Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'notes'

Mika Meskanen

Last week we introduced key screens for our core utility app designs, and we’ve been sketching key journeys ever since to unpack these concepts further.

Whereas the key screens communicate the overall, high level concept of an app, outlining key journeys is a design technique that gives us a feel for how users can accomplish a typical task when using the app.

For today, here is a closer look at the Calendar concepts key journeys

Change to another month

  • To move to the next or the previous month, simply swipe left or right on the month view.
  • Month names in the header roll in sync with the swipe

Change to another day

  • To move to the next or the previous day, swipe left or right on the agenda view
  • Selected day is popped out in month view, but today’s date remains highlighted in Ubuntu accent colour
  • You can also tap on a day number above, to move to that day

Compress the month view into a week view

  • Scrolling up on diary view, collapses the month view into one row, showing one week only and giving more space to display your events

Change from timeline to diary view

  • You can toggle between ‘gapless’ diary view and hourly view by bringing up the toolbar from the bottom edge and tapping on the Timeline / Diary view option

Create an event

  • The option to create a new event can be found in the toolbar, so just swipe up from the edge and tap on New Event
  • To cancel, just tap on outside the card on the top, or push it back down

  • Create Event card pops up with the keyboard, so you can immediately give title to your new event
  • You can also specify date, time, location etc. and add people to the event (details to be iterated)
  • When done, tap Save, and the card will slot into its place in your diary

View event details

  • To view an event in detail simply tap on it
  • Event details open up in full screen, it should be easy to glance when it is, what it is about, where it’s taking place and whose coming
  • If you want to, for example contact any of the people invited, just tap on the name, and their contact details open in a split view*

  • To go back to your diary, swipe up the toolbar and tap on ‘Back’

Remember we are still in the sketching and wireframing phase, visual design will come later and undoubtedly steer the design further!

What’s next?

We need something real to touch and poke, that we can test and improve – so don’t hold back as this is a great time to start prototyping!

As usual, sign up to the Ubuntu Phone mailing list and the IRC channel to discuss more.

* Picture of “Anna Olsson” used under Creative Commons from Isabel Bloedwater.

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Joshua Hoover

Notification about Notes

Throughout last year, as we invested heavily in our new data sync infrastructure, we gradually had to turn off services that were reliant on the old infrastructure and providing little value to our users. Our Notes service was one of these, so last year we removed Notes from the Ubuntu One web UI.

As part of that ongoing strategy to constantly make sure we are spending our time on the right things, we’ll continue to improve our services during 2013. One of these updates, an upcoming database change, will impact how we currently sync Tomboy Notes. By the end of February 2013 we will cease syncing Tomboy Notes to U1, meaning U1 won’t transfer your notes between computers. Those of you still using U1 to sync your notes will need to stop relying on the service to sync or restore notes after new installations.

We realize syncing notes to Ubuntu One was a nice feature for a small set of people, even so, we are contacting the Tomboy developers to help them support our new APIs which utilizes our new U1DB data sync service.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes and if you have any questions please contact us.

Update – February 5, 2013
The timing of our post and the deployment of some changes on the server side (unrelated to notes) yesterday couldn’t have been worse. Due to some unforeseen aftereffects of the deployment, notes sync was impacted, which meant when people synced their notes after this update the notes were deleted. We apologize for this. The good news is Tomboy does not delete notes but moves them to a backup folder. If your notes were deleted, please follow the steps in this FAQ. If you can’t restore your notes that way, please contact support for help.

Also, there are some alternatives for syncing notes in Tomboy. We’re providing two suggestions below.

1. Tomboy local backup
Backup your notes to a local folder and sync that folder with Ubuntu One. Note, if you are syncing notes between multiple computers, there may be some issues that arise due to conflicts. Here is how to sync notes with Ubuntu One and Tomboy’s local folder sync setup:

  1. Open Tomboy and open the Preferences menu
  2. Click on the “Synchronization” tab
  3. Click the “Clear” button
  4. Select “Local Folder” from the “Service” drop down menu
  5. Select a folder to sync your notes to from the “Folder Path” menu
  6. Click the “Save” button
  7. Open the Ubuntu One Control Panel and click the “Add a folder from this computer” button under the “Folders” tab and select the folder you chose in step 5

2. Rainy
Timo Dörr created Rainy, a note synchronisation/cloud server for Tomboy that can be used like Ubuntu One’s notes sync service. Rainy is a more advanced option and requires access to a server. If you’re interested, get started here.

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Design Team

Ubuntu: Designing for a good purpose

Ubuntu is the world’s most popular open-source PC operating system. It is used by more than 20 million people in over 240 countries  – and it has been translated into more than 80 languages. From schools in Andalusia to the French police force and rural communities in India, everyone who uses it loves it.

The main goals of the Ubuntu design team are to make Ubuntu appealing, usable and accessible on PCs, mobile devices and, both through these devices and through our web and cloud solutions, to make technology available for everybody.

<h2>Access to technology is a human right</h2>

On September 22, 2012, respected British newspaper The Guardian warned that, due to bank closures, many people in the UK will soon struggle to access basic financial services. Altogether, around 1,200 communities are likely to be affected by the coming closures, with many more expected to follow in the next five years. As their populations grow older, travelling to the next town will become impractical for many of these people. Instead, they will have  to go online.

Communication technologies play crucial roles elsewhere, too. In 2010, the Arab Spring led to revolutions in several North African countries, the protests spreading fast, as ordinary people were mobilised through social networks. And mobile phones play an important role in rural Africa, providing basic services like healthcare information and weather forecasts.

We believe access to technology is not just a luxury. It is, as these examples demonstrate, essential for satisfying basic human needs today. That’s why we consider it a human right.

<h2>Designing amazing experiences</h2>

Working in or with the Ubuntu design team means creating engaging and impactful products. We design experiences for mobile devices, desktop PCs, laptops and TVs, alongside web and cloud-based services. Fundamentally, we believe that these technologies do not need to expensive to be useful, usable, beautiful and accessible.

Designing for Ubuntu involves  many things. But above all, designing for Ubuntu means enabling basic human rights. Designing for Ubuntu is designing for a good purpose.

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Ivo Weevers

The UDS Design Track

One week to go! We’re looking forward to UDS. For me personally it will be my first and I’m thrilled to check out all the interesting sessions and hear your stories about Ubuntu and design. There will also be a very exciting design track in which we hope to work together on many cool topics, such as fonts, Juju GUI, Danish toys, the theater and many more!

For example, we will run some very interesting sessions on Ubuntu font guidelines and error states. We will organize real user-testing with the brand new Juju GUI. According to tradition, we will again organize the design theater. And we also invited two external speakers – one from LEGO and one from a design company – to talk about their experience with co-creation and their work with communities.

We’ll send out a more detailed schedule later this week.

Hope to see you at the Bella Center in Copenhagen next week!

On behalf of the design team,


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Amritpal Singh Bhachu

Academia vs Industry

I have now worked at Canonical, ‘The company behind Ubuntu,’ for almost 4 months. The time has flown by, and I am finally getting up to speed with the working environment, the people and the atmosphere.

So what differences have I noticed between the academic setting and the industrial setting?

My biggest fear of moving into a commercial environment was losing the ‘freedom’ of academia, having to sit in a shirt and trousers all day and work in a 2 by 2, high walled cubicle, doing work that is given to you rather than work that you choose and drive in a direction that excites you.

I’m glad to say that I had nothing to worry about!

At Canonical, there is no requirement for a shirt and trousers (not to say people don’t wear them). There is desk space aplenty, and the teams all sit close enough together to have a conversation, whether that be about work, or just general banter. There is a nice overall tone to the whole working environment. ‘Shit gets done,’ but not at the expense of enjoyment in the environment. That brings me onto the actual work…

Canonical Office in London (you can see my desk!)

The main reason I wanted to step away from academia was that the pace was getting a bit too slow for me. Countless times I have been told over the last five years, academia is about adding your small grain of knowledge to the bigger picture of your chosen field. This frustrated me.

Even though some of the projects I worked on while in academia were extremely rewarding and really made a difference in people’s lives within a short period of time, it can be considered rare for this to happen in academia. Back to life at Canonical, it is really cool and rewarding to see something that you have spent hours working on go live on the website. It gives you that sense of achievement. The pace of work is also much quicker, and I find myself working on several projects and speaking to different people, while at the same time always learning. One of the most interesting aspects of the work is finding a balance between giving the user the best possible experience of using the Ubuntu website and meeting the business and marketing goals of the company.

An example of this are forms. At all costs, from a user’s point of view, you want to avoid forms and especially forms with hundreds of fields in them! But over the last few months, I’ve been able to understand better why the company needs these forms, and I’ve been able to balance out where forms are and how they are implemented.

An example of (part) of one of the forms I’ve been working on

I also thought that leaving academia would see the end of my visits to conferences. This was one of the more enjoyable aspects of academia, a place to go and see what other people are working on, networking and being impressed (as well as hopefully impressing others). To my joy, conferences in industry are just as common. The content however is completely different to what I’ve been used.

During talks at academic conferences, the focus is on results and statistics. In industry, the focus is on experiences, what worked and what didn’t. There are pros and cons to both approaches. I feel that at academic conferences, the quantitative data can sometimes obscure what is actually found by studies, where a user’s thoughts and feelings aren’t taken into account. There is no doubt that the measures are mostly accurate, but just because a button is quickly clicked by each participant with no errors, does it matter that the participants don’t like where the button positioned on the screen? The statistics will usually win over. However, this is an approach that industrial conference speakers could learn a bit more from. The thoughts and feelings of a speaker are all very well, and as they regale stories of their work (or a lot of the time completely unrelated to their work), then I have found myself asking ‘so what?’ If I ever do a talk at an industrial conference, I hope I can find the middle ground between these two approaches, where statistics aren’t the be all and end all, but that I can couple these with qualitative information that I have learnt. Don’t get me wrong, I have read papers and seen presentations, both academically and in industry, that do a great job of doing this already. I hope that I will be able to follow in these footsteps.

The main stage at Reasons to be Creative in Brighton

So, that’s my story 4 months in. I’ve learnt a lot in those 4 months, and it will be interesting to write back in 4 months more to let you know what else I have learnt… and I’m sure there will be loads!

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Calum Pringle

Calum and Mika’s cakes.

We are blogging a lot of cakes, so to economise on space, I’ve paired Mika and I’s latest baking attempts.

photo 3-7 photo 1-8 photo 2-8

Last week was my turn to bake a cake. I was nervous. There’s a lot of pressure, and it is no easy task! So I chose to bake a loaf (but relying on one design seemed to be too much of a case of “putting all your eggs in one basket” so I went for two). A blueberry and apple loaf, and a pistachio loaf (recipes from Hummingbird Bakery).

This week was Mika’s turn, and he didn’t disappoint. A beautiful New York cheesecake (and he had to buy cake baking equipment especially). Go team!

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Mika Meskanen

The release schedule of Ubuntu is tied to a 6 month cycle, also called cadence. Similarly, a lot of our work and planning falls onto our diaries like country festivals on farmer’s calendar.

Ubuntu Developer Summits are obviously the main events. However, if you work on Canonical Design Team, there are plenty of other events to attend to as well.

Last week we were in the Isle of Man having a work sprint with the Product Strategy group. Obviously we took an advantage of the setting and embarked on some off-piste activities in our free time. Here’s a little gallery:

IMG_0518 IMG_5120 IMG_0611 IMG_1665 IMG_5083 IMG_0012

Similar, if not better scenes have also taken place in Florida, California, South Africa…

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