We’re big fans of the Ubuntu Software Centre and avidly follow its continued visual evolution. When a reader dropped by the OMG! Inbox to tip us off to ‘the most awesome software centre mock-ups you will have ever seen!’ I’ll admit my interest was more than a little caught…
The design, created by ‘Daniel’ and posted on the Ubuntu Meerkat Wiki for feedback, revolves around revamping the current Software Centre UI into an all-singing, all-dancing cartoon-like literal “store” style concept akin to the Android Market UI, the iPad eBook UI & and similar.
And no, before you spit your cornflakes out all over your very clean keyboard, this is not an official design and nor is it likely to come to frutition. It was posted by it’s creator to stir some debate around what the USC should look like – not what is is going to look like.
Capiche? Onwards we go…
What’s wrong with the current design?
“…the Software Center is still more difficult to use than it could be.” reasons the designer. “It should ensure that users don’t get lost in a sea of applications, and that they can find the best applications available for Ubuntu.”This design proposes to solve this by utilizing and adding : -
- Large icons for rapid brand recognition
- Ability to organize applications by punctuation or by name
- Donation support
- App download stats
Most followers of OMG! will be aware that the majority of these points are moot.
The Canonical design and DX team have been super hard at work refining the official Software Centre vision. On course for Ubuntu 10.10 is support for ‘new applications’ added and promoted after release, improved UI, social support for sharing app suggestions, apt-link handling and, fingers crossed, user-contributable ratings support.
This proposed design, whilst contemporary looking today, would soon look out of date and old hat were Apple or Android to change their designs.
The ‘large’ icon idea has merit to an extent but for a first-time visitor to the store the sight of 12 different indistinctive application icons wouldn’t do much to inform or assist. Some great applications have very mundane icons so in the identity-parade proposed some users may end up with an inferior app based solely on the amount of gloss effect baked into a .png….
To juxtapose just how far the software store has come in a year – and to iterate that the design is still to be built upon over future releases – here is the Software Centre Version as seen in Karmic and, most recently, in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 2: -