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Thoughts on Unity Next


With Unity Next upcoming there will be some changes and I would like to
suggest some more xD
Maybe some of the ideas reach the persons who are in charge to design /
develop some of the talked areas and consider what I wrote down here.

UX improvements
 * Kill all pop-up windows, except for the password prompt. This would
result in a more pleasant user experience because there would be a lesser
amount of windows distracting the user. I believe pop-up windows should
stay instead in a separate tab and not in its own window cluttering the
desktop. A compromise could be for an interim basis to bind all pop-up
windows centralized to the application from which it was open, so that
there is no second window for the pop-up on the desktop.

 * Improve the consistency of the system by providing every where the same
tools and mechanisms, e.g. the user can shutdown / control the session when
logged-in with the HUD, but not when in the login-manager. This should
change, we have the HUD, it should be usable every where.

 * Remove flickering and blinking elements, e.g. when searching the Dash
the entries flicker or when switching fast between the sound menu to the
messaging menu the different windows appear and disappear producing a
blinking effect.

 * Add a desktop background slide show setting and maybe one to loop a
video too. This may be a small thing to do, but many people like to see
there kids / family / friends on there desktop. I know, currently there is
the possibility to create desktop slide shows, but be honest, they are not
average user friendly and not build in.

 * Replace all 'send to' buttons with a share button.
 * Improve the print dialog / print settings. Remember nearly every user
will use / see this dialog.
 * I guess you will replace Nautilus with your own file manager, if so,
please remove the bloat of the right click menu.
 * Replace Rhythmbox, Totem & Nautilus with something that integrates nice
into the desktop (functionality & look).

Improve keyboard navigation
Unity Next gives you the chance to do things right in some areas that
rarely change. One of this areas are keyboard shortcuts. Currently there is
no real agreement what key combination STRG + FooBar should do. It would be
nice if Ubuntu would define default keys for common actions and enforce
them in an Ubuntu HIG -> every app has to follow it to be labeled Ubuntu

   STRG + Q = close all windows of an application
   STRG + T = open a new tab
   STRG + W = close tab or close single window if no tabs are open/available
   STRG + N = new document / file
   STRG + F = search
   STRG + C = copy
   STRG + X = cut
   STRG + V = past
   F1 = help
   F2 = open preferences
   ALT [0-9] = witch tab to [tab 0-9]
   STRG + +/- = zoom in / out
   STRG + K = delete line

Having some keyboard shortcuts you can relay on in all applications would
be great and improve the user experience.

Define a fix name for the setting menu and where it should be, e.g.: Edit >

Improve the Dash
Let's talk about searching. There are three places I usually search for
something, the Internet, the file system and emails. When searching
something in the net I use Google, easy, problem is fixed for me, no need
for another tool proving the same functionality - I have a browser open
anyway. The other two (file system and email) are left. The Dash dose not a
good job on neither of them. It dose find files and folders but not
accurate enough to be useful. It can't search your past mail conversations.
Conclusion, currently the Dash fails as search tool, because it doesn't
help me (the user) to find what I'm searching for. I still have to open
several other programs to search for the things I'm looking for.

 * Search and find past Thunderbird conversations.
 * Index the content of the last 100 opened Documents and make it
searchable in the Dash (txt, odt, doc...).
 * Search and find Thunderbird address book contacts.
 * Search and find the content of past Empathy conversations.

Improve the Bash
The terminal is surely not an average user tool but I see here some
improvements possibilities too.
What about adding some more aliases and bash functions to enhance the
default experience. I suggest to add a new file containing all these and
load it through a line in the bashrc, so that it can be easily disabled.

Of what I'm thinking of:
Send a call for contribution out to the community to collect small
functions and aliases that improve the daily command line live of the most
into a wiki. Maybe let's even change the default prompt to something more
useful, e.g. display the path and system name in one line and the bash
prompt always in a second new line. Maybe add version control info (e.g.
branch name) to the prompt (bzr, git, svn....), there are planty ways the
default terminal UX could be improved. Just lets brainstorm and collect

Some aliases I use:

alias ..='cd ..'
alias ai='sudo apt-get install'
alias ad='sudo apt-get dist-upgrade'
alias au='sudo apt-get update'
alias ap='sudo apt-get purge'
alias ar='sudo apt-get remove'
alias as='apt-cache search'
alias ashow='apt-cache show'

md() { mkdir -p "$@" && cd "$@"; } # create & cd into dir

If anybody is interested in some of the suggested ideas, write me a mail /
answer on the mailing list. I would be happy to create some wiki pages or
talk to you to improve the current implementation of what ever UX part of
the system.