Count me as interested. I've very happy to run into this thread, or I would have started it myself.
I have a few comments about the UI, but I'm not sure if it's the direction you all are headed in, so take these with a grain of salt. Just replacing "Basic" with prettier buttons is a nice idea, as I think that Basic needs a bunch of work, but I wonder what the "problem space" is for a NewBasic skin is? Here is a small list of things I don't really care for in Basic:
- The color. I wish you could select a color (or four) for the base, and have a script auto-gen the highlight, dark-light, and text color based on that. It might be hard to code, but it would make users able to "own" the UI a little. SVG might make this a little easier, as SVG files are text and can be changed via scripts
- The text. Linux is getting much better at things like kerning and AA text generation. If we are already using the alpha channel for UI2, why not have subpixel text rendering? It's not like the MD's have to do this is real time, it's all pre-rendered, right?
- The fact that the pop-up menus cover the media
- And lastly, the static nature of the UI2.
Now, static icons makes PERFECT sense with "UI1" and orbiter touchpads, but for UI2 I'm not convinced. Both Microsoft MCE & the PlayStation 3's XMB use movable menus so your eyes don't have to move, your menu does. That way, you can focus on one area and move the menus to your focus point. The media selection screens use movable lists, which I believe most people like. It reminds me of selection lists on the iPhone a little, but built for a remote.
Finally, there are some other UI memes out there that I've grown to love. I really enjoy TiVo's context based color menus. Red main menu, green for your media selection, purple in some other sections. It's simple and it gives you a sense of where you are in menus. I'm not saying we have to go this route, but I'm just throwing ideas out there. The Security & Lighting menus don't do the same job as the media intensive ones, so why not give them a slightly different "look" with the same "feel" with something as simple as a different color?
What I would like to know from the readers of this thread is what _problems_ people have with Basic, and maybe we can re-skin Basic with some minor corrections to fix what most people feel is deficiencies with the Basic skin (like text not fitting into buttons). Doing a re-skin job with backend coding done for things like text rendering and possibly a move to include the possibility of SVG would really help out tschak909's goal of getting a pretty NewBasic out there and would drive big improvements to his goal #2 and #3.
So post your problems, pet peeves, and quirks and lets see if we can all make a better experience for everyone!