Canonical Voices

Iain Farrell

Happy by Sergei Pozdnyak

The submissions process for Ubuntu 14.04 is now closed. If you’d like to look at the images head over to the Flickr Group. From here on a group of dedicated and splendid individuals will get together to select the images that are going to go into the next release of Ubuntu. We’ll be hanging out on #1404wallpaper on Freenode and you can come listen in :)

We generally welcome discussion but please remember that a decision is needed from the time that people volunteer so not too much additional debate.

We’ll start with a meeting tomorrow, Friday 7th March, at 19:00GMT.


Read more
Inayaili de León Persson

Latest from the web team — February 2014

Time flies! February is mostly behind us now and hopefully spring won’t take too long to show up in London.

In the last few weeks we’ve worked on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: we’ve released a new iteration of the site this week — have a look and let us know your thoughts!
  • MWC 2014: we’ve created a few homepage takeovers and updated the /phone and /tablet sections of www.ubuntu.com in preparation for this event
  • Cape Town sprint: a few of us have been to the cloud sprint in South Africa earlier this month, where work focused on planning the next iterations of Juju
  • Fenchurch: we’ve been improving the Fenchurch Juju charm

And we’re currently working on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: we’ve already started working on the next iteration of the site, which should be released in just a few weeks — this time we’re focusing on medium screen sizes
  • Ubuntu 14.04 release: we’ve started to go through the long list of updates to make the site ready for the upcoming release, mainly creating and updating image assets and copywriting
  • Responsive ubuntu.com: we’re now moving full speed ahead, updating our front end framework, which powers www.ubuntu.com and other sites, to be mobile-first and responsive; a lot of the work in the next few weeks will be focused on creating new image assets and lots and lots of testing
  • Fenchurch: we’ll be finalising Fenchurch’s Juju charm auto-updating
  • Videos: we’re putting the final touches and testing the updated version of our web video player
  • Juju: in the last few weeks we’ve released a new design for relationship lines and we’ve added local charm support — you can now import local charms into an environment using the import function or by dragging a YAML file from your computer onto the Juju canvas

Here are a few photos that Luca took of the week in Cape Town, where the sun was shining.

Luca's Cape Town photosSome moments from Cape Town, earlier this month.

Have you got any questions or suggestions for us? Would you like to hear about any of these projects and tasks in more detail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Read more
Canonical

Developing your app for Ubuntu? Want to understand Ubuntu’s app publishing process? Today we have released a step by step video guide which shows just how easy it is to publish your app on Ubuntu.  Jono Bacon, Head of Community at Canonical, walks you through the Ubuntu publishing process for new applications. He shows how to upload your app, talks through the approval process (from approver view), and shows how your apps are instantly available on Ubuntu devices for download.

No need for multiple submissions for different form factors – one click lands your app across all Ubuntu devices!

View the app publishing video here

Learn more about Ubuntu App Showdown

Download Ubuntu developer toolkit

Read more
Inayaili de León Persson

Ubuntu Resources — beta!

Today we’ve released a new version of Ubuntu Resources with some new functionality and design improvements, and we’ve now moved from alpha to beta!

Feedback

We asked visitors to the site to give us their feedback based on their visits on their mobile devices, and we received lots of useful comments since we launched the alpha version of the site in November.

Several of the comments focused on the same themes, which became our areas of focus for this release, such as:

1. Understanding which site you are visiting

Because of the way we were using the Circle of Friends roundel without the “ubuntu” wordmark next to the word “resources”, many people didn’t understand that was the name of the site. In this iteration, we went back to using the standard brand extension, reducing the overall size of the logo and making that more clearly the title of the site and homepage link.

Navigation before and afterNavigation before (left) and after (right).

New landing pages

2. Understanding the variety of content that the site has to offer

Some people thought they had landed on the “Ubuntu Blog”, because of the way the homepage and other topic pages were laid out.

We’ve designed landing pages that are more curated and show the most recent and featured content with the option to see all archived content related to that topic near the bottom of the screen.

3. Learn more about the topics presented (cloud, server, etc.)

A common mistake when designing for brands you’re familiar with is to think other people will have the same understanding of it as you do.

Some people that we showed the site to and that were not too familiar with Ubuntu or Canonical did not understand exactly what we meant by “Server” or “Ubuntu on phones”, for example. Links to learn more about these topics used to be at the bottom of screens, so we moved that content to the top of the topic landing pages for easier access if you’re new to the subject.

Topic introsNew introductions to the topics.

Learnings from Canonical.com

With the launch of the new Canonical website in January, we changed the way some of our small screen patterns work:

  • We’ve updated the font sizes, so they are now slightly larger
  • We’ve updated the background of the pages
  • We’ve change the way content is divided, reducing the number of lines and using different blocks of colour instead

These were fed back into Ubuntu Resources so that we can keep our patterns as consistent as possible across sites.

In terms of the less visible updates, we’ve also:

  • Improved the pre-populated messages when content is shared
  • Tweaked the style of the tags which can be used to navigate the site
  • Fixed some bugs in the rendering of SVG icons

Next steps

In the next iteration of the site, we will be focusing mainly on layout improvements for medium sized screens (think tablets), as at the moment the site is still only displaying the small screen style sheet regardless of screen size.

We’ve already started to improve the search functionality, so that it’s possible to filter search results, but visitors should only be seeing these changes in the next release, in a few weeks.

Once we’ve built the site to scale up to large screen sizes smoothly, and have integrated all the top-priority functionality, the plan is for it to replace the current Insights website.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, head to Ubuntu Resources and feel free to send us your comments via the feedback link in the site’s footer.

Read more
Canonical

Today we announce the launch of our third Ubuntu App Showdown contest! We are excited to bring you yet another engaging developer competition, where the Ubuntu app developer community brings innovative and interesting new apps for Ubuntu on mobile devices.

Contestants will have six weeks to build and publish their apps using the new Ubuntu SDK and Ubuntu platform starting today. Both original apps and ported apps, QML and HTML5, and apps specifically for the Chinese market will qualify for this competition.

We have taken a step further with this App Showdown, we have four dedicated categories that you can enter:

  1. QML: original apps written in QML or with a combination of QML and JavaScript/C++

  2. HTML5: original apps written using web technologies, be it pure HTML (and CSS/JavaScript) or with platform access using Apache Cordova

  3. Ported: apps ported from another platform, regardless of the technology used

  4. Chinese apps: apps in this category will have to be original and specific to China and the Chinese culture. They will be judged by two native experts in our jury.

Prizes are up for grabs, each category (QML, HTML5, ported) will win a Nexus 7 pre-loaded with Ubuntu. The top two Chinese app winners will receive a Meizu branded device.

To find out more details and to enter the competition, click here.  Good luck and get  developing! We look forward to seeing your apps on Ubuntu.

Read more
Canonical

The latest development of Ubuntu for phones and tablets is on show at this year’s Mobile World Congress – including the visually stunning “scopes”, a new mobile UI paradigm.

Ubuntu has announced partnerships with Meizu, a hot manufacturer of phones in China, and BQ, a specialist European phone manufacturer, to bring the first range of Ubuntu devices to market in 2014. The industrial design of those devices is on show at MWC for the first time.

Ubuntu’s scopes are at the heart of its content-centric interface. They enable users to find content directly in the home screen.  This gives industry partners extensive opportunities to customise the core interface of Ubuntu around their services and content.

Ubuntu’s tablet experience has also made substantial progress, its amazing multitasking fluidity has come to the fore and makes a great impression on devices between 7” and 10”.

Interested developers can join the GSMA’s WIPJam for a Web Tech Hack session on writing HTML5 apps for Ubuntu, and on integrating them with native devices using Apache Cordova. Look out for the Nexus 7 prize Canonical is giving away as part of the associated hackathon.

Ubuntu is in the App Planet Hall 8.1, on stand 8.1E49. (http://mwc.eventfloorplans.co.uk/hall-8-1)

Explore further:

Canonical announces first partners to ship Ubuntu phones around the globe

Growing app ecosystem for Ubuntu phones

Vodafone joins Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group

Smart joins Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group

Read more
Mark Baker

Launching applications and workloads in the cloud should be a seamless experience, so today we announced a partnership with Joyent to bring optimised and fully supported Ubuntu server images to users of Joyent’s cloud platform. Ubuntu is the most popular guest OS in the cloud and combined with Joyent’s High Performance platform developers and enterprises can be assured that they will have the best possible Ubuntu experience with the backing and support of both companies.

Joyent specialises as a platform for ecommerce, mobile, gaming applications and big data analytics for many of today’s fastest growing companies. Joyent is also the company behind Node.js, an open source, scalable platform for building real-time applications across distributed devices. Joyent’s SmartOS based cloud architecture provides a high performance, stable and secure foundation for its services, but developers wanted access to a Linux solution and in particular Ubuntu for its robust ecosystem of tools and applications, familiarity with their existing IT environments and rapid iteration of new releases matching the speed and pace of cloud development.

As part of the Certified Public Cloud programme, Canonical and Joyent worked together to optimise Ubuntu performance and take advantage of customisation and configuration enhancements in Joyent’s platform, letting users deploy secure and highly performant workloads. Certified images from Canonical ensure that no matter where they are deployed – in a private or public cloud – workloads have consistent and scalable performance and are fully supportable expanding development and deployment choices. It’s easy to migrate workloads and applications across different deployment scenarios without becoming locked in to a single one as business needs and strategy change.

In addition to certified images, Canonical and Joyent are collaborating to enable the development and deployment of scale out applications based on Node.js. Joyent will take the lead in developing and maintaining a Node.js charm, which will foster greater community participation and quality of charms that leverage this dynamic and fast growing programming platform. In combination with Juju, Canonical’s open source cloud orchestration solution, users can deploy charms to any public cloud that supports Juju as well as to OpenStack and bare metal environments. Workloads can be rapidly spun up and down and migrated across supported platforms without any rearchitecting – fully realising the speed and flexibility benefits of the cloud.

We’re happy to welcome Joyent to the fast growing group of Ubuntu Certified Public Cloud providers and encourage you to try out Ubuntu on Joyent Cloud at www.joyent.com

 

Read more
Canonical

 

  • bq and Meizu sign agreements to deliver and ship Ubuntu phones

  • Online campaigns with bq and Meizu will make Ubuntu phones available globally

  • Strong support for Ubuntu devices has also been received from carriers worldwide

19th February 2014, London: Canonical today announces it has signed agreements with mobile device manufacturers bq (www.bq.com) (Spain) and Meizu (China) to bring Ubuntu smartphones to consumers globally. Canonical is working with these partners to ship the first Ubuntu devices on the latest hardware in 2014. Ubuntu has also received significant support from the world’s biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year.

Development programmes have begun with the partners to provide smartphones with a superior user experience on mid to high end hardware for consumers around the world. Devices will be available to buy online through bq, Meizu and at Ubuntu.com.

Ubuntu introduces a new UI paradigm for mobile devices. Ubuntu puts content and services at the centre of the experience, rather than hiding them behind stores and apps. This gives consumers a fresh and rich way to engage with their favourite videos, music and other mobile activities. It also means OEMs and operators have unprecedented customisation opportunities with a common UI toolkit, which gives devices their own unique footprint and without fragmenting the platform.

Meizu is one of China’s most successful high-end smartphone manufacturers with over 1,000 employees, 600 retail stores and a global presence in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine. In January, the company announced its strategy to expand into other international markets as well as to ship phones in America later in 2014 and Ubuntu will be a key part of this expansion. Meizu designs and retails phones that are characterised by light, comfortable design as well as ease of use and functionality. “Ubuntu’s intuitive and visually stunning user interface aligns with our own ethos of producing simple, innovative mobile experiences. This partnership gives us an opportunity to develop a truly different and compelling offering that will support our strategy to deliver devices to both China as well as internationally,” says  Li Nan, Meizu’s VP Sales and Marketing.

bq is a manufacturer of multimedia devices operating in Europe and employing 600 people. In 2013, the company shipped almost 1.5 million devices and in less than a year has become the Spain’s second biggest seller of unlocked smartphones. bq will bring Ubuntu onto its latest hardware specifications. “Ubuntu’s ongoing success on PCs, as well as the huge support it has gained for its mobile proposition provides the best opportunity to bring an alternative platform to market on our hardware,” Alberto Mendez, CEO, comments.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, adds; “The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today. Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners and presents an exciting platform for consumers, delivering an experience which departs from the tired app icon grid of Android and iOS and provides a fluid, content-rich experience for all.”

Carriers and major industry players that Canonical has engaged with have also shown their support for Ubuntu and an alternative operating system for the mobile market. To date, Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group has 16 members including Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile USA, Three Group, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, Telstra and Portugal Telecom. Canonical is also working with a breadth of ISV partners, including The Weather Channel, GrooveShark, Evernote and more, to bring the best applications and services to Ubuntu.

Portugal Telecom: “It is our commitment to keep working closely with Canonical to build a proposition for Ubuntu devices  that will deliver a fresh, new and exciting experience for our users,” says Pedro Leitão, Member of the Board of Portugal Telecom, responsible for the Consumer Segment.

Three Group: “Ubuntu is creating an innovative mobile web experience that brings more choice for customers, and opportunities for operators and OEMs who are keen to differentiate their devices.”

Telecom Italia: “We’ve been very active in helping shape Ubuntu for the Italian market by contributing to the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group for many months.”

Smart: “Ubuntu’s entry to the mobile phone market is definitely exciting. We see this as an interesting opportunity to help bring mobile innovations quicker to the market, lower access barriers and provide more choices in terms of apps and devices,” says Orlando B.Vea, chief wireless advisor at Smart. “We’re very keen to work with Ubuntu and the developer community in making this happen as it supports our goal to bring the mobile Internet to every Filipino.”

Smartfren (Indonesia): “We’ve been working closely with Canonical and the Carrier Advisory Group for several months, and look forward to being able to launch Ubuntu devices in the Indonesian market,” comments Richard Tan, deputy CEO.

Ends

About Canonical
Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu and the leading provider of services for Ubuntu deployments in the enterprise. With global teams of developers, support staff and engineering centres, Canonical is uniquely positioned to help partners and customers make the most of Ubuntu. Canonical is a privately held company.

Ubuntu is a free, open-source platform for client, server and cloud computing. It is the most widely used Linux on the top 1000 websites by traffic, the reference platform for OpenStack deployments, the most popular guest OS on public clouds, and ships on PCs from Dell, Lenovo, HP and other brands. Since its launch in 2004, it has become the preferred choice for open desktop and scale-out computing, from Fortune 500 companies to hardware makers, content providers, software developers and consumers.

About bq
bq is a company dedicated to consumer electronics, which designs and develops both software and hardware. Its main division is multimedia devices (e-readers, tablets and smartphones), a market in which it is the leader in Spain. Its innovative spirit had led it to operate in emerging fields such as educational robotics, the development of reading platforms and 3D printing. In this latter market, it designs and manufactures its own 3D printer, the bq Witbox, which is distributed worldwide. www.bq.com.

About Meizu
Established in 2003 and headquartered in Zhuhai, China, MEIZU designs and produces smartphones created to provide a simple, intuitive mobile experience for people whose time is expected to be simply spent in using their devices, instead of figuring out the way of using them.

MEIZU expanded into the smartphone market in 2008 and has been committed to developing high-end smartphones ever since. Based on a business philosophy and commitment to pursuing perfection and long-term development, MEIZU remains laser focused on developing innovative and user-friendly smartphones for consumers. With more than 1,000 employees and 600 retail stores, the company has built a global presence in Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine. www.meizu.com

Read more
Katie Taylor

App Design Clinic #8

This week we dedicated the short clinic to sizing, and ensuring widgets and items are usable (touchable).

We covered…

  • The Ubuntu grid unit – for more information, see http://developer.ubuntu.com/api/qml/sdk-1.0/UbuntuUserInterfaceToolkit.resolution-independence/)
  • Minimum touch target size – 4×4 gu
  • A sneak preview of the updated widgets coming to Ubuntu Touch

If you missed it, or want to watch it again, here it is:

 

 

The next App Design Clinic will on Wednesday 26th February. Please send your questions and screenshots to design@canonical.com by 1pm UTC on Tuesdays to be included in the following Wednesday clinic.

Read more
Vesa Rautiainen

In January when the winter weather was at its worst in London we packed our laptops, designs and prototypes and headed to Cape Town, South Africa for Client Platform Sprint. This design sprint was a mid cycle checkpoint and the target was to get some important 14.04 designs, including Dash and Right edge swipe, reviewed and finalized.

It was an intense week with lots of review sessions and a tight schedule. But after the day’s work was done we tried to make most of our time in this astonishing place. The trip wouldn’t have been complete without visiting those vineyards, white-sand beaches and of course THE Table Mountain.

All in all it was a great work week in the sun with some bits of free time activities. Easily beats a regular week at the office. Some pictures from the trip:

Right Edge designRight Edge design

Trying to nail the DashTrying to nail the Dash

Camps Bay

Camps Bay

Table Mountain

Table MountainCape Town

Read more
Inayaili de León Persson

Latest from the web team — January 2014

We’re now well into 2014 and working on several exciting projects that will be released throughout the year.

In the last few weeks we’ve worked on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: we’ve been working on designs for a new homepage and topic landing pages for the upcoming beta release
  • Canonical website: the new canonical.com is now live!
  • Videos: we’ve finalised the designs for a web video player, which should soon be added to www.ubuntu.com
  • Front end mini sprint: we discussed what we’ve learned from making canonical.com and how it might impact the update of ubuntu.com and of the Web Style Guide

And we’re currently working on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: we are making improvements based on feedback we’ve received and adding some new features, like filtered search
  • Ubuntu 14.04 release: we’ve finalised all the planning for the 20th Ubuntu release and have started to work through the long to-do list in the run up to April
  • Ubuntu.com: we are in the process of updating our Web Style Guide to become responsive, which will mean a responsive www.ubuntu.com
  • Juju GUI: we’re working on improved relationship lines
  • Fenchurch: an initial Juju charm has been released and we’re now enhancing it with additional hooks
  • Cloud sprint: many of us are getting ready for a cloud sprint taking place next week in Cape Town, South Africa

Office before holidays The design team’s corner right before the holidays

Have you got any questions or suggestions for us? Would you like to hear about any of these projects and tasks in more detail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Read more
Katie Taylor

App Design Clinic #7

This week in App Design Clinic #7 we reviewed 3 apps: SocketWorld (for finding and comparing plug types), Flashback (an entertainment app using Trackt) and Capitals (a game about capital cities).

For this session we covered questions such as
- First use prompting and introductions
- Margins and alignment
- App structure, linking from one part of your app to another

If you missed it, or want to watch it again, here it is:

 

 

Please send your questions and screenshots to
design@canonical.com by 1pm UTC on Tuesdays to be included in the following Wednesday clinic.

The next App Design Clinic will be in 2 weeks, on Wednesday 12th February.

Read more
Bejan Alizadeh

Sheets transition

We’ve recently been exploring how the share transitions should work when you’re previewing a photo in gallery mode. Our main goal is that there is a consistent transition for sharing photos across the phone.

This is the latest iteration of the explorations we’ve been doing, and, as such, these transitions are still work in progress, but certainly worth sharing.

Step by step


Video: Sharing a photo in photo gallery mode

The first transition happens when you select “Share” from the toolbar. This takes you to a ‘content picker’ mode where you can select where you’d like to share your photo (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

The intention is that the ‘content picker’ transition is similar to the ‘page stack’ one — which takes you deeper into the app — but because you’re going into a ‘content picker’ mode the transition needs to be slightly different. That difference is the direction: instead of going from right to left it goes bottom to top.

Once you’ve selected how to share your photo, the screen splits slightly below where you’ve tapped (in the example, below Facebook), and there is a subtle transparency fade so that the transition is less jarring.

In the next step, the transition takes you to an embedded Facebook share page, where you can write a description about the photo you’re posting. Once you select the description box, the OSK keyboard comes from the bottom to top, something that is always consistent across the phone.

When you click “Post”, a similar transition to the selecting share transition, but reversed, takes you back to the photo.

Your feedback

As I’ve mentioned before, this is still work in progress, but we’re really interested in hearing your thoughts — let us know what you think in the comments.

Read more
Inayaili de León Persson

New year, new website: the new canonical.com

We’ve been talking about it for a while and we are now happy to reveal Canonical’s brand new website.

The brief

We thought that it was more than appropriate that, in the year that Canonical commemorates its 10th anniversary, our website got some love, so that’s exactly what we set out to do.

Canonical on devicesThe homepage of the new canonical.com on various devices

The main goal of this redesign was to create a website that clearly communicates what Canonical is and does. To present our services, describe our role in the creation of Ubuntu and to give users an understanding of the principles behind Canonical as a company.

The journey

We set out to distill the Canonical site into its most essential components. This required a huge amount of editing as the site had grown over time. This was not a straightforward task, but there were a few things that we knew would get us very close to that goal:

  • Clearly define canonical.com’s audiences and make sure the new site’s content was created with them in mind
  • Move the content that dates easily (events, news, etc.) from the site to a searchable repository
  • Move all detailed product and service information to www.ubuntu.com to make it more easy to find

We started preparing to move a lot of the content that previously lived on the site a few months ago when we started the Ubuntu Resources project — a place for content such as news, events, press releases, white papers and case studies.

Ubuntu Resources (currently in ‘alpha’) is also our first responsive site, and a lot of the lessons we have been learning from it, code- and design-wise, have been applied to the new canonical.com, like the small screen site navigation and the global Ubuntu sites navigation.

Carla has published a very interesting post on how she used stakeholder interviews to define the website’s key journeys and audiences. This research was instrumental in keeping the content of the site focused and the information architecture as simple as possible.

Before moving onto a digital format, we did a lot of collaborative sketching, churning out ideas on how we could illustrate each page’s message.

Sketching ideasGenerating ideas: some of our sketches

Even though we were working towards a fairly tight deadline, we went through several content, design and code iterations, with copywriters, designers and developers working closely together and improving as much as possible until we were happy with the results.

Canonical status boardOur ever-changing analog status board — sometimes only sticky notes will do!

The visual design borrowed most of the underlying patterns from www.ubuntu.com, such as the grid and font sizes. Ubuntu’s website has been evolving into a more ‘open’ design and the new Canonical website takes that idea even further by removing the main content container and increasing spacing between elements.

We also brought in new patterns, influenced by the design work that is being done on the phone and tablet, like the grid used in small screens, the Ubuntu shape (the squircle) and the folded paper background.

Phone patterns on canonical.comUsing the squircle and the folded paper background on the new canonical.com

The result

We’re very happy with the result, and we think it achieves the goals we set out to accomplish. Now that the site is launched though, it’s up to everyone who visits it to let us know how we did: do let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Read more
Matt Turnbull

New year links

Happy new year!

Here are a couple of links that have been flying around the London office since we returned. The Verge did a recap of their most influential people of 2013.

pussy-riot

 

And there’s a report from JWT pointing at some nice trends, manifestations and insights for 2014 (thank you, Daniel, for the link).

sunday-assembly
reaper-drone
apex-brasil

Read more
Bejan Alizadeh

Messaging interaction

We’ve currently been working on user interaction for sending and deleting multiple SMSs and we thought it would be nice to show you where we’re going with it.

Here are some of things that we’ve had to consider when making these interactions user friendly:

  • making sure the transitions fit within our paper metaphor — for example, when you select a message thread we wanted it to feel like it’s taking you deeper into the app
  • just like with the visual assets, transitions also need to be consistent — for example, whenever you’re diving deeper into any app the transition should be similar
  • making room for scrolling and seeing more messages without the keypad taking too much space
  • making sure it’s clear when a message is pending
  • initial exploration into how to navigate back within an app


Video: Sending messages


Video: Deleting messages

As with many of the current interactions, these are work in progress — we’ll be keeping you updated with any further developments.

Read more
Inayaili de León Persson

Latest from the web team — December 2013

This month we’ve been working hard trying to wrap up as much as we can before the holidays and planning for 2014.

In the last few weeks we’ve worked on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: updating the site based on feedback we received from users — keep those comments coming!
  • Canonical website: getting the site ready for launch, which will happen early next month
  • Juju GUI: adding animations to the GUI
  • Landscape: providing designs for an upcoming visual update
  • Juju Labs: designing and updating the labs section of juju.ubuntu.com

And we’re currently working on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: adding topic-based subscriptions and filters in search results
  • Ubuntu 14.04 release: believe it or not, we’re already starting to look into how we’ll be updating www.ubuntu.com for this LTS
  • Ubuntu.com: updating our partner pages in the new year and adding new Ubuntu installation videos to the site
  • Canonical website: now testing the new website on various mobile devices
  • Juju GUI: refining the bundle and browse experience and interactions
  • Fenchurch: moving towards continuous integration of Juju service with Canonical’s IS team

We have also had a very fun Canonical End of Year party!

Canonical status board
A photo of our status board of the upcoming and updated canonical.com

Have you got any questions or suggestions for us? Would you like to hear about any of these projects and tasks in more detail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Read more
Carla Berkers

I’d like to share my experience working on the project that has been my main focus over the past months: the redesign of canonical.com.

Research methods

As I started talking to people in the design department I quickly discovered we have a lot of information about our site visitors. My colleagues helped me access Google Analytics data and findings from previous user testing sessions. There was also a research-based set of personas, that helped me to put together an initial overview of user needs and tasks.

I was curious to try to validate these user needs and test them against Canonical’s current business requirements. In order to find out more about the company goals I prepared a stakeholder interview script and started putting together a list of people to talk to. I initially planned to limit the number of interviewees to about six to eight stakeholders, as too many opinions could potentially slow down the project and complicate the requirements.

Getting to know the company

I started with eight people to talk to, but with each interview I found out about other people that I should add to my list. At the same time, many of the interviewees warned me that every person I would talk to would have different ideas about the site requirements. By the end of the first round of interviews, ending up with too many stakeholders turned out to be the most commonly mentioned risk to endanger the project finishing on time.

I had very diverse conversations about different aspects of the site with a range of people. From strategic insights from our CEO Jane, to brand guidelines and requirements from our Head of Design Marcus and ideas around recruitment from our HR business partner Alice — each conversation brought unique requirements to light.

After I spoke to about fifteen people I summarised the key points from each stakeholder on post it notes and put them all up on a wall in one of the meeting rooms in the office. As I took out the duplicates and restructured the remaining notes, I began to see a familiar pattern.

Conclusions

When I finished grouping the different audiences, I ended up with five groups of users: enterprise customers, (potential) partners, job seekers, media (a varied group that includes press, tech analysts and bloggers), open source advocates and the more generic tech enthusiasts that want to know more about the company backing Ubuntu.

As these groups aligned very well with the persona’s and other pieces of research that I had found, I felt comfortable continuing my process by moving on to the user needs and site goals that will help build a good site structure and generate useful content for each group of users.

I found that talking to many experts from within the company helped me quickly understand the full range of requirements, saving me time rather than making my job more complicated. Furthermore I was happy to get a chance to get to know people from different parts of the company so soon after I got started.

In order to keep the project moving forward, we appointed one key stakeholder to sign off each step of the process, but I’m looking forward to showing the end results to the broader group to see if I managed to meet all their expectations. We will also conduct user-testing to ensure the site answers our core audiences questions and allows them to complete their tasks.

I hope to share more about this project in the months to come.

Read more
matthieu-james

The new Ubuntu icons

During last month’s vUDS we showcased the latest design explorations for the new Ubuntu icon theme. Here is a summary of what we presented.

Our objectives

This project’s main goal is to create a single modern, high-resolution icon theme for desktop and touch devices that can adapt to various screen densities and reinforces the Ubuntu user experience. We want our icons to express our values and convey Ubuntu’s personality in a unique way.

We already had mobile icons for the applications and symbols, but, because they evolved over time without strong guidelines, did not form a consistent set. On the desktop, even though the style is clean and consistent, the icons looked dated and needed to be replaced too.

Previous desktop icons
Previous mobile and monochromatic iconsThe previous version of desktop, mobile and monochromatic icons

New icons

We’ve been working on this on-going project for the past year. We’ve done extensive research on the subject with a focus on learning how best to classify the icons; and we’ve gone through several design iterations and explorations.

So here is the latest iteration of the new icon set. As I’ve mentioned, these are all still subject to change as we’re constantly improving and refining the designs.

Latest application iconsLatest application icons

Latest symbol iconsLatest symbolic icons

Icons in contextIcons in context — one of the latest design explorations of the dash

Next steps

The goals for 14.04 are to provide a new icon theme for mobile and tablet, and to provide guidelines with templates to help people to design consistent icons for their apps. We’d like to eventually implement the new set on the desktop too.

We’ve had lots of good feedback so far, and we’d like to get even more, so please let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Read more
Christina Li

App Design Clinic #6

We have been running the app design clinic every two weeks to answer any questions from community designers and developers on the apps they are working on!

For this session we talked about the community submitted convergence designs for file manager and clock app (thanks everyone!) as well as answering some questions from our Canonical engineers submitted apps, such as:
- If your app has two equal actions- how do you provide entry points?
- What if I want to show more content, but page stack is not appropriate?
- Where should ‘About’ & ‘Settings’ go? (Not in the tabs, please)

If you missed it, or want to watch it again, here it is:

Please send your questions and screenshots to
design@canonical.com by 1pm UTC on a Tuesdays to be included in the following Wednesday clinic.

Watch this space for our next App Design Clinic time.

Read more