So this is what I'm working on for a while. Blatantly inspired by Windows 8 UI, which in turn is inspired by Windows Phone 7's Metro UI.
1. No top bar, CF's first?
2. No freaking clock.
3. No volume buttons in the main screen. You should use a physical button, like this one.
4. No emboss, no fake "shades" to help the illusion it's something real physical to touch.
5. No glossy iPhone like pretty 3D icons. I have no talent to do that anyway.
6. Not a headunit wannabe, that is:
No aluminum texture, rubber texture, shiny "metal" stuff.
7. No "frames" around buttons, text, idiot lights. Why frames? It's not a freaking scrap book.
8. COLORS. I'm sick and tired of what I call Android-like "boyish cool" skins that pretend it's a predator lunar spaceship command center. All gloomy and black is cool, teenager style. In a car? No thanks.
I'd rather have something that looks family friendly. The carputer is used by me, my wife, my daughters, I don't want them to think they will launch a rocket while navigating the UI.
All this doesn't mean it's better than most, of course. But it's what I like, and I miss it. It's all digital, flat, minimalistic. Buttons and colors are there for contrast purposes. That's all.
I also of course had to make some choices to make it usable in the car, so it's far from being close to Metro UI. Plus it's my first skin, and I'm not a designer by any means.
So this is the inspiration:
And this is how it's looking now.
Very fun project, but a lot of hard work. Of course I plan to charge a small fee, because I don't like giving away stuff - it's a matter of principle. Probably this should be in the mp3car app market soon. If I make enough to buy a nice bottle of wine, I'll be happy enough.
From an aesthetic pov, instead of having all those colors on every page, I would only have the mix of color on the front page then have each function page be in shades of that corresponding front page color. Like, if the music button is cyan, the music program page would be composed of shade of cyan, etc.
That's a great advice, thanks! Unfortunately one can't do that with Centrafuse. Each button gets it's color from it's screen position, instead of being a function of what it's content is. Since users generally move the buttons around the screen, the same content (say Music, or Phone) would get a different color in the main screen. That's the reason why I can't do more with buttons that display pictures for icons, it has to be a compromise when it's not showing a picture (font size, style, alignment). This is like the 10th layout with different button sizes I had to do to make it work.
I plan to introduce gradients to the main page buttons to soften the appearance a bit, but I kind of like the flat look. Gradients are how some Windows versions are rendered, so it's no big deal.
I also plan to introduce monochromatic themes too - I using cocktail names for them. Sex on the Beach is the mango, beachy feel you see above, but there also the blue Adios Mother F*er, the milky White (Day skin) Coconut Grove, Moloko brownish, Caipirinha green, etc.
This is the Adios Mother F*er skin, with blue curacao:
And this is the Coconut Grove:
So the plugins would be monochromatic too, following the main screen theme.
I think this is a very flexible layout, you have 10 buttons (up from 6 in CF stock screens and most third party), so you can remove random buttons and got a very different layout. You can also use two or three colors instead of 8.
Thanks again for your input,
Btw, forgot to explain that in the plugin section, the color has some sense to it.
I mean, red will always remove changes and/or navigate away from the page (cancel, back), the green will change the content you're seeing/listening (AM/FM/Playlists/Camera on/off etc.), the orange is to move elements around the screen (like the scroll bars, search, etc.).
I think that helps in the car. Don't even read, punch the red button and no changes are made.
i might have to consider using centrafuse for this. the startup conversations would be interesting:
interested looker: "i see you have a carpc, what front end are you using?"
me: " centrafuse with metro sex"
interested looker: "ok thanks"(runs away)
My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
"The Project That Never Ended, until it did"
next project? subaru brz