Let there be light or “Fiat Lux” comes from the third verse of the Book of Genesis and symbolizes the beginning of everything. Here you can check on first Gnome-Shell design prototype paper written by William Jon McCann and Jeremy Perry and published in November 14, 2009. The PDF counts 44 pages and explains the design goals of Gnome-Shell Beta.
That was the initial design and implementation of Gnome-Shell in 2009/10 and while was perfect for large screens, it was been dropped for the sake of small touch devices that seem to growing fast into the market and became the number one goal of Gnome. Just for the history the first commit in Gnome-Shell was pushed in October 31, 2008 by Owen Taylor.
Address problems of Focus, Attention, and Interruption
• Define focal and peripheral regions
• Minimize disruption and facilitate uninterrupted focus
• Reduce administrative debris
• Make it easy to visualize what I’m doing now
• Make it easy to do something new
• Make it easy to do what I do most often
• Make it easy to recall a previous activity
Address problems of Storing, Finding, and Reminding
• Avoid mental models with categories and hierarchies
• Obviate the need for explicit naming, sorting, filing, or categorizing
Manage Complexity and Encourage Flexibility
• Allow the experience to adapt to the usage
• Work as well for the user that uses only two applications and the one that uses tens on multiple workspaces
• Core concepts should scale to capabilities of devices other than “desktop” computers
• Must be usable with a touch or single button input device
• Must be usable in when rotated or resized
Delight the user
• Better default experience, more consistency, more fun!
• Coherence leads to comfort
◦ Incoherence – inconsistency – confusion – discomfort ➤ judgements of incompetence
• Promote a brand identity
• Be aesthetically pleasing
• “Quality isn’t job one. Being totally fucking amazing is job one.” gapingvoid.com
• Provide a consistent experience for all users so that knowledge may be shared and
expectations may be stable and deterministic
• Provide a few isolated but highly expressive places for personalization
- Not intended to address task-based or other high-concept, unified computing models at this time
- Not optimized for multiple concurrent users
- If possible, do not require custom “Shell-aware” applications
The document is titled ”GNOME Shell -A design for a personal integrated digital work environment” and is worth to read it even if is outdated. I don’t remember where I got it from (I have it for too long) so I uploaded it on Dropbox.