Proposal by Juan Canham

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Please do not edit this page unless you are the original author. Your feedback and comments are welcome in the Comments section below or on the mailing list.

Design Proposal "Customizable "containers""

The following design proposal is part of the collection of design proposals for “Accessing Functionality”, which is part of Project Renaissance.

Summary and Status

Instead of providing a fixed layout, providing a framework to allow users to setup a wide variety of setups to suit their needs. Additionally the most popular setups can then be shipped with openoffice to work around the fact that different use cases use different setups (e.g a person who mainly reads documents doesn't want much screen estate wasted on toolbars, but a user who mainly formats will need his tools visible most of the time). It should also be noted that most of these ideas were dreamt up while using writer/calc and so are not tied to impress specifically.

Status: Proposal Complete (Appologies if late, I don't know what timezone your in)

p.s First time editing a wiki, so feel free to correct any stupid mistakes.


Apologies for the poor quality of the mock up, the idea is best described in the below text, but here is a simple image representing the extremes a customizable system can go to. Juan Canham Small.png e.g Juan Canham Example.png

Juan Canham Large.png

These are quick mock ups as this idea is mainly to do with the toolbar and not OO Impress specific. An important ommision is that the active toggle would be highlighted. e.g in the example the Text icon should be highlighted.

inline addition of new slides Juan Canham Newslide.png

Detailed Description

  • Menubar: Replace the main menubar with a menubutton, use this to show all menu items buttons that aren't shown by menu buttons that are spread on the toolbar as individual items (provide buttons for all menu items but only include some by default)
  • Permanent toolbar, some actions can be done from any situation (copy/paste/undo,etc) these items should be placed on a permanent toolbar
  • Bind keys,buttons to toggle whats in the "container"
  • Make the whole thing customizable (if the relevant buttons are to big to fit in the provided space that section should be the first to lose space) and allow users to define their own "containers" (allow repeated buttons) and their own triggers to put these into the "container"
  • Allow the different sections to be separated (like current toolbars)
  • Allow different toolbars to use different sized icons (and some to include text while other dont)
  • Providing too much customization is not a bad thing as long as most people can use the defaults.
  • Provide an easy&safe way to save/share a "theme" (There is no point in doing research designing what you thing is a good compromise for the work load that office/home users put their suite through, when you can just put a version out there and see what people do with it )

I'm not a presentation expert so my "containers" are just rough guesses:

Text - For all your text formatting needs
Image - For adding images and editing them
Object - For adding boxes/cricles/3d boxes/etc and editing them
Layout - For editing the slide layout, (the container would default to this when no object/image is selected)
Document - For making changes that affect the entire document save as (save would be in the permanently visible set of buttons)/print/email/export ect
  • Dynamic behavior: When the set of icons in the container is changed, via toggle buttons, keyboard shortcut or selection of a different media, a transformation takes place (fade out one set and fade in another seams like a logical transition but its not overly important)
  • Explain the rationale and assumptions:There are several different groups that have strong opinions on UI. I believe there will be 4 sets of people who all want different things in a UI (old fashioned, minimalist, fancy and microsoft clone) and while there wants are not mutually exclusive it is impossible to satisfy them all with a single design. While the framework is not a large departure form what can already be done in openoffice, providing "containers" allows 3 groups to produce their ideal UIs while leaving fans of the classic look happy (they can put all their buttons in the permanent container.
  • alternatives:The replacing of the menubar with a single button is a bold move, and its very important for an application to fit in with an OS, while i think including a menubar button is a good idea across all OSs, it may be appropriate to not enable it by default on macs.
  • Idea: To allow easier customization of the toobars & containers a firefox-like UI could replace the current menu customization system. However this is not essential as the current customization system works well, all that needs to be added is the ability to add container toggling buttons.
  • Idea2: To save some space on the toolbar, replace dropdownboxes with buttons that provide menus when clicked on. (for the font picker this will save a lot of space, by only showing a button with A on (in arial), T on (in times new roman), C on (in comic sans) and will halve the size of the font size picker.
  • New slide addition (unrelated idea)
Instead of taking up the rhs with layouts, there could be two buttons udnerneath the current slide, to either add a new slide in the current layout or go to a new slide screen where you the range of possible slides takes center stage

Author or Team Working on This Proposal

Juan Canham (RiotingPacifist)


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Your space :-)

Menubar: Replace the main menubar with a menubutton, use this to show all menu items buttons that aren't shown by menu buttons that are spread on the toolbar as individual items (provide buttons for all menu items but only include some by default)

Totally don't recommend when you see MS Office 2007 users going out of there way to put the Menubar back. Provide option for user to operate without menubar but not as a default action straight up. Thinking of users. The menubar works great as a bridge from many other applications to open office. Take firefox Koffice... list goes on and on. Migration of users seams to be a key thing everyone is overlooking. It is important to ask yourself if you only know OpenOffice 3.1 and you landed in this new interface how would you cope. Not well current design. Leaving menubar in there would be still some productivity. Renaissance is such a key word most of you are failing to understand it. Renaissance is old with new. Not just new. Name of project was kinda chosen to remind designers about the importance of migration.

--Oiaohm 23:49, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

I entirely agree, the menubar button should be an optional replacement, perhaps letting the menubar be toggled like the visibility of other toolbars. While it doesn't fit at all with mac, on windows many programs are hiding the menubar by default now (chrome, msn, wmp) so users are used to it and I would hide it by default, but i think the important thing is to add the functionality, so that people used to programs that behave that way can have it, while people more accustomed to the classic menubar system could keep it. On linux the situation is more complex and perhaps it should be disabled by default, although both koffice (ctrl+m) & firefox (a few extensions) offer this functionality it isn't enabled by default.
I agree it should be a combination of old and new and that is why i think adding the ability to do control dynamic toolbars with buttons, while staying with the classic toolbar system is the way to go. I'm particularly keen on leaving a classic "theme" in there, for people that do not want any of the fancy new features, perhaps when OO is first run their could be a dialog offering the various themes like when kde3.5 is first run, this would make users aware that it can be changed while letting them pick what suits them best.--RiotingPacifist 05:52, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
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