The OLPC User Interface Revealed
November 24, 2006 6:13 PM
The XO Frame and Desktop
Very simplistic word processor
Web browser is Firefox
OLPC interface simple but lacks enthusiasm
More updates have been released on the OLPC XO machine which has yet to be fully deployed in any country but is still going forward.
The XO machine itself
is already commencing production in China, and the project is on its way to be test-deployed across several countries. Despite all the recent news about the XO however,
the user interface remained at large, until now
A video on YouTube revealed the Linux-based XO machine to have somewhat of a clean interface, although perhaps too clean. The interface is comprised of two main parts, the desktop and the "frame." The frame is the main interface mechanism for applications and system navigation, which appears around the edges of the screen. From the frame, an XO user can launch a word processor, messaging client, web browser and a host of other applications and games.
At first, navigating the system seemed to be quite user friendly, but some applications appeared to be toned down in terms of usability. The word processor for example, was very simplified and it did not appear like tables, charts, and other more advanced elements could be created. Basic text formatting and page formatting functions were available but other than that, the application seemed sparse. Despite the simplicity, the target audience for the XO may not ever require more features.
The web browser that the system uses is Firefox, and appeared to work quite fast. Most web browsing controls appeared in tact although it's unclear whether the system has much in terms of storage capacity for downloads. Other things included with the system include a number of typical games such as chess and a version of Minesweeper.
With initial first impressions, the user interface appeared simple and easy to use. Considering that the XO is targeted towards young school kids however, the interface appeared to be cold and lacked any sort of color coding. Almost everything is black and white, which makes the machine appear more like a simple terminal than an actual user friendly computer.
previously reported that
Thailand backed out of the OLPC project
despite being one of the first countries that expressed interest. Representatives from Thailand mentioned to reporters that it was considering developing its own OLPC-like project. On a positive note, Brazil is now expressing interest in the XO, but the country has not yet released a confirmed order.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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