This year, just like the previous years, the Purism design team has been focusing on improving the overall Librem products experience. We took this opportunity to contribute to some amazing upstream projects like Libadwaita for the world to benefit from those modern and respectful technologies. Our goal is to make each Librem product simple and usable by anyone, while remaining secure and respecting digital rights. We are also working on unifying the overall experience across the different devices by designing UIs and gestures that naturally adapt to different screen sizes and orientations. We want people using a Librem desktop or laptop computer to feel at home when using a Librem 5 and vice-versa.
We also took visual consistency into consideration and made our website UIs to better reflect the visual appearance of the Librem hardware and software.
The Purism Website
The design of the main Purism website was simplified to match the clean lines and simple shapes of the Librem devices while featuring the font and colors of PureOS in its default GNOME flavor.
The products page has an easy to read layout. For a smoother navigation, based on user feedback, we also removed the scroll driven animations that showed the Librem devices rotating at the top of their individual product pages. Instead, we added snapshots of the different angles of the products.
The PureOS Website
The PureOS website also has been updated to match the look of PureOS and, therefore, is also matching the look of the main Purism website. Note that we are preparing an update of the pureos.net front page that will match some nice visual updates we made for PureOS 10 (Byzantium) that will be released soon. Stay tuned!
The Documentation Website
The look of the documentation website as had some work as well and is now matching with the rest of the Purism visuals.
This is also a work in progress. The same layout will soon target the developers website. We are making some great updates to the documentation that will target the newcomers to the platform. Stay tuned as well! 😉
Regarding software design, I will invite Tobias, our amazing lead designer to give a summary of what happened during 2021 :
The past year has been very productive.
The most user-visible achievement is probably the GNOME Software redesign, which looks a lot cleaner, presents more information about apps, and works on mobile. It also fixes some long-standing issues around presenting sandboxing information more accurately, which is going to be an important part of our security story going forward.
There was also quite a bit of work on other core apps, especially around moving them towards adaptiveness, general visual polish, and using the latest design patterns. The preferences dialog in Nautilus updated in 40 is a good example of this ongoing cleanup/streamlining effort. On the phone side there was also a lot of work around SIP in Calls, as well as general polish across Calls, Chatty, and Phosh.
The highest-impact thing I did on this year is the work on Libhandy and now especially Libadwaita though, as well as the integration between it and the new GNOME Human Interface Guidelines, which also now includes adaptive considerations throughout. Alongside a number of new widgets an important area of focus was a style refresh, which not only looks a lot better but also provides a number of great new platform features for app developers, such as the ability to recolor widgets easily. This is going to go a long way towards making our apps look more attractive to people coming from other platforms going forward.
As part of this we also worked with app developers across the ecosystem, helping them make their apps better and learning about use cases for our developer tools along the way. This platform work is going to be incredibly impactful since all core and third party apps are moving to Libadwaita with GNOME 42+, and I think it has set our developer platform on a great course for the next few years.
Overall, I think the thing I’m most proud of is how successfully we (not just the design team, but Purism developers too) are collaborating with people from Endless, Red Hat, and other companies, as well as individual community contributors. All the things mentioned here were cross-company upstream collaborations that benefit everyone, which I think is quite rare even in the open source world, and something to pride ourselves in.
As mentioned above, some visual improvements of the default Byzantium install on both the desktop and mobile platforms, along with an update of the PureOS website are to be expected soon.
Some great updates to the developers’ website are also planned to be rolled-out. The goal of those updates are to help the developers who are not familiar with the PureOS and GNOME development platform to get started with making and publishing their own applications. Those updates will also feature a welcoming home page and a new theme that matches the appearance of the new documentation website.
On the software side, we will keep working with the GNOME design team toward our goal of making the best desktop and mobile convergent experience with simplicity, security and privacy in mind.
On a more creative (and personal) note, I also plan to get back at working on some artistic video teasers that promote our products line. This is always a good opportunity for me to experience and showcase the power of the Librem computers running amazing Free Software like Blender, Kdenlive, Ardour, Gimp, Krita, Inscape… My old Librem 13 was doing a great job at this but the latest, Librem 14 is doing even better and is a delight to use with those applications.
As you can imagine, 2022 will be a busy year for the design team at Purism as we have a lot of exciting projects in perspective. So, stay tuned!