the next step on the desktop: Improving Activities UI
sebas at kde.org
Tue Feb 1 13:45:14 CET 2011
Activities are indeed one of the big things. I think we've got the basics
right in 4.6, but it's not an obvious thing to integrate into your workflow,
On Monday, January 31, 2011 20:55:56 Aaron J. Seigo wrote:
> On Monday, January 31, 2011, Ivan Cukic wrote:
> > > * have all activities avaiable in kactivitmanagerd, even if they are
> > > "stopped" in plasma-desktop
> > ? Activities that are stopped are still in kamd.
> hm.. but they don't show up in window titlebar context menus when they are
> stopped; so a "bug" in kwin, then? it should be possible imho to send
> windows to any defined activity. we could put the stopped activities at
> the bottom of the menu after a separator to help keep the running ones
> more prominent and easier to find?
After using it for a bit, I think the activities context menu is quite
useless, because hard to handle. While getting used to an activity-based
workflow, I've tried to identify some things that would make them more useful
and more obvious how it works:
- easily assigning a window to an Activity
The context menu is tricky to handle, requires a bunch of clicks and very
exact navigation. With a crappy touchpad, it's almost unusable, and not
obvious at all. Moreover, moving a window from one to another Activity
requires us to do it twice. Multiply that per WIndow, and you easily get an
overhead that makes using Activities not worth it anymore
- Having an overview mode per Activity
Touches the above, it's kind of hard to see what belongs to an Activity and
to move things in between Activities. I regularly open a webbrowser to
procrastinate, but hardly every remember changing Activity first. Then,
while "consciously procrastinating", I've got to find my webbrowser back in
one of the useful Activities
- More advanced Activity selector per Window. Maybe some kind of Activitybar
with checkboxes integrated into the windeco, or as window overlay?
- Overview mode per Activity, maybe some variation of Present Windows with
special layout (columns per Activity?)?
- Making KWin's taskswitcher more Activity-aware, for example by grouping
windows in the Boxswitch, by having some "chapter" visualization in
Coverswitch, or columns / grid in Present Windows
Not sure how complete it would feel, but I think the above could fill in the
missing link and make it more obvious how Activities work, by giving more
That would IMO be one piece of the puzzle. It could easily go on some kind of
start screen, so you log into KDE and get some big buttons "Procrastinate",
"Work-Work", "KDE", much like the application shortcuts on the "classic
desktop of the 90s", but on a much higher level.
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