As I’ve said before, tray is a best way for gathering required info about the device and software status like battery charge, wi-fi connection and instant messaging status. But right now in Maemo it holds not so much info, that it could and even this info is mixed with “thrash” like application title. In the first chapter of this blog we’ve done some work on the applet amount aspect of tray, cleared it from thrash information and finished with brand new wide redesigned tray. Now let’s work on quality aspect.
First of all, let’s take a look at our previous result:
All applets are signed. Clock is just a demonstration of my suggestion about “2 din” applets, that have double-width. It’s non-existent applet for now (pitty). Pidgin applet is not built-in Maemo, so we’ll not analyze it.
Bluetooth applet is a holy grail of Maemo, which Maemo team can’t reach till today. Karel Jansens described the problem very clear, so I’ll quote the comment:
“A bit of history: Back in the days of yore, when Nokia first came out with the now-forgotten Internet Tablet 770, there was no Bluetooth icon; Nokia didn’t think users should have access to BT functionality, other than by pairing their phone to the tablet, which had to be done from the Control Panel.
But some hackers thought differently, and they wrote a Bluetooth applet, complete with icon for the tray. This icon had the interesting property that it was persistent: If Bluetooth was “on”, it was — well, blue. Obviously. But if the user disabled Bluetooth, the icon would not go away, but rather turn grey, thus making Bluetooth on/off a one-click operation from the tray.
Enter the geniuses at Nokia. When they discovered that everybody loved this extended Bluetooth functionality, they naturally (I’d like to think they thanked the hackers who made the original version, but I’m sceptic) incorporated it in subsequent releases of the operating system, but — and this is rapidly becoming exemplary of Nokia — they completely ignored the user-friendliness of the blue-grey icon and decided that, if the user turned Bluetooth off (which one tends to do, you know, to conserve some gogo juice), the BT icon would disappear from the tray, requiring the user to open Control Panel, go to the Connectivity section and turn Bluetooth back on, a needlessly tedious and time consuming operation.
There have been bug reports, angry posts, even incantations to Satan ever since that stupidity first surfaced and yet, even in ITOS2008 it hasn’t been fixed.”
So, what we have right now is the “bluetooth on only visible” icon that have only two states and everybody hates it.
What can we improve here. First of all, lets hear community prays and make it visible even when BT is off. Then, let’s add a bit information to this applet. Right now it’s a bit dumb with two states “Eeeeh, I’m on” and “I’m working”. But when you’re sending or recieving a file or a card – you can’t trace this process. Just have to wait. So, let’s make two states instead of one – “transfering” and “recieving”. It will add clearance to the most of usage cases. That’s pretty good!
The last suggestion is probably a feature request so don’t think about it to complicated =) A special icon for A2DP profile. Actually, you can make icons for every type of devices like handsfree, keyboard, pda or phone.
So, as a result we have quite handy BT icon that completely describes all of BT states and quite user friendly.
To my mind nothing wrong with this applet. It’s pretty handy. But, to my mind the brightness settings in OS 2007 were more comfortable and scaling than 5 positions in OS 2008.
Well, as brigtness applet, volume control does it’s work quite easily. I can only sugest some design improvements to remove that crappy red stripe and not so modern looking “wave cone” (thing to the right of the speaker)
I think new icon set fits Maemo UI concepts perfectly without red stripes.
So, what we have now in connection status applet, that is one of the main for the tablets. 4 states, ugly red stripe and not so much info about the connection status.
First of all let’s remove this stripe and make “flight mode” icon the same style as others, when they are in “totally off” mode. But. It looks like “enabled but disconnected” icon in original set. So, lets make some difference for that mode. To my mind the best way to symbolize “disconnected” or “no signal” is just simple white dot with half-transparent “waves”. Easy to understand, easy to quick read. Now it would be great to make icon reflect Wi-Fi signal strength. It’s already designed for it, but somehow it’s still static. So we have 3 states of signal: “weak” (one wave), “normal” (two weaves) and “good (guess it :) ). The last one icon in this set is a bluetooth internet connection through cellphone or other compatible device. Original set have a good and easy readable icon, but it doesn’t fit in whole set design and concept anyway. So, to easy describe bluetooth connection we need just… blue color. Yep, same as bluetooth icon. So, now we’re done and can view our result.
Well this icon is totally ok to my mind. I think you need it for simple click on it and view full battery status in drop down menu. So I think it’s schematic gradation into four states is better than good in our case.
I don’t know what to comment here, simple USB connection indicator :) it does nothing but indicating :)
There can be much more ideas about tray applets optimization so, you’re welcome to discuss all of implementations in comments.
Thanks for reading!