Activities button call for testing

After using it for a few days, some of the novelty wore off and I don’t like it as is:

  • It removes the app menu. It’s the only “app focused” indicator, and some apps put useful stuff in there.
  • I only use a 2 or 3 workspaces anyway, and don’t find the indicator to be useful.
  • It’s really just a status indicator, and those have always been on the right.
  • It doesn’t look like something I should click on, but I’m the wrong user to asses that I guess.

On the other hand:

  • It looks nice.
  • The scroll-to-switch is kinda handy, but much more awkward than gestures or hotkeys.

On my laptop, I’ve recently be happily using the “Space Bar” extension, with it’s meaningful “+” to add new workspaces, and the possibility to give names to my worskpaces (like mail, web, etc.). Let see what I can say of this new activities button.

Some early feedback:

  • at first sight, it’s visually elegant, animations are smooth and reinforce well the feeling of sliding from one workspace to another.
  • the pill of the current screen is much wider than the dots, which suggests it spans several workspaces. I would have expected the pill to match mostly my screen ratio. Perhaps same for dots, but at a lower size.
  • the shading effect would make sense to me if it was used to slightly emphasize on the last used workspace.

More thoughts after a couple of days:

  • I don’t miss much Space Bar for now, I find that having a visual position to be mostly as good as text indicators, and the lack of “+” button makes things feel more in line with the dynamic worskpaces, more fluid.
  • As a laptop user who does a lot of swiping, this “activities button replacement” is mostly a visual indicator to me. Maybe it’s too stylish, though.
  • No, it’s definetely too abstract.
  • I can’t help but wonder “why is this thing sitting in the top left corner?” It’s placement feels awkward.
  • I would expect this thing to be centered… at the bottom of the screen, to match the swipe up gesture.
  • Ok, now I get why the pill is so wide.

This thing looks like the missing piece for GNOME Shell to finally bring the mobile world with a usable solution to switch between apps. (I can’t say for iOS but Android is barely usable to me - how do all those people do with their Android mobiles!?)

Overall, I feel like this “workspace indicator/task bar/activities pill” (you name it) is somewhat stuck in between revolutionizing the touch-enabled devices world and providing an immediate improvement over the current state of GNOME Shell.

Thanks a lot for the work, and giving us the opportunity to test the changes in real life. I’m eager to see where all this goes!

This topic was automatically closed 45 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.