06 April 2007

Ubuntu - it's the little things that count

I'm a big fan of good usability design. This is something that I think the Ubuntu guys do really well - they take a step back and look at things from the average point of view and try to come up with ways to make things better. Take the Slick Boot specification that (sadly) won't be making its way into Feisty but will come around eventually I'm sure. An example of the user perspective from the full specification page:

Matthew's monitor takes a couple of seconds to switch between different
modes. The multiple mode switches in the current boot sequence make him
Sadly there's one little thing that's been annoying me recently. My laptop has always been notoriously bad at sleeping no matter which operating system is having its go at it. Not to worry, I can just use hibernate instead and back when I used Windows this was fine. It works perfectly on Ubuntu too. But let me pretend for a second that I don't know what's going on here.
If you turn on a hibernated computer with Windows, here's what you might get:

It's a simple screen, sure but effective. It has text that tells the user what is happening. It has a progress bar.

Now let's compare that with what I see when I resume my laptop.

Hmmm. What's going on here? I've got a progress bar that's not moving at all. And I have an ugly white band across the screen that makes it seem as if something is broken. But no! Suddenly a flash occurs and my desktop is back.

Ubuntu did a great job with Usplash of making things look rosy to the average user. Usplash needs to be extended to hibernation too. Admittedly there is a specification that covers this. I just hope it gets implemented soon!