When we announced Ubuntu for phones on the 2nd January, we also had a call for volunteers to help create the core applications that would be part of the platform. Like any phone OS we need to provide a calendar, calculator, email, social media apps and more. Ubuntu has long been an open community project and we wanted to work with our community from the outset to work on a set of apps that we can all be proud of.
To do this we included a form on developer.ubuntu.com and asked interested Qt/QML developers to fill it in if they were interested in participating. In just a few days we had over 1500 people fill in the form, expressing tremendous interest in being part of these projects and making an awesome Ubuntu phone platform.
We then finalized our list of apps that we think we need and then reached out to the most experienced of these volunteers and broke them into teams, with one team per application (these teams are fairly small, we couldnt use everyone who volunteered, but we will be having an Ubuntu Phone App Showdown in future, so stay tuned!)).
For each of the applications we then worked on some user stories and functional requirements to deliver the core functionality in each of these apps and documented them on the Ubuntu wiki. These applications are all available here.
Call For Design
So, we have a good set of developers assigned for each app, but we would like to invite our community to contribute design ideas for each of these apps. We have already defined a set of user stories and functional requirements, and for each app we have also defined a set of the core screens and functionality that we will need design for. We would like to invite you wonderful designers out there to contribute your design ideas, and these ideas can provide food for thought for the developers.
To do this we are using the popular Balsamiq online mock-ups tool, and the Balsamiq folks have very generously provided an Ubuntu MyBalsamiq site where all of these designs can be storied, commented on, and refined. As such, you can contribute your designs there and then link them to the wiki page for the application the design is for.
A while back I asked Ivo Weevers, head of the design team at Canonical, for a set of design guidelines for these contributed designs to follow, but unfortunately his team has not had the time to deliver this yet, but we do have a simple set of overall design suggestions we would like to ask you to follow as well as some example designs that you can use to match your work to.
If you would like to contribute some designs, simply pick one of the following apps and follow the instructions on the page:
- Email Client
- RSS Feed Reader
- File Manager
- Document Viewer
If you don’t want to contribute a design but would like to offer input on the existing designs, simply click on the designs submitted on the wiki page and you use the comments box on the MyBalsamiq site to provide your feedback. I would like to also encourage you folks to share your designs on your blogs, on the Ubuntu Reddit, on social media, and other places!
Obviously not all designs will ultimately be implemented, but the goal here is to primarily provide a great opportunity for the best designs that match the design ethos of the Ubuntu phone to bubble to the surface.
All of the applications we are working on here have Launchpad projects set up and the code will be publicly available and Open Source from the beginning. We are currently working on a base template project to land in each trunk for the development teams to get started from.
There will definitely be other opportunities for contributing in the future (e.g. icon design, QA, testing), but for now we are focusing on the design and development phase. Stay tuned!
Keeping In Touch
To other members of the Ubuntu for phones community, be sure to join the #ubuntu-phone IRC channel on freenode and you can join the mailing list. I will also be providing regular updates on this work on my weekly Q+A videocast every Wednesday at 7pm UTC on Ubuntu On Air.