The functionality is great but the UI totally gets in my way..

Dr. Mike gravatar imageDr. Mike ( 2013-08-27 22:33:04 +0200 )edit

Ugly design also makes LO such a hard sell to others. I may install it on my friends' PCs when I service their laptops but they still prefer to go down the "find cracked MSO" path when they see the UI. 80% of them only care for 20% of the features, while dated design is almost universally noticed and complained about almost immediately. Many of them come to pretty negative feelings about LO very quickly.

Dawid Ciecierski gravatar imageDawid Ciecierski ( 2013-11-02 14:04:37 +0200 )edit

11 Answers

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answered 2012-11-16 15:26:53 +0200

ROSt52 gravatar image

A nice and maybe more functional UI is definitely a good thing. However, when I have the choice of having less bugs and don't have to learn a new UI, I personally go for less bugs.

MSO came with new UIs and I am forced to work with Outlook 2010. It is quite a change and I am often searching for the right menu or button. Thus coming back to LibO, I rather have less bugs.

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answered 2012-11-18 17:57:34 +0200

David gravatar image

updated 2012-11-18 17:58:21 +0200

It is worth looking at the LO user research results as this indicates the wide range of opinions among users.

Personally, I would welcome a new interface along the lines of the now famous pauloup mock-up. ;) It seems a shame that UI development and bug-fixing are seen to be "either/or" options, instead of "both/and".

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Thanks for the link to the research results. Very interesting to read!

"both/and" would be very nice but..."either/or" results IMHO from the limited number of devs we have (who do a great job!!) and the very large number of bugs and not full compatibility with MSO we have.

ROSt52 gravatar imageROSt52 ( 2012-11-19 02:33:01 +0200 )edit

answered 2012-11-17 05:42:27 +0200

riidom gravatar image

As a comparison, see what jump Blender did from 2.49 to 2.50 with its UI. Not just the eye-candy (being more appealing to the eye and appearing more "professional"), also the workflow increased greatly, since things are easier to find now. Back to LibO - comparing the actual UI and pauloup's mock-ups (I'm not linking them again:) ), I see similar benefits for LibO. Of course, it is a huge task, and should probably happen parallel to bugfixing, and changes under the hood to make these things possible have to be done first. Many people sound like they expect a first alpha in 2012, but I think it is clear, that this will take at least a year. Also, I wouldn't say the current UI is "near to unusable", as many people seem to think. Again a Blender comparison, 2.49b was very possible to work with, just - once you got used to 2.5, you just don't want to go back. And this means, it is a step in the right direction - forward.

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answered 2012-11-27 15:27:10 +0200

Nick@Appletech gravatar image

It is interesting why no one attempts to provide a reply to the simple question: "Why don't you immediately start a new, coordinated, well-defined and well-designed project to invite the public/organizations TO FUND SPECIFICALLY a total LO UI redesign/rebuild aiming at offering the best user experience?" - This IN ADDITION to whatever other activity takes place (bug fixing, compatibility changes etc.)

We really want to see LO thrive and fulfill the wishes of millions of people around the world (including me) - and I believe what will make a difference is TARGETED FUNDING REQUESTS.

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I will tell you why no one has answered this question yet: because we (users of this site) are LibreOffice users that try to help other users by answering their question regarding usage of LibreOffice. Most of us are not associated with TDF or LibreOffice development in any way. This question is simply asked in wrong place.

Mirosław Zalewski gravatar imageMirosław Zalewski ( 2012-11-27 16:02:59 +0200 )edit

Thank you for your suggestion. Where then this question should be asked? I was hoping TDF would see this question here. I was also hoping users would support this idea by voting it so that TDF would take it seriously, but I see no real interest - which really surprises me. Isn't there a vision?

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-27 19:44:16 +0200 )edit

I think there are many replies. However, there is not much support for this idea. IMHO people are more concerned about productivity than a new cool look which requires additional time to understand it.

ROSt52 gravatar imageROSt52 ( 2012-11-28 00:36:25 +0200 )edit

I am sorry, I'll have to disagree. UI-revision is MOSTLY needed for productivity and NOT for aesthetics. The current UI is counter-productive, as has been repeatedly proved in enterprise environments. Geeks may become productive even now, but this is not the case with the average enterprise employee

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-28 07:59:50 +0200 )edit

I hope this thread might help make clearer the point that productivity is NOT only a result of bug-free operation, compatibility and features but of a well-designed UI too, esp. with such software (like LO) which provides the main daily working environment. This truth seems to have been overlooked.

Nick@Appletech gravatar imageNick@Appletech ( 2012-11-28 08:13:47 +0200 )edit

Anyone interested in productive discussion and actual work on new UI should get in touch with LO design team: <http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design> You can also try general developers mailing list and TDF discussion list (in regards of separate fund rising campaign): <http://goo.gl/oPNG0>

Mirosław Zalewski gravatar imageMirosław Zalewski ( 2012-11-28 09:49:23 +0200 )edit

answered 2012-11-17 03:50:29 +0200

ROSt52 gravatar image

I like the enthusiasm I see here for a new UI, but, there are question which pop my mind:

Is the new UI really welcome all over the world if the choice is a new UI or more stability, less bugs, higher productivity?

Our devs do a great job and I learned in another forum that most of their man power is used for bug fixes. Thus, were do you take more devs? It's a pity but we can't clone or hardworking devs!!!

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answered 2012-11-17 03:54:54 +0200

ROSt52 gravatar image

Additionally to my answer I just submitted:

As for the choice: new UI versus more stability, less bugs thus more productivity , an on-line questionnaire of all registered users would give a pretty good picture on where the dev power should go. Each registered user should have one and only one voice.

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answered 2012-11-16 21:24:25 +0200

vojo gravatar image

wouldnt it be more important to get some stability in LO before worrying about UIs. With all the problems on 3.6.x (install issues, file association issues, etc), not sure you would even get a chance to use the new UI if there was one.

To be fair, I had the need to change header behavior on a file using 3.5.6....it went well (much simpler than changing header formats in mid doc for Word)....so well done LO team!!!

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answered 2013-06-25 12:36:06 +0200

Paijo gravatar image

updated 2013-06-25 12:36:51 +0200

I do want new UI for some reason:

  1. Less mouse clicks to access frequently used command/menu.
  2. Easy to remember keyboard shortcut (or keyboard menu sequence).
  3. Faster and easier for text/cell/sheet formatting.
  4. Less confusing keyboard mnemonic.
  5. Ergonomic and better layout of forms, dialog boxes, etc.
  6. Less hidden but important functions.
  7. Allow user tweak for non critical matter (i.e. menu position/location)

I do saw some improvement in newer version of LO for dialog boxes and form layout. Congrats. I sure am believe that most of LO users want the better UI for better productivity.

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+1 here as well

Oscar gravatar imageOscar ( 2013-11-07 14:50:33 +0200 )edit

+1 here. Getting the metaphor right will be not trivial, but we need to start. Where is the place for official feedback on the little bits of a start people have made?

Derek gravatar imageDerek ( 2014-01-18 00:52:54 +0200 )edit

answered 2012-11-15 15:51:56 +0200

Jaret gravatar image

updated 2012-11-16 13:03:28 +0200

+1000. UI sure must get top priority.

Let us rephrase this question as: "Why don't you immediately start a new, coordinated, well-defined and well-designed project to invite the public/organizations to fund specifically a total LO UI redesign/rebuild aiming at offering the best user experience?"

Can some representative of The Document Foundation please respond? How soon can you publish such an initiative?

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answered 2012-11-15 16:36:43 +0200

Angel gravatar image

I too believe that a major effort to redesign the UI is anxiously expected and will be welcome all over the world. Just set a funding target, and publicly ask for donations (e.g. using: https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/donations).

You will be amazed by the size of donations. See for example: http://ask.libreoffice.org/question/7815/i-dont-want-donate-you-because/

From all input I can get (by many Windows- and Linux-oriented geeks) UI is the most needed part of LO. The need for it has been hugely underestimated.

I agree you should act on it asap.

You could in parallel find some UI experts (in UI design & implementation) to propose design ideas and publish them for the users to vote on the UI design proposals.

Also set very specific hallmarks. No more than 6 months for alpha, 9 mo for beta, a year for final release.

Ideally the UI should be theme-based and modifiable (by experts, of course).

Why such simple actiion were not pushed forward yet?

I cannot accept that The Document Foundation is incapable to prepare and coordinate the UI upgrade project. It must be seen not as a difficult assignment, but rather as an opportunity: to refresh LO, provide momentum, increase user/organization adoption and interest, integrate features in an easily-accessible way, etc.

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Could not agree more! It pains me to keep getting TDF's "we're releasing another point release fixing N bugs", "electing board members", "another feature implemented" RSS posts, when all these news from my POV pale in comparison to the real issue of design (UI, templates, etc) at hand. IMHO TDF buries its head in the sand when it comes to the fact that design-wise LO looks and feels like 'back to 1995'. Shame to see such a promising OSS project slowly fade into irrelevance.

Dawid Ciecierski gravatar imageDawid Ciecierski ( 2013-11-02 13:59:45 +0200 )edit

I work with those using both MSO and LO (writer). It's the ribbon that people like. It has proved to be well designed, functional, and is the one thing people comment on when choosing MSO.

But this is not really a good enough reason for upgrading the UI. Need a little research maybe to focus on the need. I'd like to see an official forum/pace to bring al the issues and docs and opinions together. To me this is the touchstone whether LO will really really take off.

Derek gravatar imageDerek ( 2014-01-18 00:51:02 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2012-11-15 08:29:37 +0200

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Last updated: Jan 22 '14