Oct 7, 2009

Software Center UI suggestion

I've been working on a suggestion for the Software Center UI. I know that I'm walking on thin ice here since Matthew Paul Thomas is a interface designer ;-)

The current design

This suggestion is based on the accordion style menu. With the current design, you can't switch between "departments" without going to the main department screen. I know it's a tiny thing, but I find kind of annoying. I suggest something like this:

My accordion styled suggestion

You could argue that this UI would be unfamiliar or too complex for many users, but with everything being animated with Clutter, I'm sure the animations will make it easy to understand. This accordion concept is also very common on flash websites.

The department screen, which is displayed at startup, would not show any applications (only the departments) since no department is yet selected. This also means that you can search all departments from this screen, just like you can with the current Software Center UI (see the first screenshot above).
If you're already in the, let's say, games department, you can simply click the orange bar to return to the department screen, which would close all departments to look something like this:

My suggestion for the department screen

These mockups doesn't include all departments represented in the actual Ubuntu Software Center, since this is merely a proof-of-concept.
Please add your feedback and comments on this site or on the Software Center comments wiki.


  1. Yes! Instantly much more appealing! Not sure how feasible the gradients are at the moment, but the design team should at least be aiming for something like this.

  2. its nice but a lot of space will be needed because there is more than just 5 categories, so i it will be space vs eye candy.

    but if canonical added subtree under "Get Free Software" it will leave more space in browsing section.

    this subtree will be available only once select "Get Free Software" so more categories can be added easily.

  3. Utterly gorgeous!

    probably a bit *too* colourful to be used as a default, but it once again proves that you should be employed by Canonical as part of the design team!


    Yes, yes, and again, yes. That is totally hot.

  5. Love the look of it, but one thing, wouldn't changing the bar on the left ("Get Free Software", "Installed Software") to tabs rather than a list free up some space?

    It just seems like it's taking up too much room for such little purpose.

    Just my 2 cents worth

  6. I think that Ubuntu Software Center needs is subcategories, because the list of programs of each departament is so long.

  7. I don't like it. It's too flashy on my eyes, just keep it simple!

  8. IMO the side panel is the first thing to improve. It is such an ugly space wasting area. Once that is less lame then worry about the main content area.