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Re: Window switching


Talking about window switching there is one nice feature of Unity many
people are not aware of. That the mouse scroll can easily switch windows of
the same application when the cursor is over the launcher icon.

However there's one caveat to it that only one window is above the others
at one time. Comparing to the similar feature of using Alt-~ all the
switched windows are raised above others, that should also be the
reasonable behaviour of mouse scroll switching.

On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM, Pascal Io <pascalio432@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hello Unity designing Community !
>  I come from Ubuntu Brainstorm to expose to you a problem and the
> solution which I've thought over for it.
> As I figured it, Unity aims to reach some perfection in its design for
> usability and clever layout which makes it little customizable but
> personally, I think is does remarkably well. To be quite honest, after one
> year using it, I can almost never feel as easy when I have to go back to
> other desktops as with Unity. From Natty till Quantal, however, there is
> only one feature – or missing feature – which I've felt as an impediment
> for me or for a regular user, and it concerns window switching in the case
> where an application has many windows. There is no possible direct way to
> switch between the windows of one application using your mouse, it must be
> done going through scale mode (or spread view). However nice-looking the
> spread view is, it makes the process of switching repeatedly truly heavy
> for the user: this is particularly problematic when doing office work or
> student writings (speaking from personal experience!) where you must have
> multiple Writer windows and PDF viewer windows opened, for example;
> however, it is annoying even for more basic usage, for instance, since
> firefox often pops out a Download dialogue box... This short video
> summarizes the issue better.
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_utii5DbsUU&feature=youtu.be
> This Brainstorm Idea suggests a solution to the matter.
> http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/29850/
> (Solution 1 was aborted by its writer; I wrote #2 and #3; the comments
> give more details about the solution.) In a nutshell, the idea is that, in
> the case of multiple windows for one app, hovering over the launcher bar
> icon of the application instantly reveals a list in text format of the
> opened windows, which would look like the current right-click quicklist (or
> whatever...), with the first opened one on the top and last one on the
> bottom – very important. Possibly, we could also have it list windows in
> other workspaces, which solves this further little issue. More explanations
> can be found by reading the Brainstorm solutions as well as the comments.
> Therefore, my little idea solves a fundamental inconsistency in the window
> switching routines under Unity: why should it be so simple to go from my
> opened Writer to my opened PDF viewer and back, whereas as soon as I have
> oneDocument.pdf plus otherDocument.pdf, things must get more complicated
> just since they are on the same app? I'd better install muPDF and Okular
> along with Evince so that I can use one program for each PDF file and
> switch more simply...
> More seriously, this other window switching method is absolutely not
> incoherent with the Spread mode method; it can be seen as “the concise
> mode” vs “spread mode”: hover over the icon of the desired app, a light and
> concise listing appears at once, click on this icon, your mouse-click
> scatters the listed windows throughout the screen into “spread mode” so you
> can view them – the current behaviour. It is absolute coherence and
> complementarity. And very profitable for the ease of use of everyone.
> (Alt+tab, however good it be, isn't a solution to this lack: you certainly
> agree that a good DE mustn't force the user to necessarily turn to the
> keyboard to perform the most basic actions, especially not with the
> universal purposes of Ubuntu. Besides, alt+tab doesn't always help neither.)
> Other OS's Desktop shells already do something similar. Under MS Windows
> 7, hover over the launcher icon, then small window previews with window
> title appear after a short delay, which enables direct window switching
> even in the case of two similar windows; there's no need to completely
> follow that in Unity, in my view, because those thumbnails are too small
> for choosing easily – especially on small displays – Unity's spread view
> does a better job, and the delay is excessive particularly if there is no
> complex rendering (simply listing the window title). Linux Zorin OS does
> approximately the same as MS Windows, which proves really nice for the
> cases at hand. Even Mac OSX has a window title listing, in the top pane
> “window” menu. Among its desktop shell category, it's only Unity that does
> not allow direct window switching from the mouse. My solution for this is a
> bit of the OSX way, but at the launcher icon level which is by far more
> intuitive than a menu – and more consistent with Unity's lines too. (Gnome
> Shell has got too far onto the tablet side, it's not in the same category,
> it tends to be a tablet-only desktop shell – even though not presented as
> such – but it makes normal-computer users uneasy in the long run; certainly
> one of the reasons Unity was started, I guess!)
> So, this long email just to expose a detail that turns out to be rather
> important, for me but for others too obviously: I didn't initiate the
> Brainstorm discussion myself, even though I had planned to. Of course, when
> one needs to do such work where the problem occurs, changing to another DE
> like Xfce, cinnamon or anything that lets you always switch windows
> directly is pretty easy via lightDM... but should the default Ubuntu shell
> accept to repulse office/studious users ? (and the problem actually rises
> for many others too!) What I'm talking about is, I think, a weakness in the
> base of the usability design, I really think it needs to be addressed in
> one way or another. Hence my suggestion. I am aware that the current
> designing efforts are made towards visual user-friendliness, working with
> pictures or icons, and Spread view is coherent with this. My “concise view”
> needs text listing rather than pictures, which may seem at first as opposed
> to this “visual user-friendliness”; but we have to remember that letter
> patterns are very recognisable visual entities, people normally identify
> one word by its “look” rather than decoding it: it can very well fit the
> purpose of optimizing repeated window switching, in the very cases I'm
> talking about.
> By the way, perhaps you already have one such project going on: if so,
> well you can just take my email as a keen encouragement!
> Reading the Brainstorm solutions and comments will give more important
> details about the idea, but if you recognise my point as a problem and are
> interested in my solution, I can provide you with an exhaustive and
> thorough description of how I've reckoned it.
>  Best regards,
>  Brainstorm contributor Pascalio :)
> Ps: I'm not in the mailing list so if you have the kindness to answer me,
> you'll need to do so using my gmail address...
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