Message: previous - next
Month: October 2014

Re: [trinity-users] New TDE site released

From: Steven D'Aprano <steve@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:53:15 +1100
On Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 01:43:14PM -0500, Timothy Pearson wrote:
> Hash: SHA224
> All,
> Thanks to the efforts of the TDE web development team we proudly announce
> the debut of our new website (!

Thank you! A couple of comments:

Thumbnails should, I believe, be actual thumbnails and so load extremely 
quickly. The first time I loaded the home page, I could watch the 
introductory screen shot render almost row by row. Here is the image:

It's a 638px × 392px image, but then scaled to 300px × 225px, which 
means it is about four times as big as it needs to be. Replacing it with 
a pre-scaled image would mean it could download four times as quickly.

Likewise for the image in the Latest News section:

which is 1,024px × 768px but scaled to 320px × 240px, which means it's 
ten times bigger than it needs to be.

I find that most screen shots for desktop environments turn me off 
immediately. They either show too much stuff happening all at once, 
giving the impression of over-complexity and complication, or they show 
so little that I don't get a sense for the look and feel and get the 
impression that the environment must be pretty weak. And I'm afraid that 
your choosen introductionary image on the front page falls firmly in 
that second category.

I don't think that introductory screen shot makes a good advertisement 
for TDE. It's too plain and minimal: apart from a bare task bar at the 
bottom, and a few icons along the left hand side, it's effectively just 
a picture of the wallpaper. I don't think you should focus on the 
wallpaper there on the front page, every GUI desktop environment these 
days can display a wallpaper image. I think the introductory image ought 
to focus on what makes TDE look and feel like TDE, but without being too 
busy that it looks scarily complicated.

The trick is, I think, to find a happy medium between the minimalism of 
the current intro image where nearly everything is negative space, and 
the common "everything including the kitchen sink" screen shot that 
tries to put a significant element on every pixel of the screen, e.g.

Both have their places in design, but as opposite extremes I don't think 
either belongs as the showcase screen shot on the front page. I think a 
better showcase image would be something that gives a good flavour of 
the TDE look and feel, without being too busy and cluttered. This is 
closer to what I think:

but still a bit too full.

What I have in mind is something that is about a half to two-thirds 
negative space (i.e. the wallpaper), and the rest consisting of design 
elements (e.g. the icons down the left hand side, the task bar, three or 
four apps visible on screen). The apps should be small and elegent 
rather than too technical looking, and should avoid looking like a wall 
of text. I think something like a calculator, KNotes, KAlarm, a 
calendar, or similar applications which don't need a lot of physical 
space on screen. The usefulness of them should be immediately obvious to 
people who aren't techs or computer geeks.

Why small applications? Because the emphasis should be on TDE itself, 
not any specific app, and particularly not anything outisde of TDE (e.g. 
LibreOffice, Firefox). A busy design says "low value but cheap", while 
minimalist design says "costly but high value":

Both design principles (extremely busy, extremely minimalist) have their 
place, and there is nothing wrong with showing examples of both on the 
main screenshots page, but on the home page you have a unique 
opportunity to capture people's attention for the first time, and I 
think we want something that falls in the middle ground between the two 
extremes but slightly closer to the "high value" end (i.e. more negative 

Negative space is strongly associated with simplicity, which can be a 
good thing:

but too much empty space suggests that it can't do anything. I think we 
want to show TDE is simple but not so simple that is is useless, rich in 
functionality but not complicated and difficult to use, hence the image 
should show multiple applications which are immediately and obviously 
useful, while still showing plenty of negative space.

You should also consider the three-second rule: most users will make up 
their mind to move on or stay for a closer look within three seconds. 
Too much text and graphics diminishes the opportunity to convince them 
to stay:

I hope these suggestions will be useful to you.