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Design Request: a new Present Windows and Desktop Grid

User avatar andreas_k
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My idea was to use the strip detail for the VDG Guidlines (VDGMockupToolkit) for the desktop preview.

on the right side an information panel and a search on top. for activties you can use the left area (navigation through activities) and on top right a settings button. (maybe you want to use activities instad of desktops in the strip detail, ...)

for the close and application icon and name I use the window decoration as the applications are scaled (all the same scal factore) anf fixed on top left with a fixed distance between the windows. The window number isn't perfect.

I want to be consistent in the behavior of windows so I'll used the window decoration (from the theme)

User avatar andreas_k
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Last edited by andreas_k on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
luebking
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kdeuserk wrote:Yeah but those desktops get pretty small fast depending on the number of desktops, making the window thumbnails barely useful for a bigger number of desktops.

And how does removing one dimension make things any better?

kdeuserk wrote:If I understand you right, you call the concept I am referring to and talking about as "collapsing virtual desktops".

No. By "collapsing virtual desktops", I referred to the gnome habit to withdraw non trailing VDs w/o a window.
I call "mission control" "mission control" ;-P

kdeuserk wrote:I think the modal window should be exposed to the user then, when this is detected, and when the user made the decision we should return to the effect.


Problem: If the user kicks himself into a follow-up save dialog, he's to exit the effect.
The other way round (we expose every modal dialog for that window afterwards) would pot. cause false positives.
Unless there's a clear hint on the window, we'll have to accept glitches.

kdeuserk wrote:I was thinking of being able to edit the name inline when you (double) click on it.

A double click implies[*] a single click -> how would you activate the VD?

*Technically, one could distinguish, but I'm not aware of such UI behavior anywhere else.

kdeuserk wrote:What about disallowing removing Desktops that hold windows? Could that be implemented more easily?


It makes no actual difference for the implementation (you've to juggle all windows on trailing desktops anyway) - you just skip the "what to do with the windows" question.
kdeuserk
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luebking wrote:And how does removing one dimension make things any better?

Simply by showing one selected Desktop at a big scale and showing the others as thumbnails only and if you select them, these are shown at big scale.

luebking wrote:A double click implies[*] a single click -> how would you activate the VD?

See my mockup, you will see the desktop names are shown under the thumbnails. If you double click the name, you can rename it, is that idea that strange? You select the desktop by clicking on the thumbnail. Actually activating a desktop could be double clicking the thumbnail or simply clicking on the desktop shown at large.
luebking
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Present Windows
Image

Virtual desktops
Image

My approach would be more simple and less a command center (no runners etc.)
-- Present windows would simply hold a static reference to the desktop grid.

* Moving a window onto that reference (or clicking the reference) would turn into desktopgrid mode (to move it onto the target desktop there)
* Filtering (always focused lineedit) is accessible from either mode, but turns to present windows mode as soon as the lineedit isn't empty (all windows are presented together - you're looking for a window, not a window/VD constellation)
* Clicking a desktop in the desktop grid turns into the present windows mode for that desktop, doubleclicking activates the desktop directly.
* Moving windows around in VD mode would remain possible as is.
* the bar on top can be used for more interaction/configuration stuff (altering the VD amount and renaming desktops) - eventually bring an "exit/activate" button
* as mentioned, shortcuts and screen corners could enter either mode directly.

If you double click the name, you can rename it, is that idea that strange?

No, actually not - i thought you meant doubleclicking the desktop.
User avatar colomar
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planhths wrote:Hello!
This is a quick take on how I imagine a new kwin effect that combines the current, present windows and desktop grid, effects.

Image

Brief discription:
The screen is divided in two areas.
1. A filter bar is located at the top and the currently selected desktop is presented along with its windows.
2. At the left of the screen a horizontal desktop grid exists with buttons to add or remove desktops.

How it functions:
1. User selects a desktop from the left by clicking on the desktop thumbnail. The selected desktop changes with a nice animation, its windows are also nicely presented.
The user can now switch to that desktop by either clicking anywhere at the right or by selecting a window.
Or he can arrange the windows by dnd a single window from the current desktop to another on the left. Clicking and draging in the right will select all the windows from the current desktop and will allow him to drop them to another desktop on the left.

Limitations over current effects:
1. The user now needs to click twice in order to change the current desktop and switch to it. (Not a big problem since keyboard shortcuts exist.)
2. Virtual desktops can only be horizontal aligned. (Although a similar effect with a different layout can be made available to the user.)
3. The user can't pick a specific window from the desktop grid by dnd, but all the windows on that desktop. (In contrary to Desktop Grid) why not?

https://share.kde.org/public.php?servic ... 1e41c65c74
(And yes I have used Gnome Shell before :P)


This makes a whole lot of sense to me and might offer just the right amount of complexity.
Interestingly, it is very similar to what the current Firefox Desktop Lead Designer proposed for a redesign of the Tab Groups feature of Firefox in his application for the job: http://readyformozilla.com/panorama/prototype/
It is basically exactly the same UI (just with the thumbnail strip above instead of to the left of the main view), and the Tab Groups feature in Firefox does something very similar to what virtual desktops do (one groups windows, the other groups browser tabs). So I see a connection here, which to me is "Yes, this UI makes sense for this feature!".
This would not completely replace the desktop grid for everyone (since the thumbnails are much smaller than what you could show in a desktop grid), but especially for moving windows between desktops (currently a quite tedious task with the ways we offer for doing this), this would be pretty much the perfect user interface.
User avatar andreas_k
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Strip-Details for the Desktops as it will be used for pictures, ...



for small devices. To change the layout use the edit button (top-right)


Last edited by andreas_k on Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar ken300
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andreas_k,

I realise that it's not the main thing that your two mockups are trying to show but just to warn you, the circular 'Edit' button on the top right of your mockups is very similar to the 'Desktop toolbox' icon / widget suggested in this post:
viewtopic.php?f=285&t=122416

There's a bug report that might be using that thread for input too, it's here:
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=337060
User avatar andreas_k
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ken300 wrote:andreas_k,

I realise that it's not the main thing that your two mockups are trying to show but just to warn you, the circular 'Edit' button on the top right of your mockups is very similar to the 'Desktop toolbox' icon / widget suggested in this post:
viewtopic.php?f=285&t=122416

There's a bug report that might be using that thread for input too, it's here:
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=337060

I started the thread ;-) and you have right put the edit botton to the strip bar. I only want to say we have this guidelines and when there is a new question the starting point should be the guidelines.
User avatar alake
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Here is a design I've put together:



A few thoughts:
  • To keep things from becoming too cluttered I divided up the workflow to help satisfy the Simple By Default - Make it easy to focus on what matters design principle. I tried multiple designs to put all of the possible workflows into one layout and it always ended up much too cluttered. So...
    • All Desktops is where the user can see all teh desktops, switch desktops, add/remove a desktop, move windows between desktops and switch directly to a window on another desktop - desktop stuff.
    • All Windows and Windows on [Desktop] is where the user can select/switch to a window, close windows, filter windows by typing - window stuff.
    • It's probably already obvious but, for completeness, All Windows shows windows across all desktops. Windows on [Desktop] shows the windows on the desktop named [Desktop].
  • The current Present Windows and Desktop Grid design uses animated transitions very, very well. So much so that a proxy selection mechanism (like a list-detail view) is completely unnecessary. Both commands and navigation are accomplished primarily by directly manipulating the content (windows and desktops) and the animations make very clear to the user what happened, what is happening and what can happen. This is so valuable from a usability perspective that I think this is worth preserving. So...
    • The transition between the All Windows state, the All Desktops state and the Windows on [Desktop] state are intended to be smoothly animated, zooming in and/or out as required to move from one state to the other.
    • For example, the transition from the Windows on [Desktop] state to the All Windows state would have the desktop background zoom out and fade to the desktop grid in the background while the windows would resize and rearrange as windows from other desktops slide in.
  • All Desktops layout respects the Virtual Desktops kcm settings (number of rows, etc.)
  • Hovering over the last desktop in All Desktops reveals the "Remove Desktop" button in the upper right of that desktop.
  • With the workflow layouts separated, it should leave some breathing room in case we think of any additional features in the future.

In all it is not a drastic redesign. After several days studying this, my own conclusion is that there are enough elements that the current design gets right that I couldn't justify a completely different approach, at least to myself. One thing that might be nice is a simple panel plasmoid to trigger one of the three modes - All Desktops, All Windows, or Windows on [Desktop] - when clicked.

Hope this helps! :-)
Sogatori
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This thread is progressing nicely with good looking proposals, my only question I'd to throw in is: Can we have application grouping? Some applications like GIMP (though it supports 1-window-mode now), Pidgin, Skype etc. consist of a few different windows and I find it annoying when they are spread across the screen in the overview. Just something to consider :)
User avatar andreas_k
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great results.
maybe an edit button for setting if needed. there you can change the arrangement style, or to show activities instead of desktops. or for shortscuts (middle click on a application for close)
User avatar alake
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Maybe we could call the combined Present Windows/Desktop Grid the...

Workspace Director says the loud echo-y voice....

(What's with the VDG's obsession to name stuff anyway? :-D )

andreask wrote:maybe an edit button for setting if needed


Yes, I agree, a button to open the corresponding kcm would be helpful I think. I'll add that to the mockup as well.
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@Andrew: Would it be possible in the "All Desktops" view to drag windows between desktops? I think this is a very nice feature which would make moving windows between desktops a lot easier than via the Pager Plasmoid.
User avatar Hans
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I would like to keep those effects simple. I like Present Windows for quickly switching to a window, while Desktop Grid is useful for switching between desktops or moving windows between desktops. Not a big fan of how those two are merged in Mac OS X (Mission Control), I find that it does a sub-par job at both tasks.

alake's mockup is very similar to how I envisioned the future of those effects, so instead of making my own mockup, I'll just comment on what I would change in his mockup (http://wstaw.org/m/2014/11/07/PM-DG_Mockups.svg.png):

1. Reduce empty surrounding space when using "Windows on Desktop x".
I used this effect a lot to switch between windows, it would be annoying if there was a "zoom in/out of the desktop" animation every time activating this effect. I propose that the desktop should remain the same size as usual, and instead a "panel" would appear at the bottom with the controls.

2. Move "Type to filter by window title" to bottom "panel" (see 1.), either horizontally aligned in the middle or maybe replacing the text to the left (is it really necessary?). Reduce text to "Type to filter..." (I think you can also filter by e.g. application name?).

3. Add "Type to filter..." to "All Desktops" mode as well.

4. Move "Add desktop" to where the desktops are, much like Mac OS X' Mission Control (http://cdn5.howtogeek.com/wp-content/up ... op-mac.png). Not sure how this would look like for a grid based layout however. What happens when you currently add a desktop if you have more than one row? (I don't run KWin so I can't test.)

Some other comments:

1. Currently there are two close buttons for every window (one in window decoration and one in the bar below the window), could that be confusing?
2. The remove desktop button will undoubtedly make people file bugs/wishlists about only being able to remove the last desktop...
3. I've been thinking about having something like a zoom analogy (windows on desktop > all windows > all desktops), with e.g. a slider-like widget in the bottom "panel" and a magnifier glass with some appropriate text instead of "Show Windows" below the hovered desktop. ("Show Windows" seems a bit confusing since the user can already see the windows for that desktop.)
4. How do activities fit in all of this? Isn't the idea to promote activities and make virtual desktops a more advanced feature?


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