Hello everyone, with the beta coming soon, I felt inspired to share my ideas for consideration. While I still admit I am not a low-level guy, I love user interfaces and experience. And, I know I’ve posted on this before, but I thought now that the beta is nearly here of re-posting my suggestions one more time…
These would be:
Add a default background. Haiku is very sleek and simple, and a background would help show it better. As just two primary examples, Mac OS has included desktop pictures since v8.0 (for the sake of argument, made it default in 8.6), Windows since XP (again, for argument; 9x also had wallpaper)… and there are many other examples like AROS, various *BSDs, Linuxen – or even ‘BeOS Max’ that I could also refer to. In 2018, there isn’t a serious graphical desktop OS without a wallpaper, (except embedded/legacy usage, etc.) If it is scaling the Haiku team is worried about, Haiku can use a tiled wallpaper like CDE, Win 9x, or Mac OS 8 did, or make it scalable with different sizes (at the cost of image size).
Gray forever? Like the backgrounds, this is a need. One of the radical changes Platinum made to Mac OS 8 wasn’t just 3D-izing bevels. It was adding color to a rather colorless land. Haiku has a really beautiful UI, given color. Add varying blue highlights to scrollbars, buttons, lists, and menus, akin to Aqua or Aero, or the lavender blue more akin to Dano, and it will make a huge difference.
Show a getting started page. BeOS had a ‘Read Me First’ file that popped up after install; Haiku does have the ‘Welcome’ box and document, but not the read me that BeOS used to bring up. There is no ‘tips’ box for a new user, or anything mentioning ‘know or do this first’ before using the system, like (Linux) Mint or more recent versions of macOS will do (via a toast notification). Most people who first see Haiku may be upset with the Haiku UI at first (take this post excellently written by @kneekoo when first trying Haiku), which is outlined better than I could have put it here! And random Haiku video reviews by others I’ve watched for fun also kind of display a sense of being disoriented. It’s clear something is needed to help newcomers.
Include tips/‘simple help’ pages. We have the Be(-inspired) documentation, and of course the BeBook, which is always a pleasure to read… if someone already loves Be. In tandem with my earlier suggestion, having a ‘simple help’ or a ‘tips’ guide alongside the nicely detailed docs would be big for a general audience.
Include SuperPrefs (suggestion). I tried this with the Nightly and it made the experience much more modern, yet oddly, it is a third-party package. I personally believe instant search for app and pref names is where the BeOS would have went with R6, given the pioneering work done with the BeFS and search already; it’d be a Be version of Sherlock/Spotlight much more efficiently implemented in practice and usage… and ahead of its time. While not the same as the above (SP is a third-party package), adding it shouldn’t require any coding changes other than to the jam rules, and would really help.
Preflet ideas (very optional; probably save for R2). This point not everyone will agree with me on, and I’m not sure if I’d do this or not until later, but it’s an idea. For example, the act of setting a background with the Backgrounds preflet is reminiscent to me of doing it on Mac OS 8 or 9. It’s multi-step, confusing for new users, and is something I’d be willing to fix. To explain, set a background/wallpaper on Mac OS X 10.0 or later, Windows Vista or later, or something like webOS, iOS, or Android. The solution would be to add a ‘modern’ JS or PHP powered ‘Backdrops’ preflet alongside the traditional one, maybe with timed loops. The other suggestion would be a preflet for color themes, but that would take much more effort and time than just Backgrounds.
If you guys would like me to mix in these ideas into Haiku, I’d be happy to join and do so. I’m not talking about my own personal idiosyncrasies here, but universal things that I believe would help Haiku. I would ask, though, that if the answer is ‘go ahead’, please don’t merely overwrite changes.
(One last area worth mentioning are basic accessibility features (and rather dreamily, persistence like Apple Lisa or Palm OS), but I know this would require a lot of time and effort the Haiku team does not have to spend.)
Anyway, thanks for reading, all! It’ll be interesting to read what everyone thinks about my ideas, as I don’t plan to list them all again (this is the second time I’ll be talking about it)…