Visual design. Discussing ideas for the future

Its been ~10 years since SFOS was introduced and not much has changed in terms of design. Obviously i am talking about the visual side of things and not about the gesture based navigation.

The whole things looks a bit dated (imo at least) and it would be good if some thing were given a new design.

So what do you thing would be in need of a refresh.


Nothing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There are far more important functionality problems to fix.


You dont want to know the opinion i have for people following this mantra.

Anyway. Its not that i don’t know the rest of the problems SFOS has. I want to have a discussion about the design.

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You asked a question, I answered it. Its hardly my problem if you don’t like the answer. If you don’t want to hear other people’s opinions, then don’t ask.


I would like to have the apps screen right in the middle like MeeGo. Getting greeted with an empty screen or everything i have open (that doesn’t look pretty for me anyway) is not the best thing.
Notification popups and badges also look very dated, out of place and not intuitive.
App icon design is also not so great visually at this day and age. Matetial-ish design or something closer to skeuomorphic, with brighter and deeper colors in general would look much better in my opinion.
Completely transparent keyboard letter borders also look very weird compared to typical key style borders.
And pulley menus really feel unintuitive in general, but the style feels very basic.

These are the first things that come to mind when i think what i would like to change.

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I can’t see any reason to change anything but few minor details. Just keep it clean and simple as is.


I fear I might get an answer like @Steve_Everett, but I’d like to say:

The first versions were much prettier than SFOS 4. First thing I do whenever I install an SFOS phone is to apply patches that make it look more like the first versions. If possible, I’d even like to have back cover actions from SFOS 1.

The unusual and (still) beautiful look is what attracts non-techie people firstly when the take up a SFOS phone, as I can tell from experience.


No, you won’t get such an answer from me as your post was completely reasonable and did not disrespect another poster (i.e me) simply because the author of this topic didn’t agree with my opinion on this matter. If a topic author invites opinions on a public forum then they should be prepared to politely listen to all opinions that are expressed, not just the ones that match their own.


Oh no, misunderstanding! I wasn’t afraid of an answer from you but an answer like the one you received!

But maybe our opinion is not wanted and possibly not relevant. Maybe the thread is directed more to people who in principal agree with the thread owner and collect ideas from those who agree. That would be OK for me and I could leave the thread.


Those details is what i want to hear about.

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Well, I should have said but maybe few minor details. Changes so small and insignificant that I don’t even remember them long enough to ask for them.


I’m also kind of on @eson’s line here. But every design is a product of its time, and to be perceived as timeless, some adjustments are pretty much unavoidable. It is better to have the discussion alive than to suddenly stand there with something that looks fresh out of 2010.

I personally wonder if the back indicator, and those light indicators in general aren’t becoming a tad bit dated.

What other mechanism could you see to allow interacting with a menu without having to reach somewhere very specific?

Mind listing the ones you find most important?

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I would like to tap somewhere specific at the bottom of the screen where I can reach without using my other hand.

Also having the app screen in the middle like i mentioned would also make room for swipe down from the middle of the screen (like the pulley now) in home screen to bring down the status bar and swipe up to bring system-wide search let’s say.
So much easier to use with these ridiculously tall Sony devices.

I don’t find it dated at all. Is there anything that looks better?

I’m not a fan of the flat look but nobody’s gone back to mock 3D have they?

Is the app browser background customisable? Some shade of black is pretty uninspiring.

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What do you mean? There is nothing two-handed about pulley menus.

But because of them I cannot have other gestures that I would like on specific pages like the Home Screen, like every other mobile OS.

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Pulley menus are only present in apps that have selected to have them. And they don’t interfere with any OS gestures, unless you seriously think an app should be expected to do without swiping on the middle of it.
The home screen has a top menu just like the other mobile OSes. (Okay, “close all” is on a pulley-menu after long-press… but still) I think it had a pulley menu waaaay back, but i honestly don’t remember. A top menu that just happens to trigger wherever is not a pulley menu (it needs the tapless interaction to count).

That is one of the nice design improvements made over the years. The top menu has way more possibilities for controls (and icons are nicer than text), than a pulley menu ever could, even if it is a bit finicky to tap-interact with. It also looks better.

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The pulleys are a fine idea. The implementations feels a bit weird to use. It somehow like the move of your finger doesn’t match the movement the pulley.

Visually the pulley indicator could be something that works on both orientations.

Something i don’t like are the dotted “bright” circles used for sliders and as the back/forward indicator on a page.

And yes as mentioned above the app icons need a bit of a refresh. The multiple shapes we have are nice but the icons themselves looked dated even in 2014.


I’m very happy with the pulley menus, they look good and are very handy. I would like to keep them in future.


The biggest issue for me is not the idea behind pulley menus, but the implementation UI-wise.
Let’s say that I want to use some option in any other OS. It’s either a button right where my finger is or a long press. Very fast usually, depending on the situation of course.

With the pulley I have 2 options.

  1. Slowly go down (or up), then slowly aim at the option and then let go of my finger.
  2. Swipe down fast and then use another hand to tap because we are using Xperia 10 series now, not the tiny jolla phone. No fast accessibility gesture doesn’t help either.

Also the accidental options that I’ve selected swiping but accidentally pulling the pulley (lol), are relatively high compared to any other gesture based UI that I’ve used.

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