Interview with Cibersheep

Interview with Joan CiberSheep

We had a little chat with Joan CiberSheep. He’s the head of the UI/UX steering committee for Ubuntu Touch.

How did you become involved in the UBports community?

I’ve been a Linux user since quite some time now. Ubuntu (Ubuntu Studio more specifically) is the distribution I moved to definitively. When I had to buy a new phone in 2014, I was considering a Project Ara block phone from Google or an Ubuntu Touch phone. The decision seemed clear, I went for a BQ Aquaris E5… and I loved it. I got interested in the operating system and its look and feel, as well as how to build apps for it. Easy trip :)

Last year you started designing a tangram mascot for every new OTA release. How do you decide which animal you choose as a mascot?

The idea of getting a mascot for every OTA seemed in line with Ubuntu’s upstream Suru design (the origami inspired design for the operating system). The first mascot actually had the same number of folds as the OTA release. Soon someone pointed out that we would get into trouble :) So I decided to go with tangram mascots. Each release has a main flavor or aspect of the operating system that’s being worked on. I try to translate that aspect into the animal it reminds me of. OTA-18 was all about the huge efforts to move to an Ubuntu 20.04 base, with steady work and improving memory usage: therefore, an elephant.

You’re the head of the UI/UX steering committee for Ubuntu Touch. What are some examples this committee is working on?

The UI/UX steering committee centers on the little details, but also on usability. We try to improve contrast colors, unify design criteria in the operating system and its core apps, and homogenize the system themes. We also check icons, get feedback from users and oversee the design and look and feel of the operating system and core apps.

You’re the developer of dozens of Ubuntu Touch apps, varying from games and puzzles to some useful tools. What’s your secret to become such a productive developer?

I started to create simple apps and got hooked on that feeling. Developing an app maybe seems like a huge task, but it doesn’t need to be. I created some apps I would like to see on my phone. With the right tools and effort it’s possible to do amazing things, as the system is open and the community is very supportive.

How can people with graphical skills or a background in UX contribute to the design of Ubuntu Touch?

Everyone has an interest in different aspects of the UX. You could check the whole system for accessibility issues: it’s important that Ubuntu Touch is accessible to everyone. We’re also open to discussions about improving the user experience. Some core apps need some love too (we’re looking to you, Clock and Notes apps). The Human interface guidelines are available in the UBports documentation and you can find the team in the Design part of the forum.

First steps in VoLTE support for Ubuntu Touch