Words are Water


And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.

– Anaïs Nin

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working pretty much non-stop to pick up where we left off after the GNOME UX Hackfest and drive the GNOME Shell / 3.0 designs forward.

I’ve been approaching the problem in a way that, I like to think, is consistent with the very strong goal-oriented design heritage of Owen’s team at Red Hat.

No matter what design process you use (personally I like to blend Design Thinking with the OODA Loop) you really ought to carefully observe the environment and history of the problem – both the failures and partial successes, and perhaps most importantly empathize with the innocent victims of related “designs”.

I’ve posted to the wiki a selection of some of the material I’ve been reading.

If you are new to the subject, I highly recommend the first book listed, “Beyond the Desktop Metaphor: Designing Integrated Digital Work Environments.”  Which is basically a collection and summary of a number of the papers that I list below it – but it adds a lot of context that you may find helpful.

The papers are all really interesting.  I encourage you to read as many as you can.  Doing so will almost certainly help you understand some of the design decisions that will come later.  And with any luck motivate you to get involved!

I should also note that I haven’t made any attempt to categorize the papers.  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine why.  Hint: read Lansdale.

Something I may have missed?  If you have any suggestions please leave a comment.  Thanks.

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One Response to Words are Water

  1. David says:

    I would add Jef Raskin’s The Humane Interface[1] to the list. Since you have the Windows 7 stuff already, you might want to add “The Story of the Ribbon”[2].

    [1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0201379376
    [2] http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2008/03/12/the-story-of-the-ribbon.aspx

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