No announcement yet.

Opinions on GUI style

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Opinions on GUI style

    Okay I thought it would be a good idea to find out exactly the types of user interfaces people prefer before Silverwolf 2.0 coding gets too complete to back out of...

    What I'm curious about is preferences for things like the main screen - is the preference toward a choosable list of items or items scattered as around the screen (like many skins with say a Honda logo in the middle with the buttons around it)?

    So far, the MP3 module will be similar in function to v1.3 except that it's much more configurable, resizable and more skinnable. My question here - and this is probably the most important since it's probably the most important module for most people - is what type of layout is preferred; a scrollable listing a la v1.3 or more song info and fewer songs displayed at once?

    I also prefer big easy to touch buttons - is that the consensus? Touchscreen is a new area for v2.0 since v1.3 was controlled by an RF remote which allowed for more screen real estate.

    I'm just fishing for ideas because I have no imagination

    I'm hoping I'll have v2.0 done within a couple months so it will be ready to install in our new minivan (ugghh yes a minivan... I had to grow up sometime I guess )

    Any input/suggestions/screenshots/critisicm is appreciated!
    Silverwolf 2 is dead.
    Silverwolf 3...?

  • #2
    Well.. I'll offer and opinion. I don't know what you mean by a choosable list, but I prefer where there are a few main buttons on the main page, allowing selection of catagory. Its nice to have a branded main page, but not nessecary.

    On the mp3 section, I prefer fewer upcoming songs listed, and larger control buttons/current song info. Think IPod... the song selection should be a seperate dialog if possible.

    Skinning is one of the hardest parts in my opinion. There is basic skin function, where you are simply changing the graphical appearance, yet buttons stay in the same position/size/function. I havn't figured out with QT an easy way to customize position/size/function of widgets. I'm sure it could be done... but it doesn't seem like it would be easy.



    • #3
      Okay that's helpful. I was debating on a scollable ("choosable" - poor choice of words ) list or something a bit more user friendly. I think I will also go the route you suggested with the MP3 player with having the song selection as a seperate entry module (I can't really call them dialogs since v2 won't be using any QDialogs).

      What I'll be doing for the main screen (and likely other areas too) is simply defining polygons in the skin.conf file. Those polygons will be used in the mouseEvent() of the widget it's on to decide which "button" the user actually pressed.
      Silverwolf 2 is dead.
      Silverwolf 3...?


      • #4
        I think you should do it in a mini information major information style thing. I've tried to show a little how I imagine it. Like if you're tooling around town and press the clock it would pop up the big clock and remove the small one from the mini info since the major info has it's focus now. Song and such as that would still be down bottom. Left the buttons would change to clock prefs or whatever that goes with the focus app. Then in mini info you press on the speed of your vehicle the nav pops up in major focus and clock goes back into mini with the left buttons dealing with nav options. Hope I explained myself ok.

        EDIT: I almost forgot. What about adding some things alpha color like. I'm not sure what it's called but you could have in your main prefs some of your favorite colors and whatever the theme creator deemed that color didn't matter would change to that color. So chicks could have pink and purple and dudes red blue using the exact same theme with no direct editing files. Of course the text color would matter also so any text could be defined as well.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          With some clever skin design many of the modules could be configured to work that way. Not a bad idea for some of the simpler ones.

          As for alpha channels, every graphic, text and color element allows for an alpha channel. Colors and text colors are all defined as RGBA in the skin file, and graphics are simply designed that way by the artist as they see fit and all alpha channels are honored when they are drawn.

          Once 2.0 reaches an alpha state I'm hoping there are some willing artists out there to create better skins than the default
          Silverwolf 2 is dead.
          Silverwolf 3...?


          • #6
            Is it still going to be dependent on Gentoo, or can any distro use it now? I run Archlinux on my home pc. No car pc yet and your program is my deciding factor in which OS I install once I build the car pc. As far as the skins go I could give it a shot but I'd hate to promise the world and give you mediocrity.


            • #7
              It won't be tied to Gentoo or any distro in particular. I'm using SuSE on my development machines and Gentoo in the car.

              I've already gotten an offer by a graphic artist to do a skin when it's ready so hopefully there will at least be two available by the time it reaches beta...

              So far the only requirements are FMOD and Qt4 as far as actual libraries linked to the executable. I'll continue to use Xine for video.
              Silverwolf 2 is dead.
              Silverwolf 3...?


              • #8
                - i'm comparing this to what i can see in the 1.2 pics on your page -
                i suggest using a more common color scheme (less wild colors, more similar tone/temperature)

                i don't like the gradient that's repeating over (like the blue,white,blue,white,blue column on the left side) - one gradient flowing through the whole screen, IMO, makes the picture calmer.

                a more round font, the digits are hardly readable, at least that's what i think when i just quickly glance at them (like when driving)

                touchscreen friendlyness is definately a must, as it doesn't make it any harder for people _not_ using a touchscreen - big buttons also allow a bigger font/pictogramme, which means better readability, which again means safer driving.

                maybe you could post a picture of the skin you're using on 2.0 so we could directly comment on it


                • #9
                  Check out the thread "SW2 Update"... Eventually I'll be posting pics on my site so as not to clog any threads here with pics.

                  Of course I'm hoping a better artist can develop a kick-butt skin when an alpha version is ready

                  The biggest difference between v1.x and v2.x from a user's perspective is that skinning was an afterthought in v1.x. v2.x started from scratch with skinning in mind so it's about 100 times more configurable. The skin configuration file is huge compared to the one for v1.x.
                  Silverwolf 2 is dead.
                  Silverwolf 3...?


                  • #10
                    yeah i know how it is, i'm more of a coder than a skins would look terribly bad..

                    after all a bad looking software is still more functional than a good looking skin without software

                    i'll check out the given thread right after posting this.


                    • #11
                      I've looked at the screenshots on the silverwolf website, and I must say, I'm horrified by the UI's shown there - they're just eye-sores. The functionality might be there, but the look and feel is downright scary and 90's looking. Please, please, tell me you'll have a better look and feel in a future version? Most linux carpc UI's I've seen seem to follow suit, unfortunately. It would be nice to have soft colors for a change, without all the harsh metallic-looking gradients.


                      • #12
                        While not the most diplomatic way to put things, I tend to agree with monkeyBox's sentiment.

                        A lot of interfaces that I see are terribly compromised by "bling".

                        When designing an interface for a car one has to think about stuff like

                        * "how will this be used?"

                        * "what will the driver be doing when trying to select a playlist, tune a radio station, find a waypoint?"

                        * "Is the interface easy to discern or understand at a glance?"


                        If you have access to any materials on developing MFD (multi-function display) interfaces for aircraft, this would be a place to start. They even give simple things like selecting colours for specific uses and screen layout. Intuitionsys, check the library at Carleton. I seem to remember a *****e load of avionics text books there from my university days.

                        Also, the Apple style guide type documents are a great help as well. I forget the correct name for the docs, but IIRC they go into detail on how to layout information on the screen for low user workload.

                        When in doubt, think of it this way: will someone unfamiliar with your interface be able to at a glance be able to figure out how to change modes between navigation, tuner, radio, whatever while whipping down a four+ lane highway at 160 km/h? Will they be able to extract information and value from the interface without picking up the fine manual?

                        Leave the bling for the show and shine Windows weenies that are into stereo competitions. An elegant and infinitely more usable system will get the nod over that any day.

                        It takes restraint but a month later you'll still like the interface as opposed to thinking it is time for a new theme because the current one is too cheesy.

                        My stagnant project


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by monkeyBox View Post
                          I've looked at the screenshots on the silverwolf website, and I must say, I'm horrified by the UI's shown there - they're just eye-sores.
                          You got beat up alot on the playground as a kid right? Just kidding

                          What Reece146 mentions about the Apple style guidelines isn't a bad idea though. Their interfaces are very clean whether or not you like Aqua or Macs in general. The only reason the current skin is what it is is because it was the first thing I thought of. No research no nothing just "umm yeah that'll do for now and it works okay" kind of thing. The more time I spend on the skin the less time I spend coding. btw I've made some pretty hefty breakthroughs with the video engine this last week so an alpha release could be sooner than expected. Cross your fingers...

                          Oh and the mention about the necessity to fiddle with the interface at 160km/h gets me thinking that Reece146 has driven in the fast lane on the Ottawa 417 more than once
                          Silverwolf 2 is dead.
                          Silverwolf 3...?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by intuitionsys View Post
                            Oh and the mention about the necessity to fiddle with the interface at 160km/h gets me thinking that Reece146 has driven in the fast lane on the Ottawa 417 more than once
                            Who, me? Why no, that would be illegal.

                            My stagnant project