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Re: SEUL: If you need an help

Lorenzo De Tomasi wrote:
> I'm a student of graphic design and design of interfaces at Politecnico
> di Milano (Italy).
> If you want I can help you to create graphics  (logo, icons, cursors,
> poiters, etc) and interaction for a new operating system or program interface
> based
> on Linux...
> I have some ideas for a good and simple interaction...
I held off answering to see if anyone else would ask for your help. 
Here on SEUL we've talked occasionally about a website redesign, but
we've never made a determined effort to do such a redesign.  The
seul-edu section, where I'm most active, has three or four people
working on a redesign of just its section right now.  Personally, I
wouldn't like to see seul-edu and the overall SEUL site become very
different in design.  I know you didn't talk specifically about website
design, but it might be worthwhile to discuss it.  Should such a
discussion take place here, or on seul-pub-www?

You also mentioned new user interfaces.  We've discussed this
occasionally on seul-edu.  Since our focus is on education, we're
especially interested in easy user interfaces that would be suitable for
younger children.  I've been pushing the idea of expandable UIs for
standard programs like the GIMP or AbiWord (those are just examples)
that could present simple, easy to use interfaces to younger children. 
These interfaces could gradually be enriched as the users become more
proficient in using the programs, until they were using the full power
of the program.  The idea was to not have some crippled or simplified
children's wordprocessor or graphics program, but to have the children
work from the start with some subset of the capabilities of real
programs.  Of course, the idea that we would only need to develop
alternate UIs and not the full programs has some appeal too.

We have also discussed the need on Linux for a non-serious-programmer
authoring tool that would give similar functionality to HyperStudio
(that's the authoring tool that most US educators are familiar with). 
We've had some discussions about MetaCard with one of the principals
there (It looks quite useful to me.  It's not Open Source, which
bothered some of our members, but their licensing programs for
educational institutions seemed quite reasonable), we've contacted the
Boxer folks about developing a Linux port (they're interested, but don't
have the resources to do it themselves at the moment), and we've
contacted the Squeak people about their system.  Squeak is a development
of SmallTalk.  One of their stated goals is to have a user interface to
Squeak that is useable for everyone from young children to professional
programmers.  That sounds much like our expandable UI concept.  One of
our members, Ray Olszewski, will be meeting with the Squeak development
team in late November to discuss how seul-edu and Squeak can work
together to further each group's goals.  I'm sure we could use some more
insight into UIs before that meeting occurs.  I've tried to get a
discussion going over on the seul-edu mailing list, but without much
success.  Please consider joining that mailing list by filling out the
small form at <http://www.seul.org/edu/> and then contributing to the

We haven't done much if anything about the expandable UI concept due to
having too many ideas and not enough coders, but if you find it
interesting we'll be happy to talk about setting up some
proof-of-concept test using whatever program seems easiest to put an
alternate UI on.

Doug Loss                 The difference between the right word and
Data Network Coordinator  the almost right word is the difference
Bloomsburg University     between lightning and a lightning bug.
dloss@bloomu.edu                Mark Twain