A glimpse at the future of Kontact Touch Mail

Kontact Touch was the one application that stood out when I tried Plasma Active for the first time. But not in a good way. It looked alien, the interaction was different from the other touch optimized applications and it just felt flawed. Custom buttons and other UI components, slide out context menus, widget based dialogs and a weird bar at the top show clearly that this application was not designed for Plasma Active.

Kontact Touch was written at a time when QtQuick was brand new which explains the custom UI elements that had to be build because there were no standard components. The target was an N900 like device with a small 3.5 ” screen compared to Plasma Actives minimal target of 7 “. It was designed to offer all the features of the desktop version on this small touchscreen and it does, which is its biggest problem.

My (GSoC) job this summer is to make Kontact Touch Mail a true Plasma Active application by reworking the user experience and porting it to Plasma Components in the process.

I believe it is nearly impossible to take all the features of a complex application suite like Kontact and support them equally on a (small) touchscreen without getting a flawed user experience. Therefore I will “reduce” features.

This is more about prioritizing and prominently supporting workflows, that are likely to occur on tablets/mobile devices while other workflows can still be possible but will not be as convenient. Some other features that don’t make sense on a mobile device might also have to go. Take a look at this wiki page if you want to know what’s planed in detail. I guess you want to see how it is going to look so here is a little mockup for you:

Reducing features for a better user experience is not really what one would expect to happen with a KDE application. What’s your take on this?

Hello Planet KDE!

Hey there,

this is my first blog and it will appear on Planet KDE if I did everything right.  My name is Mike and I am one of the lucky ones who made it into GSoC this year. I will work on Kontact Touch Mail but more about my project in another post.

I want to thank the organizers of GSoC in KDE and everyone who helped with my proposal. The whole application process was well structured, the documentation was great and I got a tone of helpful and constructive feedback. So to everyone involved: You rock!

Let’s have a great and productive summer (of code)