A new installation and Live CD experience is being mooted for inclusion in Ubuntu 10.10 that aims to address the complexities and inconsistencies currently inherent in the process and thus make the entire process super-quick, friendly and reassuring to new users.
Why the need?
For many users the installation is their first taste of the Ubuntu pie; leave a bad taste here and the user may never come back for a second slice. By crafting a refined and reassuring overhaul of the installation/ubiquity experience users will feel more in control, informed and confident in using Ubuntu.
As such the installer will aim to behave much more intelligently, cautiously and user-friendly. Particular attention will be paid to the partitioning process which daunts/terrifies many a new user.
“The Ubuntu Live CD is the first experience many new users will have of Ubuntu. The installation experience should be attractive and effortless to reassure new users that Ubuntu is the right choice. The process should feel safe and should only highlight risk when necessary (e.g. when data will be destroyed).”
The design specification detailing the proposed changes is exhaustive and thorough but below are some of the notable changes that, having been a newbie once myself, offer up a delicious menu of change that will dramatically reduce the headache that installation so often presents.
Don’t ask the obvious
One cool idea suggested – and likely to be implemented in the installer – is automatically detecting language, wifi, keyboard layout time zone, etc settings from other installed Operating Systems or the internet. This has the added benefit of ditching two entire steps from the install process by not needing user input thus making installation quicker.
Install user essentials
Checkboxes for installing legally encumbered codec’s and applications during the installation process will also be introduced. Doing so will enable users to start using their desktop as they see fit right after installation – no trying to play .mp3s and receiving a warning.
Make partitioning mum-proof
Partitioning is another area with sexy mock-ups proposed for clear and more intuitive partitioning. Gone are the fields for manual size entry (which confuses many-a-newbie) and in comes some simple options (‘replace everything’ or ‘use half of available disk space’.) A new slider widget aims to allow better tweaking of size allocation, too.
As is obvious from the designs so far one key aim is to to inform and confirm the users intentions during installation. Whether this is through a new ‘get ready’ screen or via a new ‘time remaining’ widget during actual installation – keeping users fully aware of what is happening – or about to happen – makes them feel much more confident in proceeding.
Particular attention will be paid to not un-necessarily alarming the user with screams of “DATA LOSS” and “WARNING” but, after confirming their actions, proceed quietly. Other wording will be changed to make more sense to the end-user (E.g. Password ‘strength: weak’ text will be changed to ‘Weak password’.)
It’s all about you
An improved user-account creation dialogue will offer up many oft-requested features – including the ability to take a user-account photo with your webcam!