Child friendly version? (OLPC?)

Bug #170488 reported by Peepo on 2004-12-08
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description


I'd really like to have a slimmed down version with
less 'features' and large icons, designed for children.

I teach adults with learning difficulties, who are
many use symbols to communicate, and so drawing is an
important skill. These users often benefit from a
simple interface.


Tags: ui Edit Tag help
Peter Moulder (pjrm) wrote :

Can you give a more detailed specification, e.g. saying what
items should be removed from each of the toolbars / menus?

Bpfowler (bpfowler) wrote :

Is there any existing software which has features
that you like?

Perhaps such 'known good' features could be
incorporated into Inkscape for grown ups as
well as for children.

Drawing simple closed shapes?
Align centres?
Fill and stroke?

Did you every see or use MacPaint:

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

This enhancement requires a radical rethink of the interface.
It's about avoiding feature creep and honing the interface
down to the minimum.

Many web sites such as disney provide a web drawing page. is an example, though
you'll need to enter an empty room or wait your turn to see
how simple the palette and paint is. Early paint tools were
great in this respect.

SVG also needs to win the hearts and minds of people as well
as us geeks and designing intefaces for children is where
the most will be learned.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Try "seashore" a version of GIMP:
this is so nice it would be great to see a similar supported
version for inkscape.

It has a 'proper' mac interface, which is dramatically
simpler than GIMP and almost child friendly :-) furthermore
it already uses pressure sensitivity, which is a requested
enhancement for SVG. Check it out, please!

inkscape pressure sensitivity bug report:

Bug Importer (bug-importer) wrote :


Are you part of the Seashore team?

There might be some advantages in cross-fertilisation between
Seashore and Inkscape, but apart from the origins (GIMP vs
and the directions (gtkmm vs Cocoa) being very different, I
think that
you will find that Seashore is very much less mature than

Having said that, I still think that you might want to watch
your 'pre-literate' target audience using Seashore, and use that
insight to suggest features that could be added to Inkscape. I
would seriously suggest that working features, even if simple
that children would choose to use could with advantage be
adapted for use by grown ups?


Bryce Harrington (bryce) wrote :

Part of the Gtkmm work included adding a layer to allow
multiple interface types. I was thinking more about
different UI's for inkview vs. inkscape vs. inkboard vs some
future animation tool, but I could also easily see this
handling a trimmed down version with fewer features and
larger icons and so forth. So I definitely think this is
doable within the existing codebase.

Jonathan, are you interested in doing the work on
implementing this? If so, I can pass along some more
detailed directions.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :


I'd be interested to see more detailed directions, so please
post me.

I'm currently learning cocoa with a possible intention of
using clor and seashore together with inkscape and some
original stuff to create a mac specific SVG authoring tool:
code name Seascape at the current time.

However as this is a tad ambitious, time will tell.

Mgsloan-users (mgsloan-users) wrote :

This would be cool. I'm scared of feature bloat. There are
hundreds of feature requests, where i look at them and thing
"Yeah, that would be cool". But you add them up and
inkscape would be a bloated mess.

Do we really want to make the openoffice equivalent of
vector editing? (not to diss openoffice, its very nice. But
very very big, featurefull, messy as well).

Of course this is a huge argument, basically the main
difference between gnome and KDE. By supporting UI
variations we can kind of select philosophies. Simple or
full featured.

Jon A. Cruz (jon-joncruz) wrote :

I'm quite interested in this. Even if we don't support it outright, we
need to
refactor the interface anyway, and should do it in a manner that
facilitates such
UI simplification.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Start with the basics:
freestyle drawing

then work with the interface:
use large graphics

research other simple drawing applications such as: wait for your go to see the palette.
tux paint well ok this is a little complex but the sound is

then test with users

Horkana-users (horkana-users) wrote :

The OLPC developers [] would be interested
in this idea but Inkscape is too heavy for their requirements.
You should keep an eye out for efforts to port inkscape to
GPE/Maemo or other lightweight platforms as was discussed on
the devel list last month (August).
The Roadmap includes "Create a Cairo-based SVG Canvas
library" which is likely to help any other applications
which want to reuse the inkscape canvas such as other
applications like your suggested childrens version.

Bryce Harrington (bryce) wrote :

On the mailing list a few weeks ago there was a discussion
about creating an "Inkscape-Lite" for a distro called (IIRC)
Puppy Linux. We encouraged him to create a fork from an
earlier release of Inkscape before we switched to C++. That
branch may be worth investigating for establishing a
simplified interface version.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Horkana, thanks for this excellent suggestion regarding olpc
this would seem to be a really exciting and valid way to go.

I'd like to recommend a complete reconceptualisation.
eg a thread to discuss what's essential and how it might
work in terms of a GUI.

As the original SVG1.1 spec is not very accessible there has
been some discussion around creating a microformat.

this might for instance include sound and keyboard support.

I can provide substantial user testing and feedback for the
right product.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

updated concept subject to change:

simple GUI
reduced set of graphical elements
keyboard support
sound support
P2P collaboration
games to share
open source


Inkscape child
One laptop per child
jsquiggle p2p
Isketch game
Tuxpaint with sound

Early 'flash' tools v4 and earlier


Peepo (peepo) wrote :

improve RAD symbol development with opensource versions of
games such as:

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

closely related project that might help children author
metadata:  #993367 metadata: need User Interface for SVG
accessibility features

Horkana-users (horkana-users) wrote :

tweaked summary for easier searching

> As the original SVG1.1 spec is not very accessible there has
> been some discussion around creating a microformat.

there has been quite a bit of discussion about inkscape
targetting SVG Tiny, better described as SVG mobile since it
isn't particularly small and mobile users are the target

see also the mailing list archives about InkscapeLite or
Inklite which is a branch of Inkscape using only C code for
Puppy Linux.

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 22:49:57 +1000
From: Void <email address hidden>
To: <email address hidden>
Subject: [Inkscape-devel] FYI: InkscapeLite in Puppy Linux

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

together with the links there, and in particular:

represent my present understanding.

I hope to add a plain English description soon.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

An attempt to get work started on a trace facility is in a related bug:

Author animateTransform with real time GUI

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Originator: YES

Dynadraw a really exciting introduction to drawing:
os x port:
discussion on including in sodipodi

Where's the SVG version?
how to run from inkscape?

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Originator: YES

useful description of Simplifying a Polyline from hand drawing, but misses
out on splines, cubic and bezier curves.

Mgsloan-users (mgsloan-users) wrote :

Originator: NO

Peepo - you probably shouldn't use this for general questions - just stuff
on the topic.

Anyway, that dynamic draw stuff is exsctly what inkscape's caligraphy is.

Inkscape already has a nice path simplify as well as draw tool.

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Originator: YES

mgsloan: Do you have expertise with children's software?
dynadraw is distictly different from calligraphy, please try again, and if
necessary read about it elsewhere and then you can perhaps add a further

please let me know where a description of the path simlify tool is, and
where the relevant code is within the source.

please note I am the originator of this topic.


Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Originator: YES

Scratch after Lego and Squeak:

Prokoudine (prokoudine) wrote :

Originator: NO

Last thing I heard (May 2007) is that Inkscape-based application will be
used for drawing activity on OLPC

Peepo (peepo) wrote :

Originator: YES

rather than say what should be removed...
please read the whole thread, and look at tuxpaint, mspaint, sketsa or
perhaps start with comment 2006-06-13 05:51

I'd suggest a RAD process of developing a tool from new, keeping the
developers at arms length and allowing the users to control the process,
possibly mediated by usability testing.

A score or timeline might also be helpful for placing sprites or symbols.

I've not been able to trace or download Inklite, other than installing
puppylinux so cannot comment on that project.

Ryan Lerch (ryanlerch) on 2007-12-11
Changed in inkscape:
importance: Low → Wishlist
status: New → Confirmed
peepo (j-chetwynd) wrote :

This bug is blocked by

bug #222971
implement a convenient way for the author to understand and implement <svg:use>
kids love clones

bug #209199
title: dialogue on save
introduce accessibility & implement spec.

peepo (j-chetwynd) wrote :

This bug is blocked by

bug #231295
symbol and use, not copy and paste.

bug #231296
GUI that separates style
introduce separation of presentation from content.

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