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Where is Jolla heading?

asked 2018-12-06 14:00:20 +0300

sepuka gravatar image

updated 2018-12-06 14:28:52 +0300

Hi all, I'm sorry for longer post but I wanted to give you some background to my question(s) at the end. Also I'm sorry for my English, I'm not a native speaker.
I'm Sailfish user basically since the beginning of the Jolla 1, I ordered my device as Christmas present for myself ;-) back in 2013. Do you remember the good old days of Sailfish "beta testing" when we were eagerly waiting for every release that fixed or added new functionality (e.g. long awaited copy/paste functionality)? Even though the Sailfish was far from perfect the UI felt great, it was improving every update and we could see where is Jolla going.
Then came version 2.0 and for me it was first warning. Suddenly the clean Sailfish wasn't enough for me and I had to start using patchmanager to go around some rather strange design changes. Updates that followed improved feeling from the 2.X Sailfish (maybe I got used to changes?) but they didn't fix all problems and strange design decissions.
Upgrade to Sailfish X from last year was big improvement for me and it gave a fresh blood to Sailfish user experience from my point of view. I started to look forward to Sailfish 3.0 with its promised encryption, vpn and other improvements that were announced.
Sailfish 3.0 release came and I had to say that it was big disappointment for me. Not only that promised functionalities weren't added in 3.0 (yeah I understand now how it was meant but still...) but also great Sailfish user experience feels broken to me with odd top menu implementation. Please don't get me wrong I'm not saying that top menu is bad idea, I only have problem with its implementation to which I cannot get used to even after more than month of everyday using. It almost feels like designer from android was hired to implement it without real continuity to old Sailfish.
I had to say that I'm a bit scared of what will come next. Can we look forward to new updates that will improve good old Sailfish user experience or can we expect another copy/paste from other systems with flint implementation? Actually is there any good designer (visionary) left in Jolla? Does Jolla have any long term plan for the UI?

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Also see


With regards to the UI I wrote there:

It seems to me there's nobody responsible @Jolla for UI and visual design at the moment. I don't feel the visions of a master mind behind all this.

So you are not the only one with these feelings, unfortunately.

ossi1967 ( 2018-12-06 14:20:37 +0300 )edit

While indeed in the past there was a main designer and the UI might have been overall more consistent, it always seemed to me the "grand vision" was a bit disconnected from what people actually do on their devices and how they expect them to behave.

On the other hand now it seems to me that user feedback is finally being taken into account and the UI is being adjusted to be less elegant but more usable.

MartinK ( 2018-12-06 15:43:30 +0300 )edit

@sepuka It's of course a personal preference, but I like the new top menu. Now it's:

  • Swipe vertical = always available option (apps, settings in top menu)
  • Swipe horizontal = what's going on/running (open apps, notifications, feeds)

I don't understand why there's always the comparison with Android (I've used Android as well). MeeGo Harmattan also had a drop down menu which could be activated at any time. Instead of a swipe down it was necessary to click on the upper regions of the display - but otherwise it was very similar to Sailfish 3. There were also shortcuts and instead of 'ambiences' it was called 'profiles' on the N9.

molan ( 2018-12-06 20:29:56 +0300 )edit

I have same feelings. Sailfish 3 needs some rework as also gallery application. I'm currently quite mad for this "transition to easier use/learn for new users". Simply actions is; If you like sailfish user interface you probably have motivation to learn whole sailfish operating system. If you do not like sailfish, you just use android or ios. Sailfish can't be fits everyone as also same goes other operating system.

So afterall there is no reason to change sailfish for new users. That's fact.

I just mention one thing more; if the attitude is "because people not want change user interface or just any ways want keep current style" Basically that means Innovations can't be exsist, because people are so retarded that they not think that sometimes change is good thing or alternatively they do not have imagination to think that "there is better ways to do same things" Cherry in cake, that's so funny that even most of time changes not recuire a lot of learning so no need to put a lot of effort for it.

Sorry for bad english as also poor spelling but I believe you get my speech correctly. Sure I could just think more and type more correcly but that would takes much longer to write this all speech

Jk ( 2018-12-06 21:56:49 +0300 )edit

@MartinK I don't feel it got "more usable" - and that's exactly the point. Gestures in general are "more usable" than buttons on a device that's meant to be used on the go, while walking, on a moving bus etc. Sailfish more or less invented the gesture based UI - and now that others finally follow, Jolla goes back to UI paradigms that were part of Windows 3.11 like the [X] in the upper right corner to close a - well - window. That just doesn't make any sense on a mobile device.

Also, while I don't fundamentally oppose the new top menu (I just never use it, the old "swipe to events view and pull down" is hard coded forever in my muscle memory), the fact that they totally ruined the "swipe down to close" by banning it to the outer edge of the screen leaves me speechless. A gesture is superior to a button because it doesn't matter much where you perform it. Sailfish has always stretched this to its limits by distinguishing between in-screen gestures and edge swipes, but that still worked somehow. Now, for one of the most often used gestures, I have to aim carefully and still get it wrong every other try, opening a menu I never need. (I mean, come on, how often a day do you switch off Wifi?)

A vision would be: Make it easy to use when you move around. (Jolla now lacks such a vision.) The implementation could then be: Let's try gestures. Iterations would have to find easy to use solutions for issues that people have with that but still stay faithful to the original vision.

Now, there's nothing. Recent iterations don't work, new implementations break the original vision, a new vision is nowhere to be seen. It's a Frankenstein UI now, put together from leftovers of dead SF1 and parts that escaped from a laboratory in Transylvania too early.

The whole thing, as the OP said, needs direction. A distinct set of UI elements that make the vision come true. Also, strict UI guidelines as a prerequisite for apps to be published in Harbour.

ossi1967 ( 2018-12-06 23:14:18 +0300 )edit

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answered 2018-12-07 00:50:31 +0300

Same feeling: the graphic design of Sailfish is still at 2013, while the UI design is still to SF 2 plus random, little bad changes. As example the new top menu that broke the swipe gesture with the close app gesture.

Every new change just broke the simplicity of the original N9 screen organisation.

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Yeah, compared to current implementation of Sailfish, N9 UI is way better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O5PEpA9_kY

santhoshmanikandan ( 2018-12-07 08:27:22 +0300 )edit

"Nostalgia" with the official video...

minojolla ( 2018-12-07 14:53:50 +0300 )edit

Half-breaking the swipe down to close, which apparently a single engineer had to fight really hard to get into MeeGo Harmhattan, was one of my main gripes with SailfishOS right from the start. While the fix for this that arrived was 3.0 was a fairly good one, it should honestly have come with 2.0 or earlier. The fact that you used to have to activate it from the settings just like in MeeGo would suggest the same moron who fought that engineer moved over to Jolla.

Honestly, the whole UI could use a splash of paint and not this piecemeal upgrade approach that Jolla has used with every upgrade to the UI. I was also never much of a fan of the glass-like look of the UI and much preferred the look of MeeGo Harmhattan. Not that the new UI elements don't look good, but SailfishOS could at least use having all of the UI assets re-created with the same look.

L_A_G ( 2018-12-07 16:17:13 +0300 )edit

the simplicity of N9 was nowhere close w SFOS 1.0 and is still far far away now, although now it's a bit better.

paoletto ( 2018-12-07 16:32:33 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-12-07 16:17:50 +0300

chappi gravatar image

I like the new version incl. UI. Don't know where jolla is heading but I suppose it is good when Sailfish becomes more approachable for normal users as in this way, Jolla can easier sell their ecosystem to organizations which likely consist of normal people.

For me, a statement like "Actually is there any good designer (visionary) left in Jolla?" is not valid as I prefer the new v3 version. (But I'm aware that this is subjective and I might be a minority.

AFAIU Jolla does not and cannot 'live' from us atm. They have to design for their corporate customers.

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Ofc there aren't. What good designer could come up with SFOS1.0 ui???

paoletto ( 2018-12-07 16:33:32 +0300 )edit

And like always Corporate solutions destroy innovations and ruin some nice features etc.

So it's completly safe to say that Corporate solutions are cancer for people, not everyone but for many.

Jk ( 2018-12-07 19:58:10 +0300 )edit

@Jk: Without 'Corporate solutions' afawk there would be utter total ruin, i.e. no more Sailfish. Thus keep you completly (sic) safe but wrong comment for yourself... (better yet, re-think it;))

chappi ( 2018-12-22 17:08:20 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2018-12-06 14:00:20 +0300

Seen: 1,309 times

Last updated: Dec 07 '18