Activities button call for testing

As mentioned in the state of design talk, we’ve been experimenting with alternatives to the Activities label and now have an implementation that we’re pretty happy with.

There’s a testing extension in the relevant Gitlab issue, please try it and let us know what you think: Rethink Activities button (#227) · Issues · Teams / Design / os-mockups · GitLab


I have a difficult time to process that the pill is a workspace and not a connection of two workspaces.

Take the following image for example:


To me, it looks like the pill is over two indicators; the indicator next to the pill (aka second workspace) feels more like it’s the third workspace.

Edit: I’m not sure if it should be reported here or in the issue tracker. Feel free to delete this comment if it’s the latter.


It’s AMAZING! It’s really nice! wow! i hope this is gonna be the default!

Edit: I’m making an arch based distro, can i host this on GitHub or something and use it?


Works great. I like it and want to see in the core.

I moved from Space Bar and will use dev version of extension because I don’t need any Space Bar extra feature and love this UI more.

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Hmm. So it’s a slick indicator of which workspace you are on, sure. I do like it.

I think it’s maybe a step back in usability though. This new icon looks like a status indicator of some sort, and it might not be obvious you can click on it to bring up the most important view in all of Gnome. “Activities” at least looks like it might be a menu or something you can click on.

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Could this be put on I think that would be easier to get feedback from Fedora Workstation users — and in general, of course, but I was thinking maybe we could do a Fedora Magazine article… and I can’t even remember how to do this manually.


For what its worth, my personal first impression is that the solid bar is too visually “heavy”, and draws too much attention. But maybe some of that is due to novelty.

Have you tried a non-filled bar?


It is technically heavier than the rest of mostly just outlined icons

I like it more than the current design, however it still doesn’t look like a button, but just a visual indicator for where you’re at. I can also tell that it’s more prominent than other elements — it’s a big filled white pill, unlike other mostly just outlined icons and text characters. This might be more of a bad thing, tbh.


The pill is confusing for me. I have 4 permanent workspaces and I like to put certain applications on certain workspaces. For example, Firefox on 1 and Steam on 3. However, the pill can make it hard to tell at a glance which workspace I am on since it takes up the space of 2 workspaces and makes the bar the length of 5 dots (even though I am only using 4 workspaces).

I would rather have it be a single, bolder and brighter dot.

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Personally, I am neutral on this. As for the workspace indicator part, I don’t care because I only use one workspace.

I asked my father (who never uses a computer; he only watches what is done there) to launch an app, from the desktop (the overview or the app grid was not shown). He was able to do it directly (which surprised me). When I asked him why he assumed it was that pill button, he told me it was the light. To be more specific, I asked him if it was because the button was prominent (the “light”), and why he hadn’t clicked on the icons on the right (the status area). He replied that it was because of the prominence of the button and that on the right there was the shutdown button (so not there to launch an app). I finally asked him if he was influenced by other things he knew and he said no. Note that he has already seen me launch apps, but probably he has not paid attention because I quickly use the hot corner or the keyboard.

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I think it’s very useful to have feedback of the active workspace as well, but I didn’t immediately realized its purpose, and I believe users will press it more out of curiosity than to show the Activities.

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I personally really enjoy this design. This makes much more sense to me than “Activities”.
It can be useful when switching workspaces after minutes of staying on the same one, to know where I am.

My only gripe with it is how scrolling is implemented. It currently isn’t really useful to me, since the target is so small. It’s not worth slowing down for it so I avoid hitting the hot corner, and as a result, I end up just using that and scrolling in the overview.

One potential solution to this would be making the scroll target bigger, as in the entirety of the panel from the left edge to the date. However, that could also be somewhat confusing as there would be no visual indicator as to what you’re scrolling on.

It looks nice but a bit distracting with the bright pill and fading gray dots. And the darker grays are hard to distinguish at a glance from the panel background. I think it might be clearer to me which workspace I’m on if the dots didn’t fade.

Even though the dots are small I found myself trying to click them to switch workspace. That’s what it visually invites me to do because it looks like a workspace switcher. Of course that opens Activities instead. (I know I can mouse wheel scroll it.)

I can’t say if for new GNOME users this would be more inviting to click on if they are trying to find their apps.


this work fine here. I like how this change work and show me how workspace i use.

After some time, I’d like to add that it indeed draws attention every time you login. On the other hand, the extra-faded dots are barely noticeable — not great for a11y. Also, this implementation doesn’t respect scroll direction setting.

I really like it. Also scrolling on the indicator to switch workspaces is quit nice but it scrolls in the wrong direction and the delay when switching through multiple workspaces is too high. Those two things should be in line with inside the overview and the Super+Scroll shortcut

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My 2 cents: I am really grateful that people are thinking about how to improve Gnome, but I have to admit that I don’t like this proposal. In my opinion, Gnome is almost perfect in its elegance and simplicity.

First of all, I dont understand why there is at all the need to know and thus have it indicated in top bar on which workspace I am. I mean, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have in mind which app is on which workspace, and why should I? It is not necessary for switching to an specific app to know on which workspace it is situated. Very rarely I switch to another app by switching the workspace via keyboard shortcut or in overview. In general alt-tab, hitting super and entering first letters of app name and press enter or clicking on app icon in dash in overview does the job. Well, that is not quite true. Quite frequently I open the overview and scroll through workspaces to get an orientation. This has also the advantages of the possibility to rearrange the windows or to switch to one. In the past, I had experimented with extensions like workspace indicator or improved workspace indicator, but I always ended disabeling them. They dont give me any value, and if I really need to know on which workspace I am, Overview will tell me. These indicators as well as this proposal are further quite annoying when overview is open. If you cycle through workspaces in Overview, you then have 2 places that indicate the same workspace switch. The indicator under the search bar, and your new indicator. That is redundant and annoying.

Though I have to admit that I am missing for long time the possibility to switch workspaces with mouse only without opening overview. (existing extensions for that often conflict with volume control or other things) In my view, it would be desirable to be able to switch workspaces in normal mode (that to say without the need to open overview) by scrolling mousewheel if cursor is above date/clock or above Activities button in top bar.

I should mention that the only extension I really heavily rely on is hotedge. It gives you a quick and easy access to overview by moving mouse cursor (similar to functional corner) to bottom of screen (where you need it to switch/start app via dash). Hotedge should be implemented in Gnome by default.

Further I have noticed that your proposal also hides (now I dont have the right vocabulary) this field with the name of the app of the currently activ window next to the Activities button. Bildschirmfoto_vom_2023-07-31_18-34-46|attachment

This field should stay where it is since it often is the only way to know what the activ app is and what is its name. Further you can do stuff by clicking on it like closing app or open a new instance.

And here comes my second propsal what I would change to make Gnome perfect if I had the ability to do so: This field gives you the same context menu for left and right mouse click. I would keep showing context menu for right klick, since it is kind of a standard thing that right click opens context menu and would enable cycling through open instances of same program by leftclick so that it is possible to cycle through instances of same program with mouse only without the need of keyboard shortcut or opening overview. If there already is an extension that does exactly this, please tell me.

To the design of your indicator, I have to say that the long sausage, as others have referred to it, is really quite annoying. It does not help to quickly understand on which worksapce I am, it rather forces me to do a calculation: I see 2 dots plus the sausage, so I must be on workspace 3. That is weird :slight_smile: And as others have mentioned, there is a inconsistency of the scroll direction. In overview, you scroll down for moving one workspave right and up for one left, as it should be, and your indicator does it the other way round.

Hope my remarks are helpful.

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That is really awesome!

I tried if for a few days and I have to say that I like it!

The animation could be made a bit smoother however: a small flickering is visible when you move/switch between workspaces.