MeeGo netbook is similar to, but different from, other desktop Linux operating systems. It is designed specifically for 10" or smaller screens, with Atom chips and Intel 3D graphics. Because of this tight focus it is possible to create a more pleasing experience for its users. However, this also means that existing Linux applications need some modification if they want to be at their best in this environment. The following design principles were used by the MeeGo design team themselves and should help you out in creating awesome netbook experiences.
Netbook users want to get multiple things done at the same time, but the small screen makes it difficult to do any of them justice if they're put together. Netbook applications should expect to fill the whole of the screen on their zone (in small screen mode). With the panels and zones interface allowing fluid and quick task changing and background operation.
Since this means the application is quite likely not to be visible at any time you may wish to implement a Panel to allow the user quick access to your key features, directly from the toolbar. The media player uses a panel to show a different view of the user's state, more appropriate for quickly pausing or modifying their play queue so they can switch back to what they really wanted to do.
Panel quick points:
MeeGo Netbook applications are made up of three main elements with distinct purposes. Use them well and your application will flow and zing.
Every application has a toolbar. This is where users will look first for functionality. Thanks to the less than ideal trackpads on netbooks this is quite chunky in size, but it also encompasses the functionality of a menu bar in traditional applications.
Toolbar quick points:
Sidebar quick points:
Content pane quick points:
When on a big screen, not a netbook the system will change to work more effectively. Since the context of use has changed on a larger screen, many of the comments above no longer apply. Applications should not always open to be the size of the screen (unless their design requires it), they can open in their 'natural size'. Also, openeing a new application will not automatically open a new zone (although users can still use the zones panel to manage them). Furthermore, the toolbar will be visible at all times.
Currently big screen mode is activated when the primary display is >11".
The user may attach a projector or TV to the device at any time.
They are self contained experiences and all popups should be constrained and contained within the applications window.