Symbian^4 Whats New

Symbian Foundation released some key documents today, about the next Symbian^4 Operating system. Documents are available at the  developer website,  you can get a number of documents relating to the Orbit and Direct UI proposals that make up a major part of the changes in Symbian^4.

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These proposals offer a glimpse of what the Symbian^4 UI may look like and explain some of the key UI layout and design changes. Symbian are looking for the community’s feedback, comments and questions about the proposals. Read on for more details and illustrations.

The S^4 user interface primary objective is to simplify the S60 user experience by:

–       renewed layouts (see Butterfly Diagram below)

–       context menu support for list items

–       flattened command distribution with elimination of ‘tunneling’ Options commands

–       Applications Library replaces Main Menu

–       four user-facing libraries: Contacts, Music, Photos, Applications

–       Homescreen supports irregularly shaped Homescreen widgets, free placement of Homescreen widgets, and improved move and delete functions for Homescreen widgets

–       guidelines for autosaving content reduce Save commands

–       improved task switcher minimizes Exit commands and provides improved visual access to backgrounded ‘continuous experience’ applications (e.g., music playback, active call, etc.)

–       prompts to users minimized

–       redesigned Control Panel and settings/personalization information architecture

–       refocused Power menu includes master volume and vibra on/off controls

–       interaction and layout patterns applied to all applications :Symbian Development Blog

The basic layout of the UI is being simplified. Rather than hanging all commands of an ‘Options’ menu the new UI will include a toolbar (with up to four items) at the bottom of the screen, thus placing first order commands (most frequently used) directly on screen when a user first opens an application. Second order commands will be accessed via a drop down menu that is part of a reword title bar at the top of the screen (see screenshots below). Commands can also be accessed via context menu, which appear following a long press (e.g. list item -> long press -> context menu -> delete).

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