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!
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