Wed 22 Jan 2014 11:35PM

Should diaspora* jump into the "flat trend" bandwagon?

M maliktunga Public Seen by 192

It's everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, even your good ol' Hotmail and iOS have gone flat.

Advantages :
* Minimalist : looks straightforward and "content first"
* Readability : There's less clutter and more contrast between the background and the text
* Speed : Not depending on any image, it loads faster.

Disadvantages :
* Originality : it feels bare-bones for some
* Familiarity : it feels cold and unwelcoming for some

This is basically a philosophical question about Diaspora's direction : should it become a minimalist emotion-less communication tool or a cozy social hub?


theradialactive Thu 23 Jan 2014 10:22AM

I would really like to see a new design. But if we do this, we should have a really big feature going along with it, like chat or groups. Why? Because redesigns are what the tech news and blogs want to see and talk about. If new features come with the new design it, diaspora could get more publicity.


Michael Engelhardt Thu 23 Jan 2014 2:56PM

I would really appreciate a fresh design for diaspora* . Being a bit more clean and eye-candy might attract new users as well. Probably it should go along with some usability changes as recent discussions seem to prove there is lot of space for clarification and improvement.


Steffen van Bergerem Thu 23 Jan 2014 3:20PM

IMO bootstrap is a good start for a "fresh design". Let's port even more stuff in diaspora* to bootstrap and improve the usability when doing that.


Steffen van Bergerem Thu 23 Jan 2014 3:24PM

(The single post view, the sign in / sign up page and the conversations have already been ported to bootstrap)


Flaburgan Thu 23 Jan 2014 5:45PM

The actual design is pretty good and we have many work to do, so this is clearly not a priority, but as Steffen said, porting the view to bootstrap will update them.


Seth Martin Thu 23 Jan 2014 6:36PM

I really like the current design of diaspora*. It's very clean and easy to understand. Bootstrap is badly needed since the mobile view is unpleasant and doesn't work with the size of most peoples fingers.


goob Thu 23 Jan 2014 7:15PM

Diapsora has a lovely clean design. I wouldn't object to other designs/views being created as options that a user could enable if they wanted, but I wouldn't want the default design to be changed, especially for the sake of changing it or for the sake of doing what other websites are doing.

As Flaburgan says, there are far more important things to focus on at the moment.


Sean Tilley Thu 23 Jan 2014 9:56PM

I really wouldn't have a problem with a cleaner look. Really, all you'd have to do is port Diaspora over to Bootstrap 3, which has a great clean, minimalistic design.


goob Thu 23 Jan 2014 10:00PM

There's definitely scope for cleaning up the right-hand column, although I'm not sure that's what this proposal is about. And I'm planning to work on a new design for the default landing and sign-up pages.


Steffen van Bergerem Thu 23 Jan 2014 10:18PM

@seantilleycommunit I also thought about porting to Bootstrap 3 but it looks like we would have to update rails_admin to 0.6.0 first which needs Rails 4. In the meantime porting to Bootstrap 2 seems to be a good idea. ;-)


maliktunga Thu 23 Jan 2014 10:44PM

@seantilleycommunit If Loomio is based on Bootstrap 3, then I love it.

@goob Good idea, I think it is best to tweak one thing at a time, but do it well. I personally think the Sign In page is Diaspora's best design feat so far (even though it's not really 'flat') The header should be the next thing. Especially on the pages in which the "Sign in" link has kept a HTML link look.


Steffen van Bergerem Thu 23 Jan 2014 11:50PM

@gillesphilippemori Loomio is based on Bootstrap 2, Bootstrap 3 is even better :-P


Alberto Aru Thu 23 Jan 2014 11:52PM

You can allways create a skin: http://userstyles.org/styles/browse?search_terms=diaspora

I like diaspora design and I don’t like flat, is boring.


Jason Robinson Sat 25 Jan 2014 3:15PM

Flat sucks.


Xophael Mon 27 Jan 2014 1:02AM

Since I hate fashion, I'm all for custom styles. That doesn't mean we can't have a trendy, attractive default one. Flat sucks, yes, but if it's what's needed to catch potential newcomers, why not? Hope it won't linger for too long...


Ryuno-Ki Fri 7 Feb 2014 10:49PM

Custom Styles can be achieved with Stylish (like @albertoaru proposed). Maybe it's even useful to show some ideas.

For me, flat design isn't that attracting. We have to think about, wether it fits diaspora*. Is it in line with the message we want to send?

Otherwise we would have to follow everyyear's trend. Not very useful. Especially with our constrained designer staff in mind.

But I'm for "Content First". And I guess, this is doable without applying a flat design.

Especially on wide screens (you know, desktop PCs or working stations with a second screen) there's lot of blank space :-S


Robin Stent - Outreach Sun 9 Feb 2014 2:57PM

I don't understand what you mean by "flat" perhaps you could explain further or provide some links?


Pablo Cúbico Fri 11 Apr 2014 9:22AM

Hi! I work as a visual and UX designer, please let me contribute with my point of view.

I think the way the question was formulated is pretty biased.

Flat design is a trend, as thin fonts right now, or just as any other trend (remember "Web 2.0 glossy buttons"), you can follow a trend and be unique, just don't copy others.

As a trend, it can be emotion-less or not. What makes a design cozy? That's a challenge for the designer to play with.

When you say "it feels cold/unwelcoming/barebones for some" I think you are expressing an opinion. A client recenly asked me to change their whole site to "flat" because the current one looked to "heavy". That's the way trends affect people.

Opinion is subjective and not so good for user experience. The real factual disadvantage of flat design is that it loses visual hierarchy: users sometimes don't know what is clickable and what not, because a button ends up being just a colored square.

But that's not even a problem of flat design, it was a problem of Windows Metro UI mostly (Windows 8), that went too far.

In art, all trends tend to go to far, and then step back a little, if they are real trends. Flat is a real trend, glossy buttons not so much. What makes flat a trend is that it has a backing philosophy: content first.

So, flat was good in introducing that concept. That's it's contribution to the design world.

In order to have an updated look, you have to follow trends a little.

I would go with something more modern, cleaner, but not-so-flat. I like to have some volume in my buttons.

Current design looks a little old, I have to say, that's just the way things are in this crazy web era, 2 years old is old. 4 years is ancient history.

I think the problem with the current design is not cleanliness, it's that it should be more solid, consistent, and that should be achieved with consistent margins, paddings, font sizes, borders. Bootstrap will provide a better foundation for that.

I think the next challenge will be to come up with a design that looks more modern, but unique, rock-solid and appealing to new users. Any designer can log in into the site and immediately notice that it needs a more solid visual language. I think that's the next challenge, flat or not.


williammouck@hushmail.com Sun 20 Apr 2014 5:08PM

I agree with @goob @hola @ryunoki


williammouck@hushmail.com Sun 20 Apr 2014 6:06PM

Do whatever you want as far as initial user style experience is concerned just possibly highlight that it's called style options and we have them. It's the core of free software make whatever push it out there to the first time and seasoned and it eventually takes.


williammouck@hushmail.com Sun 20 Apr 2014 6:07PM

Theme's of experience are the past to be kept and developed further more for the future. who knows when the next blockbuster computer movie is going to come out and everyone will want to have there computer imitate that style.


Poll Created Sun 20 Apr 2014 6:22PM

Should Diaspora Just Bank Users Based on Decentralization and Utility functions and not a centrally manifest Style of presentation Closed Sun 15 Jun 2014 6:37AM

by Jonne Haß Tue 25 Apr 2017 5:52AM

The proposal is too confusing and was blocked.

-Agree: Yes I would like to showcase Decentralization and code utility as separate from presentation. in belief that more people will be in honest effort of usable fun diaspora promotion as opposed to large scale evil forces making diaspora look like a unworking ugly mess and marketing it to the masses.

-Disagree: No I believe this will fracture a user style agreement system. placing some at a disadvantage for not having as efficient or mind alteringly perfect system to work with. I don't think the diaspora community is large enough for use to create a custom tailor trade of people doing clothes and diaspora style configurations.


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 15.0% 6 T PH MK A WI LU
Abstain 30.0% 12 JH BC M IGM SM R JL R FL R DF J
Disagree 17.5% 7 PG J N V DB AA K
Block 37.5% 15 JR D L TS KAK V JS A J D DU VD Q PC D

40 of 291 people have voted (13%)


Sun 20 Apr 2014 6:24PM

I hope I wrote this proposal right?


Karthikeyan A K
Mon 21 Apr 2014 7:13AM

Common we already have a design, why stir a pond just because boostrap has changed?


Frode Lindeijer
Mon 21 Apr 2014 5:33PM

Diaspora's design should be simple and mainly shaped by it's content.
I'm uncertain what is considered flat and what isn't. Diaspora's design seems flat enough as it is.


Jonne Haß
Tue 22 Apr 2014 5:17PM

This proposal makes no sense and I will create a follow up proposal to ignore it.


Pablo Cúbico
Thu 24 Apr 2014 7:13PM

I think this is more a poll than a proposal, or I don't get which action should be taken after agreement/disagreement.


Seth Martin
Thu 24 Apr 2014 9:35PM

Add me to the "I don't understand this proposal list".


Jason Robinson
Fri 25 Apr 2014 6:22AM

Sorry don't understand, please rephrase :)


Fri 25 Apr 2014 12:54PM

I don't understand the question (language barrier).


Juan Santiago
Fri 25 Apr 2014 11:22PM

Now I understood the proposal and change my vote, drafting of the matter is somewhat confused, if I agree to separate content from appearance. Is that the specific proposal?


Trolli Schmittlauch
Tue 29 Apr 2014 6:42PM

I understand neither the question nor the options, please rephrase it.


Vivian Darkbloom
Wed 30 Apr 2014 2:27AM

I think this question needs to be restated as the original poster does not present the issue in an unbiased manner. Moreover, the poll options are not clear and clouded with loaded language.


Juan Santiago
Wed 30 Apr 2014 3:51AM

I think you should write the proposal again, many community members do not understand.

Honestly. though I understand the proposal and agree I must block until everything is clear. sincerely


Mon 5 May 2014 7:40AM

English is not my native language and I cannot state an opinion on this overly complicated and cluttered proposal that I don't understand. Keep it simple...


Ivan Gabriel Morén
Sat 17 May 2014 1:10PM

I think I got what the proposal means and where I stand, but it's very cluttery.


Sun 18 May 2014 12:47PM

as Jason Robinson already said Sorry don't understand, please rephrase :)) I have no clue on what to vote o0n here. So VETO!


Tue 27 May 2014 12:42PM

This is not clear to me.


Mon 2 Jun 2014 7:28PM

I don’t understand this proposal too.


[deactivated account]
Thu 5 Jun 2014 4:20PM



Fri 13 Jun 2014 5:50PM

I am not sure what is being suggested.


Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:09AM



Balasankar C
Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:14AM

Happy to know that I'm not the only one who didn't understand this proposal...


Sat 14 Jun 2014 8:32AM

The proposal is illegible and lacks some conjugated verbs.


Juan Santiago Mon 21 Apr 2014 8:21AM

I think it's better to publish an API for skins developing and each pod, can make decisions about your using the default template, modify, create one or borrow.

I only ask of God that the default template is kept light.


goob Mon 21 Apr 2014 9:38AM

I'm afraid I don't understand this proposal at all.


Pablo Cúbico Mon 21 Apr 2014 7:04PM

IMHO this is just an open discussion and doesn't need a proposal.


lebarjack Tue 22 Apr 2014 7:32AM

As for @goob , I don't really understand what's the deal here. Can you be more clear?


Rasmus Fuhse Wed 23 Apr 2014 7:27AM

This is basically a philosophical question about Diaspora’s direction : should it become a minimalist emotion-less communication tool or a cozy social hub?

I guess we should choose both directions. Even today we got a lot of pods that customized their look and design. Once we changed to using bootstrap this should even be more easy by importing bootstrap themes.

If you want to change the default-design, that shouldn't go with a philosophical discussion but with mockups and probably with a test-server so that everyone can say what he/she doesn't like on the new design.


Pablo Cúbico Wed 23 Apr 2014 3:53PM

@rasmusfuhse I started my own pod for that purpose on Heroku, to test Bootstrap porting before merging, but I can't create an S3 account for the images, Amazon tries to do a phone call, which never happens and the validation fails... will do it on a VPS maybe next week.


Jason Robinson Fri 16 May 2014 8:08PM

Funniest vote and result in the history of d* on Loomio :D


goob Fri 16 May 2014 8:36PM

Is another month really needed for this vote? Although it's good for the comedy value I suppose.


Flaburgan Thu 5 Jun 2014 9:31AM

Let's close this proposal a reformulate everything.


goob Thu 12 Jun 2014 7:41PM

I'll miss this proposal when it's gone.


Juan Santiago Fri 13 Jun 2014 3:20AM

Do you like the discord? :)

Remember when you thought it was clean look?,
I understood it was to make it more complex, as g+, twitter, etc.

I think if the author does not clarify the proposal, only we have lost time.


Jason Robinson Fri 13 Jun 2014 5:55PM

1 day left!


jakobdee Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:13AM

it makes sense to have a barebones default presentation ... with an option to 'bolt-on' added functionalities?