ownCloud 6 Design – Making Open Source More Approachable

A big thanks to all the design contributors from the community!
ownCloud secure cloud solution for filesharing

First off, a big thanks to all the design contributors from the community!

I’m proud to see so many people contribute to design and front-end. Recently I even visited the Merz design academy in Stuttgart and worked together with students on improving ownCloud. Our open design process works really well!

The great new design starts right at the log in screen: Instead of a header bar and a bland background, we now have a beautifully simple full-color
background. The whole page completely focuses on making log-in as quick as possible.

When you are logged in, everything will feel much more relaxed. Where previously elements were crammed together and very small, there is now more breathing room. Tappable areas are increased so ownCloud is more usable on desktops and touch devices alike. Shadows and highlights have been removed where they were more visual clutter than supporting the interface. There are file thumbnails now so they are easier to tell apart.

This translates to the apps as well: If app developers use the standard app elements, they get the great new ownCloud look for free and don’t need to spend time customizing their app to make it fit nicely.

In an effort to ease workflows, we want to make elements as contextually relevant as possible. That’s why when you are an admin, the apps management now displays in the app navigation instead of the personal menu. You will see more of that in the future – or actually not see it because it just feels right.

We are committed to great defaults and forcing as few decisions to users as possible. But for when you need to change a setting, now it’s much easier and quicker to do so with an enhanced design of the Personal and Admin settings pages.

Now onwards to ownCloud 7!

If you are a designer interested in working on an important open source project with many different facets, see how to get started on our design page at


December 12, 2013

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