The idea behind Contour

What is Contour all about?

Well,  the Contour project wants to create a context-sensitive user interface. That means a UI that adapts to your current context, your current activities and your behavioral patterns. All this to create a smarter user experience that enables and helps you to fulfill your tasks more efficient and with more fun. Currently we are developing on ideapads and wetabs, but the final version is aimed to run cross-device like on tablet computers, media centers, smartphones etc.

What is the new thing about Contour?

Information + Actions = Activity

  • information on the system is connected with actions
  • the user chooses those activities instead of applications like on standard devices
  • the system learns and analyzes the usage patterns (actions and events) over time

Smart recommendations

  • the system provides dynamic data based on those patterns and on the current context
  • the analysis and rating of the actions happen over the whole timeline (past, present and future)
  • within that rating, big changes in the user’s behavior are taken into account as well


concept Contour

Context is defined by geo location, time, current activity, active files and applications, recent action history

Patterns are regular actions of the user in similar contexts

Activities are the static part of the user interface that contains resources, actions and applications

Recommendations are propositions for actions that are dynamically changing to context, based on the detected patterns

Interface Design?

interface activity switcher

The answer how all this is actually presented in the UI, will give you the next postings. Curious people can already find out a bit more on our KDE page:


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  1. * thorGT says:


    I’m inclined to think that such an interface will get in the way of people doing their stuff, and as such will be pretty annoying to most of the users. I’m afraid that they will have to *fight* their system after such changes to get stuff done, as a traditional imperative interface is much much simpler. You always now what the system will do given some actions of yours and a state. I’d say, the traditional interface is deterministic, whereas this one is not.

    And most importantly, all the fancy UI stuff is pretty annoying, too. Especially this “sliding into” thing. We’ve lived for years choosing items by single click and now some experts decided to change that to sliding into. Or take the “fan” layout of activities or whatever it is. It may be good for marketing or getting silly users out there to use this due to the bling, but there it ends. It’s just a nuisance to the regular/power user.

    This may aim at helping people organize their stuff, but then again, those users who are smart enough to organize themselves in the real life easily manage their stuff using folders, virtual screens, links and maybe Plasma Folderviews (although it’s not necessary when you have folders and links IMO, but sometimes they help.) Again, folders and the *filesystem hierarchy* are the fundamental concept aimed at managing your activities and interacting with the computer, and probably it’s not very rational to try to change that. It’s been there for tens of years, hasn’t it?

    So, coming to the conclusion, if this interface ever guts implemented, look forward to the users searching for ways to disable it and complaining all around. Maybe even some blog post rants.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 2 months ago
  2. * Julian says:

    Should anyone outside of Europe care about plasma on mobile devices? not trolling; genuinely wondering

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 2 months ago

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