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Author Topic: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?  (Read 44654 times)

nsunny

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Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« on: April 12, 2013, 10:25:56 am »
Hello everyone,

I had come across the Lazarus project in 2009. Lazarus was suggested to me by a user from a forum for programing.

At first glance I thought of Lazarus as an outdated IDE, because nobody I know codes using it. But as I gone through the Lazarus Tutorial I found it as good as any other IDEs out there, even better than some. As I gradually got used to the form designer, it wowed me. It is not less than any commercial IDE. I have heard that it is better than Delphi in many ways.

So I wonder, why did I have the impression that Lazarus is an outdated IDE? There were these reasons (for me) for the first time:
  • Website (It hasn't changed a bit when I first saw it in 2009)
  • Splash screen
  • Windows all over my desktop

I think you will agree that a design is more than just a design. A design controls the way we think. That's why multinational companies do research and change their design, layout etc. And sometimes if they go too far they change their logo, symbol, mascot etc.

If we see some other open source projects, they have also changed their graphics. (For example, Gimp has changed their splash screen, Ubuntu changes their graphics [symbol is another thing] with every release. Recently Ubuntu 13.04 got the icons undated by a university department, I heard.)

A modern image can help Lazarus:
  • Lead a person to think positive about Lazarus
  • Lead a person to think it has modern features
  • When similar graphics would be used, it will give the user an uniform experience with Lazarus
  • The user will be more confident in the performance in the IDE
  • There are lots of other reasons...

My question is to all of you forum members:

Do you think that the current Lazarus graphics (in the website, setup image, splash screen or in any other form) should be updated?
Do you think that modern images / graphics / design (cosmetic changes) should be adapted to make it feel more up to date?
Do you think that new graphics could interest more users to use Lazarus?

* I want to respect the current logos, the cheetah as a symbol. But can they be presented in other poses or angle or perspective to improve the design?

(May be you know that I have been working on a website prototype. I don't want you to think that I am supporting my design through this thread. I am just asking that should we still have the old graphics, or should we move on to new ones, retaining/respecting the current symbols/logos to have an up to date impression?)
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 07:16:11 pm by nsunny »
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jwdietrich

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2013, 10:52:11 am »
Your questions are too general to be answered.

Of course, the Lazarus project will benefit from an adequate design that also conveys the information to be up-to-date. But the design should also be tasteful, modest, elegant and expressing some continuity.

To combine both messages is not an easy task. That is the reason why design is a job for a living.
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BigChimp

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 11:12:48 am »
@jwdietrich:
In the absence of professional designers, we have to make do with what we have, I think.

Quote
Do you think that the current Lazarus graphics (in the website, setup image, splash screen or in any other form) should be updated?
No, I don't think they do.

I'm not against a change, but honestly I don't see the point - I do not think that changing the logo/graphics will cause more people to take an interest in Lazarus.

A website redesign - especially a clean, attractive main page - on the other hand, would help a lot.

Having that design blend in with the wiki would be a definite plus as well. The bugtracker... well, I really don't care that much about the layout as long as I can work with it quickly.

Quote
Do you think that modern images / graphics / design should be adapted to make it feel more up to date?
What is "it"? If you mean the website: sure.
If you mean the Lazarus IDE: no.

The "many windows" thing you saw is at least partly due because of incomplete docking support. All it takes is people to dive into the source code and start fixing things. If people are really interested in that, they'll do so. If they're not, they'll talk about it [1] ;)

[1] Not directed at you, nsunny, you're already contributing with your design etc, but it's a general phenomenon on the forum/mailing lists.

Quote
Do you think that new graphics could interest more users to use Lazarus?
Not really, no.
Want quicker answers to your questions? Read http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/Lazarus_Faq#What_is_the_correct_way_to_ask_questions_in_the_forum.3F

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exdatis

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2013, 12:02:02 pm »
In my opinion, no!

chrnobel

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2013, 12:39:58 pm »
Also IMO, the answers are: no, no, no.

Firstly it makes no difference in the number of active users to make changes for changes sake - it is more important that there continuous progress, and to avoid to many compatibility issues from version to version - there is nothing more annoying than facing a lot of broken dependencies when opening an older project.

Secondly, what is "modern"?

Is it "modern" when Microsoft create their horrible counterintuitive "modern UI"?

And in Linux the docking problem is negligible, eg. I do have 8 desktops, so for every instance of Lazarus I am having open, I use a separate desktop - and other desktops for browser, SQL admin, mail, etc.

typo

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2013, 12:42:35 pm »
@nsunny
Do not bother with opinions contrary to what you are saying. Your ideas are good, although a bit arrogant. You think like a designer. People here are very proud of the technical quality of Lazarus and are conservative about it. Be constructive, make a concrete proposal and let people choose.

BigChimp

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 01:13:48 pm »
I do agree with what typo says: if you let yourself be distracted by everybody's opinion, you'll never get things done.

Best to take everybody's input, but create a total design/prototype that can then be evaluated as a whole by the people that make the decisions.

That said, I'm almost sure you already know what I said and just wanted to get more input. That's fine ;)
Want quicker answers to your questions? Read http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/Lazarus_Faq#What_is_the_correct_way_to_ask_questions_in_the_forum.3F

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JJVillamor

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2013, 01:42:08 pm »
I do find your question a bit general and difficult to answer. What  graphics or changes? you mentioned "website, setup image, splash screen or in any other form" so are you referring to cosmetic changes to make the site and Lazarus more attractive and not the GUI?

I do feel that Lazarus looks a bit "old" but whether cosmetic changes to the site or Lazarus screens/forms will help and by how much will certainly depend on what the changes are. A good change will certain attract more attention but serious users will look much deeper.

As suggested, maybe some concrete suggestions will help give direction to the thread.

jwdietrich

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 02:07:22 pm »
@jwdietrich:
In the absence of professional designers, we have to make do with what we have, I think.

@BigChimp:
You are absolutely right. I only wanted to say that it is a difficult task to implement a design that makes both an impression to be up-to-date and to be tasteful, modest, elegant and expressing some continuity. Currently we will not be able to engage a professional designer.

I do find your question a bit general and difficult to answer. What  graphics or changes? you mentioned "website, setup image, splash screen or in any other form" so are you referring to cosmetic changes to make the site and Lazarus more attractive and not the GUI?

I do feel that Lazarus looks a bit "old" but whether cosmetic changes to the site or Lazarus screens/forms will help and by how much will certainly depend on what the changes are. A good change will certain attract more attention but serious users will look much deeper.

As suggested, maybe some concrete suggestions will help give direction to the thread.

@JJVillamor:
I agree with your statements. In some points a slight modernization may be beneficial, in others it wouldn't.
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JuhaManninen

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2013, 02:17:07 pm »
I do agree with what typo says: if you let yourself be distracted by everybody's opinion, you'll never get things done.

Uhhh!
Up to a point that is true. Now however nsunny should care about opinions of other people.
He clearly thinks he has created a masterpiece with his page design. All his ideas are better than anybody else's. All his graphics are better than graphics created during the 12 years of Lazarus development.

I personally enjoy the Lazarus splash screen, even after looking at it many many times.
The new big cat face staring at me would get me pissed off after few weeks.
A sign of a good design is that it does not jump on your face.
The same happens with music or movies. There are some "good" pieces that you want to hear/see max. 2 times, but for the real good ones there is no upper limit. They always feel good.

Now the fact is that nsunny's page design is visually rather poor. Partly it is butt-ugly.
Almost all the boxes have a different color and they appear to be picked randomly from a color palette.
I don't see any "design" in this color scheme.
The page is cluttered with partially redundant bullet points. For example "Cross platform" is listed twice on the main page and then again in Features page.
IDE screenshots on a main page are a worn-out idea, used already millions of times. We could do better.
Besides the screenshots are so small that they give no information for anyone.
[Edit:] I meant screenshots in the top header bar. Elsewhere on the main page there could be some, although a dedicated page is better.

Many programmers are poor in visual design. nsunny is clearly no exception there.

There is a saying in my country: "A moped escaped from his hands." meaning that he lost control of the situation.
This is now happening to nsunny.
He is so much in love with his own desing that it blurs his view of reality.

nsunny, I still want to co-operate with you but let's take a short break now.

Juha
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 09:03:43 pm by JuhaManninen »

Martin_fr

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2013, 03:09:54 pm »
At first, the situation on docked window layout has nothing to do with the rest of this. It is more a technical issue, and not at all a decision made by anyone.

It needs to be implemented. And that is known. And it is agreed.

Once it is, it will need to be decided, on what will be default. There are (and not too few) people who prefer the old style. But that decision must wait until the technical part is done. Only decision taken so far is, that the current none finished solutions will not be made default.

---------------------

What is modern?

Are curved lines (as seen in many Microsoft logos) modern?
Why? Because MS uses them?

Why should our cheetah an a column be "not modern"?
- Maybe because we used it for a long time now? Can't be, many companies use a logo (without change) for a very long time. (I haven't seen any apple logo with a 2nd bite-mark yet).
- Maybe because of it's content (ancient pillar)? At any time modern art has depicted ancient subjects. And just to say: An "apple" is even more ancient. It is documented to be one of the things known to the first humans (see Adam and Eve).

So what then makes the current splash screen "not modern"?

--------------------
Should we not first and foremost ask: What do we want to archive with an item (webpage, logo, splash-screen)?

For the web-page, we must archive to present certain information (and it is the information that should stand out, not the color). The old wed page (main/front page) did not convey much of that info. So it must be replaced.

A logo (and a splash screen) act more as a symbol. Something you see and immediately identify with the product.

Well a splash screen does have a certain amount of space to also provide information. But just to change the logo or the color of it, will not add that information.

----
There is the argument of indicating change by changing the logo or splash screen.

Now this has nothing to do with "modern", but with "change".

Of course new users would not see the change, because they do not know the old one.
And existing users, will be more interested in the actual changes and improvements of the product.

And even if such change was done, it had to be done very subtle and in small steps. So that the established symbols would remain recognizable (this is important).
Microsoft has done that with the windows startup logo. It changed over the years, but in small steps, and the center piece (the 4 colors) always stayed there.

So if we were discussing change, towards something that in the subjective opinion of some, may be more modern, then that could be something like adding a shadow, or a 3d effect, while otherwise keeping the existing image. (No, I would not vote for that neither, but just as an example)




BigChimp

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2013, 03:35:53 pm »
Totally agreed with what martin_fr said...
Want quicker answers to your questions? Read http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/Lazarus_Faq#What_is_the_correct_way_to_ask_questions_in_the_forum.3F

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jwdietrich

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2013, 04:26:54 pm »
The only picture that I would change is the "Produced with Lazarus" logo at http://www.freepascal.org/pic/lazarus_produced_logo.gif. Its style resembles the first web pages from the early 90ies.
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nsunny

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2013, 07:16:59 pm »
I do find your question a bit general and difficult to answer. What  graphics or changes? you mentioned "website, setup image, splash screen or in any other form" so are you referring to cosmetic changes to make the site and Lazarus more attractive and not the GUI?
Yes, the cosmetic changes. I have edited the question to explicitly mention that.

(I will keep silent, for now, by not affecting your judgement. I will not present any further logic until you finish expressing your opinion. Thanks.)
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Martin_fr

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Re: Do you agree that Lazarus needs modern graphics?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2013, 07:19:30 pm »
The only picture that I would change is the "Produced with Lazarus" logo at http://www.freepascal.org/pic/lazarus_produced_logo.gif. Its style resembles the first web pages from the early 90ies.

Well that can probably be discussed. There are a few options that do not break with the identity preservation.

- One could use the same logo, but a uniform blue background, remove or change the frame.
- It could be done based on the paw. as an alternative logo.

---
I don't think we ahave any definition of the "Lazarus identity". We have all (or most) of the elements needed.
- we have logos (certainly enough and established)
- we have some colors (blue from splash)
- not sure if we have a font...
- missing things like logo/font size relations.