We have spent the last two months building our design team for the Librem 5 Phone project. We have been studying the current state of mobile design within the free software community as well as large companies that have shown success in mobile. We have been in the planning phases of development attempting to produce an ethically designed device and now that we have a working prototype we have shifted to the process of designing User Interfaces (UI) and User eXperience (UX) for the Librem 5.
Upon successful completion of our funding campaign, we started to look for a Designer to take care of the user experience for the Librem 5, and a web developer to help us improve the look & feel (and more technical parts) of our website in general. Today, I’m glad to finally welcome them publicly!
We had a huge amount of talented and motivated applicants who were perfectly aligned with our philosophy of digital ethics, and so picking only two was a very difficult decision to make. Thank you to all of those who applied! We appreciate your interest, motivation, and ideas!
Peter has also been working on the look and feel of PureOS in an effort to make our systems convergent across devices: phone, tablet and laptop.
Our approach to convergence is that mobile is the motivating factor for all other platforms. We are aware that usability is different from a small touchscreen to a laptop monitor with a mouse and keyboard. We want to improve the user experience through ease of use, by creating a graphical environment that doesn’t require a steep learning curve when switching between devices. This approach is also helpful to developers who don’t want to maintain too many different outputs. Mobile design brings efficiency and simplicity first.
The general appearance of the user interface we’ll be designing is expected to follow current visual design approaches in the mobile industry. We expect our design to have a minimalistic aesthetic by default.
We are starting work on a dark theme (a “light” one will be designed as well). Here are a few mockups that we are working on (click to enlarge):
We want any of our Librem 5 UI/UX design and development work to be a direct contribution back to the parent projects that they are based on. You may be aware that we have partnered with both the KDE and GNOME projects, and so we wish to make the Librem 5 a mobile platform where the user can have a choice of Desktop Environments. Of course, KDE and GNOME are currently at fairly different levels of development with regards to mobile user experience:
This is what free software is all about—not just taking existing work “as is” but adjusting and improving things that we send back for everyone to benefit from. We’re looking forward to giving development back to these two free software giants!
As I said in a previous post, we are working on producing an “ethical design” that: