Design Team/Meetings

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The Sugar Labs Meetings calendar is available in a variety of formats at these links: XML.gif ICal.gif HTML.gif.

To convert UTC to your local time, use this converter or run:

date -d '[current date] [time] UTC'
date -d '2008-06-03 14:00 UTC'


Upcoming IRC meeting: Sunday 15:00 UTC


  • General feedback on existing activity toolbar designs. (Gonzalo)
  • Notification icon high contrast improvements (garycmartin)
  • Follow up on a standard tool icon for create-new/modify type Activity functionality (e.g. cog/spanner/scissors discussion) (erikos)
  • Invocation widget for new details view dialogue placement/design (replace/repurpose Keep widget? Browse 'show in journal' alert to use new dialogue?)
  • Activity startup in the Home View: Introduce new concept to distinguish between 'start new' vs 'resume' (erikos)
  • Control Panel rework (erikos)
  • School server icon in Neighbourhood (part of Thread "Reflect internet connectivity in the 'Network' frame icon" (esp. a set of design questions), mention of school server icon during the last meeting)
  • Indicating "internet connectivity"
  • Frame: Expand hot corner on the upper left to be the entire grid cell (big enough for finger) (walterbender)
    • To accommodate the unintentional frame activation that continues to plague Learners, so much so that Dextrose defaults to inactive corners and edges, add a Touch corner section to the control panel for the Frame that includes the selection of upper left or upper right (an accessibility feature, lower corners will interfere with scroll bars) and a dimension slider (pixels) 0 to grid width. (FGrose)
  • Home View toolbar -> Framebar (FGrose)
  • Give priority to last installed activity by date installed and not version number ie:browse-120 installed from sugar Control panel update should not block browse-119.xo installed later Activities_are_located_in_2_places deleting browse=119.xo reverts to older browse-120 from update. (Sometimes the latest update does not work)(satellit)?

Some further information on the above topics is included in mails from Simon and Walter

  • Journal backup UIs (silbe)
    • Backup/Restore via Activities (needs design input)
    • Backup/Restore directly from Journal (currently implemented in Dextrose, is it appropriate to upstream?)

Future topics (missing information):

  • virtual keyboard support (silbe)
  • Uruguays accessibility support patch series (silbe)
  • tablet support (silbe)

Old topics:

  • How to handle start-up delay due to data store migration (#1546)? (silbe)
  • Uncaught exception handler (#2063)
  • "Your Journal is empty" shown for unreadable storage media (#1810)
  • invalid/unknown colors are shown as owner colors (#1750)
  • Drop down menus give no indication of their existence, also are too slow to load (#1169, Patch from Michael Stone)

We should also go through open tickets filed against component design some time.

Who and what

The meeting is targeted to Sugar core and activity developers, but remains open to anyone interested. It's primary purpose is to open the design approach, making it more transparent and allowing the community to provide feedback on both current and upcoming features.

In general, discussion focuses on:

  • high level design goals and ideas
  • feedback and discussion of problems in the current design
  • reviews of design proposals

Adding topics

You can add topics for discussion to the topics section for the meeting throughout the week. Posted topics will be collected and sent out in the announcement on the morning of the meeting.

Past meetings

Sunday 17th April 2011 15:00 UTC

  • Proposal for adding a standard activity "About Dialog" (icarito)
  • Discussion of extra metadata/files that could be good to add ABOUT/README/AUTHORS/MAINTAINER upstream git rep in (silbe)

See logs for details.

Sunday 10th April 2011 15:00 UTC

  • Follow up on a standard tool icon for create-new/modify type Activity functionality (e.g. cog/spanner/scissors discussion) (erikos)
  • Built-in Activity examples UI and/or root fs access (walterbender)
  • Standard system icon use (re Gonzalo's email)

See logs for details.

Sunday 27th March 2011 15:00 UTC

See log for details.

Sunday 20th March 2011 15:00 UTC

  • A standard tool icon for create-new/modify type Activity functionality (e.g. for Memorize, Abacus, et al user customisation) (erikos)
    • use of a scissor (like editing an activity), or the gear like we use in 'view source'?
  • Get rid of Alt-1 for taking screenshots (collides with some applications, e.g. irssi) (silbe)
  • What date should the activities list view show for pre-installed activities? (OLPC#10487, patch discussion) (silbe)

See this log and this log for details

2011 March 13

See logs for details.

2011 March 06

  • Housekeeping discussion (trying to keep realtime meeting agenda items on things that benefit from realtime)
    • Journal backup UI (Patch from Martin Abente, Patch from Sascha Silbe, Backup and Restore activities by Sascha Silbe) (silbe)

See logs for details

2011 February 27

Discussed topics:

  • Size issue with icons in Random Layout (Home View) (walterbender)
  • Replace Naming Alert: a) switch to Journal detail view b) option in the activity toolbar to do a description and tags (erikos)

See logs for details.

2011 February 20

Discussed topics:

  • Remove 'Keep' Button: Replace by 'copy to' functionality in the Journal (erikos)
  • CPU and memory resource indicator for the Frame (silbe)
    Features/Resource monitoring (action item)
  • Replace Naming Alert: a) switch to Journal detail view b) option in the activity toolbar to do a description and tags (erikos)

See minutes and logs for details.

2011 February 13

Discussed topics:

  • Size issue with icons in Random Layout (Home View) (walterbender)
  • Speaker frame device: pop up palette on left-click instead of toggling mute (silbe)
  • Don't hide Register menu item upon successful registration (silbe)
  • Journal entries on external media: Invalidate preview if the data file was changed? (silbe)
    • 'Watermark' the image with 'Changed'. (Even an old image may help identify the object.) (FGrose)

See minutes and logs for details.

Followup discussion:

2010 July 10

2009 August 16

Summary & log - Sugar 0.86 Design

2009 May 09

Summary & log.


2009 April 19



We discussed design goals for the next release 0.86. Design mockups will be created in response to the high-level features listed below (potentially in advance of SugarCamp 2009 on May 16th), to further illustrate the design intent and allow for integration with the development schedule.

High-level feature recap:

  • polish activity list in Home
  • support filtering/searching via tags in Home
  • add list views to groups/neighorhood
  • make groups dynamic (like neighborhood)
  • extend activity chat
  • add overlay chat to groups/neighborhood
  • design a bulletin-board _activity_
  • remove management from activity list, ensure _all_ installed activities are in Journal
  • new toolbar design

Concrete design/development tasks:

  1. design mockups to make the frame more discoverable
  2. design mockups to polish the new toolbars
  3. Home list view: remove the date column and enable alphabetical sort. Label versions "Version x"
  4. Design mockups for tagging/filtering/search within Home view
  5. Draft changes to file to support tagging
  6. Design mockups for overlay chat in groups/neighborhood (should also include revising the activity chat..which exists but not as earlier designs proposed)
  7. Design mockups of bulletin board activity
  8. Design mockups for list views in groups and neighborhood

2009 March 21



Discussion of the Home view and whether to abandon the notion of favorites for a single consolidated view

See Design Team/Proposals.

Unify look of web services

(Marketing Team) 2009 March 10


2009 March 01

Logs: Design Team/Meetings/09.03.01


We'll continue discussion of revised, and thorough, mockups for overlay chat in activities. This includes ways in which this chat system can extend into the other zoom levels, and short term and long term goals.

Other topics: Discuss development roadmap and prioritize design activities for next build

2008 December 19


We'll continue discussion of revised, and thorough, mockups for overlay chat in activities. This includes ways in which this chat system can extend into the other zoom levels, and short term and long term goals.

2008 December 04


We'll focus on possibilities for overlay chat in activites, presenting both short term and long term ideas, and discuss how this could later be extended to the neighborhood.



2008 November 26

We'd like to hold a meeting this week while the topics discussed at the recent SugarCamp are fresh in our minds. Though this is not part of the usual meeting cycle, I think it's important enough to merit an extra meeting. Due to Thanksgiving on Thursday, we'll hold it on Wednesday instead.


Short Term Roadmap Definition

To capitalize on the extremely valuable discussions at the recent SugarCamp in Cambridge, we'd like to take some time to define a rough feature roadmap for the Sugar OS within the OLPC 9.1 timeframe. As a starting point for this discussion, we should likely review the various design proposals presented on the last day of the conference.

Resuming activities from Home
Enhancing the Journal
Improving Toolbars
Encouraging Naming/Tagging


2008 September 18


Visual Clipboard API

For reference, please see the clipboard specification. For a more targeted list of features and goals, please see the clipboard planning page.

We had a fairly long discussion about this, which didn't seem to get too far. Fortunately, a follow-up between Marco and I clarified some points, and we agreed that it should be possible to implement the majority of the goals across the system using the "formats" allowed in the GTK protocols, and falling back to sane defaults when extra info isn't provided.

Some references:

Advancing the Journal

I'd like to have a conversation regarding the current iteration of the Journal, future plans, and the steps we hope to take toward them in the next major release so we can scope our goals. The latest mockups (though slightly out of date) can be seen here.

Due to the lengthy clipboard discussion, we didn't hit this topic today. We'll pick it up first thing next week.

Icon reviews

We discussed three icons today.

Settings (control panel): By popular demand, a wrench was chosen as the base for this icon, though it was also proposed that a wrench and screwdriver could be clearer. It was agreed that the wrench is a simpler icon, and a more generic metaphor which could be used to represent "settings" throughout the system. A few visual tweaks (Trac #8198) made many happier with the wrench, but since this isn't a major change they can come post 8.2.

View Details (Journal): The old designs for this button closely resembled a play button (but with an open triangle, akin to a greater than (>) symbol), which some found confusing. The new proposal is an ellipsis [...] icon, to indicate the idea that more info is available, but omitted in the abbreviated list view. This works nicely within the [ new Journal designs], since the icons will occasionally appear within a string of icon-annotated text. All present agreed the latter was a better direction. This change could make 8.2.

Access Point: Recent experience reports have indicated that the removal of an identifier of the connected AP is frustrating. The proposal discussed is shown [1], which wraps the former AP icon (the circle) in "parenthesis" (meant to indicate radio signal). This retains the primitive circular shape of the current access points, but illustrates which is connected in a way which alludes to the wireless activity LED. The point was discussed that the other LED is actually more semantically correct, but not as suitable as an icon.

Additionally, these alternate designs were proposed, using antennae to make the purpose of the icons clearer. We may wish to elicit feedback about these alternatives from teachers and kids to see which convey the notion of wireless connectivity the best. The triangle proposed here was used once, and subsequently removed due to some distaste for the shape in this context, but it may still convey the idea better with the antenna. This change is strongly desired for 8.2.