Evolution’s in need of a bit of love in the UI department. Express is definitely a step in the right direction, but things need to be taken further. The interface still feels bulky and old fashioned. It often doesn’t get feedback quite right, and user interaction isn’t always able to flow in the way it should.
I recently set about developing some designs for how Evolution could be improved. Such an important GNOME app needs to look great and work well, particularly for the bright 3.x days that lie ahead. Here’s some of what I’ve come up with so far. (Click on the images to view them full size.)
This design advocates a much cleaner UI than what Evo has at present. There’s dramatically less visual noise, with fewer icons, buttons and controls. I’ve even managed to eliminate whole toolbars. This makes the UI feel a lot lighter and gives the user less mental work to do. It also helps to highlight the really useful functionality that’s there. And it’s better suited to small and widescreen displays.
The use of utility windows has been dramatically reduced so that users will be presented with fewer interruptions. Feedback has been rationalised: there’s less of it where you don’t want it, and more of it where you do.
User interaction is improved through the use of inline replies, status and progress indicators.
The composer design has been streamlined. It also has a much refined layout (notice how interaction flows from the top-left to the bottom-right window corner).
All in all, these designs set out a vision for a smarter, cleaner, modern looking Evolution. Feedback and discussion are, as always, welcome. More details can be provided if anybody would like them.