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The following image is a screen shot of Open Office displaying text from the GNU License. Realizing the web is a very un-controlled test environment, the desire is your eyes are naturally drawn to the text and white space of the document. The following image is a screen shot of Open Office displaying text from their home page. Realizing the web is a very un-controlled test environment, the desire is your eyes are naturally drawn to the text and white space of the document.

Kyūdō Approach

Kyūdō is the Japanese art of archery. From it we derive the thought that an optimal result follows from an optimal process.

The current goal of Project Kyūdō is to create an optimal theme for the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution. In the long run, the theme should be the central piece in an effort to achieve an optimal presentation.

Due to this being a community effort, we don't have the decision power to put things into place. We will offer an alternative and intend to convince by delivering high quality work resulting from a traceable process.

Guide lines

Impression - Kyūdō Briefing

Top Level

  • Enhance the user computing experience by applying balance and harmony to the Gnome Desktop framing applications in such a manner as to permit the eye to focus without distraction on the content displayed. The desire is an optimal result from an optimal process.

Target Audience

  • Ubuntu is used by a broad spectrum of individuals, this solution is targeted toward those who spend a significant amount of their professional or personal day at their computer.


  • Some level of customization may be required

    Although the desire is to craft a very usable solution it is assumed some will need to change the result to better suite theirs needs. Reasons include but are not limited to:

    • Personalization to achieve user satisfaction and enhance usability
    • Satisfy physical differences in vision and/or color perception
    • Compensate for environmental differences and viewing conditions
    • Accommodate hardware differences

  • The Pareto Principle

    Known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It is assumed at any given moment the desire of the user will be to focused on an area of the screen which is less than the total amount of available.

  • Asthenopia and Poor Design

    Many computer users experience Asthenopia or visual stress due to:

    1. an increase in the number and complexity of necessary eye movements and focusing skills
    2. poor lighting conditions, glare and distracting reflections
    3. screen flicker rate
    4. extended amount of computer use

    It is assumed screens designs which aid the eye in focusing on content [see #1] over extended periods of time will reduce eye fatigue and Asthenopia.

  • Performance Is Built-in

    It is assumed using a robust theme engine like Murrine will provide acceptable performance metrics.

Attributes of the 9.04

  • Faster boot time
  • New notification system
  • Online services

Transparency to Applications

To be transparent, your eyes should not be drawn to the window frame or the supporting control widgets. Control widgets should be available in a manner which enhances usability and are easily identified as needed.

The Language of Color


Color is the result of some combination red, blue, or green, and presented using hue, saturation, and value.


Hue identifies the general family of a color, such as red, yellow, blue or green. The traditional color wheel is made up of twelve color families: red, red-orange, orange, yellow-range, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue-red-violet, violet and blue-violet.


Saturation is how pure the color is. A fully saturated color is the truest version of that color. Primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) are "true", so they are also fully saturated.


Value describes how light or dark a specific color may be.


Gnome Color Wheel

Complementary Colors

Colors on the opposite side of a color wheel are called complementary colors. In combination, these create striking contrasts. For less contrast, choose colors next to each other on the color wheel, which are called analogous colors. Choosing colors of different tints within one color family creates a monochromatic color scheme.

Warm or Cool

Different colors in the same family may be described as being "warm" or "cool." Colors with yellow undertones will seem warmer, while the same color with blue or red undertones will appear cool. Cool colors — blue, green, violet — invite relaxation and thought. Warm colors — red, orange, yellow — encourage conversation and play. Ubuntu colors are warm.

Warm Neutral

If you take the color white and divide it by the color black the quotient is 50% gray or "#808080". Realizing gray is displayed "cool", the task is to identify it's warm counter part.


50% Gray

To warm this color I set the "Hue" to 36 and increased the saturation to "7". Very Ubuntu! Smile :)


Warmed 50% Gray

As you can see the black over powers the tint and demands the brightness be encreased.


Lighten Warmed 50% Gray

Applying a touch of art to the science results in "Ubuntu Gray" which is "Warm" and falls in the middle of the gray scale.

50% gray


Ubuntu gray


Dancing Around the 50 Yard Line

Putting the power of the theme engine shade function to work the desired outcome becomes a series of analogous colors.

Buttons are colored or shaded as follows:

  • bg[NORMAL] = shade (1.2, @bg_color) # Default @ 20% brighter

  • bg[PRELIGHT] = shade (1.1, @bg_color) # Prelight @ 10% brighter

  • bg[ACTIVE] = shade (1.0, @bg_color) # Active @ default brightness

  • bg[INSENSITIVE] = shade (1.1, @bg_color) # Dimmed @ 10% brighter

Framing The Presentation


Metacity Controls - Default & Prelight

The Ubuntu logo is based on circles and the desire is to leverage the strengths of its design in Metacity. Staying true to form the default controls are displayed muted. As the mouse hovers above they change to the prelight state, shrinking slightly when active to present an illusion of a pressed button.

Usability Test


OOO - Example of Usability

The following image is a screen shot of Open Office displaying text from their home page. Realizing the web is a very un-controlled test environment, the desire is your eyes are naturally drawn to the text and white space of the document.

Alternate Approaches



KDE 4.2 Desktop

Many consider KDE the gold standard in usability. IMO the design of the current KDE desktop supports many of Kyudo concepts presented here.

Apple OSX


OSX Leopard 10.5 Desktop

The success of OSX is a testimonial of a well defined desktop.

Windows Vista


Microsoft Vista Desktop

The poor adoption of Vista speaks volumes about the usability of the desktop as many individuals who depend upon Windows prefer the older XP look.


  • [get | view] (2009-03-01 03:40:07, 37.4 KB) [[attachment:Color807C77.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-03-01 03:40:14, 35.2 KB) [[attachment:Color808080.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-03-01 03:40:23, 37.4 KB) [[attachment:ColorCDC7BE.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-03-01 03:32:41, 34.5 KB) [[attachment:ColorPicker.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-02-15 23:12:25, 41.9 KB) [[attachment:HueSatValue.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-02-18 23:39:15, 164.6 KB) [[attachment:KDE_4_640.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-02-18 23:30:41, 276.3 KB) [[attachment:Leopard_Desktop_640.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-02-27 13:22:35, 256.1 KB) [[attachment:OpenOfficeExample.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-02-19 11:13:03, 16.2 KB) [[attachment:UbuntuMetacity.png]]
  • [get | view] (2009-02-18 23:31:13, 263.3 KB) [[attachment:Windows_Aero_640.png]]
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Artwork/Incoming/Jaunty/Impression/Kyudo (last edited 2009-04-08 12:48:16 by 204)