I’ve had a few ideas recently about improving the usability of AbiWord on netbooks. Abi is already fast and small (always a good thing on a low power machine), but my general impression of netbooks is that they usually have fairly small, low resolution screens and small, somewhat imprecise input devices.
To this end, I’ve started making mockups of various interface concepts and ideas. Here are two of them.
(I’ve used the Windows XP taskbar because it’s easier to work with than the transparent Windows 7 one. Please excuse typos. Paint.net does not allow editing previously entered text. )
On the one hand, I’m somewhat hesitant to break a lot of platform specific human interface guidelines. On the other hand, they probably weren’t written with netbooks in mind. The gray interface seems like it would provide better contrast between the interface and the text in a brightly lit environment than the default grayish color.
Note also that my tabs are clearly better than the ones in Microsoft Office 2007 because they can be accessed from the side of the screen (even if the mockup does a really poor job of showing the idea). I may be treading close to the MS patent here though; I’ll need to check out the exact details of what that covers.
I do not yet know if I’ll be applying for a summer job realizing a few of my concepts in Summer of Code 2009, but I thought they were interesting enough to toss up here.
Speaking of which, does anyone know of a crossplatform way to break HIG standards on all platforms? Most of the cross platform libraries I’ve seen seem to empahsize uniformity with the host operating system.