Surpassing Apple: Step One - Animate Everything
Surpassing Apple: Step Two - Get an Audience
Surpassing Apple: Step Three - Set a Tone
Surpassing Apple: Step Four - Vision and Desirability
Surpassing Apple: Step Five - Think Cinematic
Surpassing Apple: Step Six - Cultivate a Culture
Following through on vision is no easy task.
If we consider choosing an audience and the establishing of a tone primary goals, vision is the path of execution. Our willpower will be tested - we have a long legacy of aesthetic, design, and presence nightmares to overcome at this point with Ubuntu proper.
"Design in art, is a recognition of the relation between various things, various elements in the creative flux. You can't invent a design. You recognise it, in the fourth dimension. That is, with your blood and your bones, as well as with your eyes."Emotional reactions are at the root of a solid vision. We should seek to elicit these reactions. We should hope that our audience creates visceral links between our belief structure and tone with the delivery of our vision. Inevitably, of course, there will be those that feel our chosen path is "incorrect", "is ugly", "is unusable", and the like.
David Herbert Lawrence
There will be shrill cries of dismay. There will be upheaval. There will be turmoil. Such is the nature of a vision - it directly challenges the status quo.
Can you imagine for a brief moment if I stood before you all and suggested that we gut Ubuntu of every persistent scrollbar? Can you imagine the strife? The pain? The mailing list flame wars? The outright name calling and polemical political fallout?
Now try to imagine the strength of will it would take in our culture to push through with this vision. Imagine the mindset our developers and designers would need.
Now imagine the iPhone.
At the core of a vision is the willpower and strength to push through with it.
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."Desirability
There are plenty words starting with the letter u surrounding Ubuntu, and you probably would be led to believe that usability is the most in-vogue term within our Free Software culture at the moment. I'd hope that useful will soon be discussed with such fervor.
"To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number, to the specialist of an enlightened matter, to a privileged social class? Design addresses itself to the need."A particular audience when faced with computing does so out of need. What those needs are, obviously, depends on the audience. In the early eighties, the quest for the killer app was in full force. For one reason or another, the world of 'scratching one's own itch' has forgotten the importance of desire and need, as all of our Free Software forefathers were implicitly acting upon an internalized notion of desire and need. Our growing community, however, should put desire and need in clear view.
“Design is directed toward human beings. To design is to solve human problems by identifying them and executing the best solution.”Once again, the value of audience becomes clear. What does our chosen audience need? What, in the midst of their day-to-day activities, would greatly enhance their desktop experience? What interface elements would help them do what they desire more effectively, efficiently, and with greater subjective satisfaction?
Summing Vision and Desirability
One could make an extremely strong case that somewhere in the secret recipe of desirability lay a strong undercurrent of need. All entirely audience centric - culture, gender, age, ability, knowledge, etc. - needs take their forms in a variety of guises. Once we wrap our collective heads around our desired audience, we can begin to take the baby steps toward addressing their aesthetic and usefulness needs.
Wrap those needs up with our tonal communication and forge ahead with our vision, and maybe, just maybe, we are one step closer to surpassing Apple by delivering a fully immersive computing experience.
"To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master."As always, thank you immensely for investing your valuable moments reading my ramblings. I am but the sum of your clicks...
I'd also point out at this point that perhaps the greatest tragedy of our collective lack of vision has been culminated by one of Mark's posts to the ubuntu-devel listing. Unfortunately empty and reeking of desperation, I can think of no more immediate way to drive the design of a wonderful Free Software project into the repetitive cycle of the past.