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Re: Category-based app browsing, was Re: Some impressions about the current status of Unity


On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM, Jo-Erlend Schinstad <
joerlend.schinstad@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> On 26. feb. 2012 17:55, Josh Strawbridge wrote:
>> when reading through this i thought the premise was more along the lines
>> that the user doesn't know what is installed or can't remember what it was
>> they used before but know they have installed.
>> while the software center is good for checking what you've installed with
>> it (it doesn't show that i've got blender, mypaint, or world of warcraft
>> installed since i wanted newer versions than were available in the software
>> center) it doesn't let you launch applications.
> That's a bug. Of course you should be able to run installed applications.
> And it should display applications regardless of the archive it came from.
>  aside from that, my first thought is that it is for installing and
>> uninstalling stuff not for simply checking out what i have on my computer.
>>  not everyone is going to think to open up a program in order to easily see
>> what they've got already installed. i never even thought about using the
>> software center for that until i read it here.  my inclination is to go to
>> the dash and try to check out what i already have through there.
>> to me this thread seems mostly about the way some of us want a much more
>> mouse friendly way to browse and launch something what the dash currently
>> offers.
>> to be honest i think this is mostly an issue of the arrangement of things
>> in the dash rather than how the dash works. the dash can do both searching
>> and browsing but the search experience got a lot more love and development
>> than the browsing experience did.
> Yes, and once you consider the number of web applications you've used
> during the past few years, it will become apparent that browsing isn't
> really going to be a suitable way of browsing your software for long. It is
> possible, but as the number of browser-apps keep growing, it will become
> less feasible.
>> i posted what i think is a decent explanation, with visual aids, about
>> this in the "some impressions about the current status of unity" thread.
>> i'd link to the post but i can't get the public archive to load right now
>> in order to do that.
> I saw your mockup and it looked quite nice. I think it makes browsing a
> little too dominant, however. It should be phased out entirely over time.
> When I started using the web, we used web directories to navigate. Then we
> started using bookmarks in the browser, and these were organized in
> folders. Later, we got search engines that replaced the web directories,
> but the bookmarks didn't change. But then Firefox' began to use the
> Awesomebar.  Since then, I haven't used hierarchical bookmarks. So for me,
> the web is not entirely non-hierarchical. The same should happen with the
> desktop.
> --
> Jo-Erlend Schinstad
i don't see how not being able to launch apps from the software center is a
bug.  the dash is for launching what you've got the software center is for

web apps are all well and good if you've got an internet connection or if
they're downloaded and can be used when you don't have a connection but
rarely use any web apps. i don't find them as enjoyable as my traditional
that said it's quite easy to make launchers for web apps you may wonder
what's the point but it can make it that much easier to get to web based
applications and it makes it feel more integrated into your system.
it also enables people you let use your computer find the apps you use
instead of them wondering where your programs are.
chrome makes it very easy. you just go to the tools menu and click "create
application shortcuts..." and it gives you the option of putting the
launcher in your applications menu, on the desktop, or both.
if you pick applications menu it shows up in the dash search.  for instance
if you use chromium and install angry birds from the chrome web store you
can make a launcher for angry birds but the launcher really just runs the
command "chromium-browser --app=http://chrome.angrybirds.com/";

your experience with the web and awesome bar is nice but you still have the
ability to browse through your bookmarks just as well as you always have.
browsing hasn't been phased out at all in that situation. it's just they've
added an option to quickly get to what you know you want. which is what the
dash *search* does.
it still doesn't help you with just a look through your bookmarks which is
what browsing is for.

if you're anything like me, using the awesome bar for too long will cause
you to have a lot of favorites you've forgotten about.
some you may still want to keep, others you'll probably just get rid off.
without some way of sorting those files while browsing through them
eventually the number of items just becomes too messy to look through
browsing with categories helps this situation a lot. though i wouldn't want
sub-categories with applications since that tends to over complicate things.
when unity hit the browsing experience took a big hit and got more
complicated than it should have.

searching is a great way to find what you know you want. it's not a great
way to simply look through what you've got.
any public machine is going to need to be easily browsed and expecting
people to open up a program to look through what we've got is ridiculous.

i don't see how my suggestion
https://lists.launchpad.net/unity-design/msg08197.html makes browsing any
more or less dominant that it is now.
the dash already looks like a way to browse things even if it is more
pleasant to use the keyboard in it.
it's just that with the current layout it's a much less pleasant browsing
experience than it could be. changing that layout in order to make browsing
more enjoyable is going to have a negligible effect, if any, on how the
search works. so it isn't going to make the search less dominant.

browsing isn't likely to be phased out anytime soon. especially when you
consider that new devices like tablets and smart phones all use browsing as
the basic way to let people find things on them. you flip through pages of
apps you've installed looking for the app you want to use and people like
those devices well enough for the trend to be pulling away from traditional

Josh Strawbridge

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