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GNOME Shell to get an Activities Overview design revamp in GNOME 40

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GNOME Shell is already quite different to how traditional desktop environments feel, and they're planning to mix things up again with some design overhauls for GNOME 40.

The GNOME development team blogged about some of the upcoming plans in late December 2020, which did look and sound quite promising. With the main focus being on the Activities Overview feature, which is where you access application launchers, open windows and more - the big overlay you open on GNOME. This is what shall be adjusted in their planned overhaul.

Expanding on this recently in a fresh blog post, the team showed off where they're currently at with this new design. Which you can see in action below, which they shared running from a Virtual Machine (work in progress):

They're keen to note that everything else is the same on GNOME, just the Activities Overview is seeing the revamp and even with this new layout it's "structurally the same as the previous version". It will also work fine with vertical monitor positioning and shouldn't cause problems for multi-display setups either and they even said they have "some ideas for how to improve multi-monitor support".

Why are they doing this though? Quite a few reasons actually. It's going to be a lot more customizable and more personal, you will be greeted with a more welcoming screen after booting up instead of a blank desktop, much improved touchpad gesture support, easier understanding of workspaces and more.

GNOME mention how this was done as a result of "6 separate user research exercises" and they shall be providing details of that research to the public in a future post. Additionally, they do plan to open it up to wider testing and an "intensive period of bug fixing and evaluation" before they have a UI freeze in "about a month’s time". Not long to go though, as their Roadmap is aiming for a GNOME 40 release in March.

What do you think to the flow and design changes?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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16 comments
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theghost 11 Jan
Quoting: SchattenspiegelWow...just...wow...rofl

"6 separate user research exercises"
...and they have not even figured out the most basic of design flaws...

The "activities" button




................................... and the





.............................................................................................button to open the application drawer
......................................................................................................... are on opposite sides of the screen.
And that is just one of the problems.

Exactly my thoughts too.
Personally I don't like the new design. Instead of improving application overview or the zooming out and in or the activities button they changed just for sake of change.
theghost 11 Jan
Gnome devs should better think about the question why so many people need multiple add-ons to get gnome the way they need it. Just look at Ubuntu. They made the Gnome desktop much more usable with a few tweaks.
Better adopt gnometthat less tweaks and addons are needed.
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI suspect a basic problem with the way user research works is that "easier to learn" is often not the same as "more effective to use". So you show people various ways of doing things and they're like "I get this one right away!" and you decide the User Has Spoken and you get something that isn't that great once people have it up and running for a while.
Possibly.
But so far GNOME 3 has not exactly been self explanatory either.
The only way you could call it simple is visually (by hiding often used functionality behind cryptic icons requiring extra clicks) and functionality wise (by reducing programms/applications to a bare minimum that is bordering on uselessness).
compared to more classic designs you actually have to learn to use it properly and there is unfortunately no efficiency compensation for that energy and time investment to be found. ( Unless you get frustrated enough to bypass the problems by finally learning some CLI magic, that is. ;-))
sarmad 12 Jan
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI suspect a basic problem with the way user research works is that "easier to learn" is often not the same as "more effective to use". So you show people various ways of doing things and they're like "I get this one right away!" and you decide the User Has Spoken and you get something that isn't that great once people have it up and running for a while.

Yeah, and I guess in this case the people they chose to do their research on are mostly MacOS users and they gave those research users more weight than their existing user base.
The sad thing is that Gnome was the only DE with vertical layout, so there is no alternative to jump to that I know of. Let's hope someone forks it.
Phlebiac 12 Jan
Quoting: sarmadThe sad thing is that Gnome was the only DE with vertical layout, so there is no alternative to jump to that I know of. Let's hope someone forks it.

No need for a fork when extensions can change such things; here's one possibility for you:
https://github.com/mzur/gnome-shell-wsmatrix
AciD 13 Jan
There is one thing with Gnome, is that even though the UI is ugly, space is wasted everywhere, and the UX is horrible, they are coherent with this and continue to deliver for those who like that kind of DE.

Fortunately for the others, there is KDE ;)
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