Combine the UIs for Virtual Desktop and Activities
Open, Needs TriagePublic

Description

Activities are genuinely useful for some people, but I think most of our users don't understand why Activities exist when Virtual Desktops are something that many of them are already used to. I believe the separation between Activities and Virtual Desktops keeps Activities from becoming more popular. The fact that there are separate UIs for Activities and Virtual Desktops makes learning to use the former an inconvenience.

What if Activities were rows and VDs were columns in the Pager/Desktop Grid? Users can ignore the additional features that Activities provide if they want to, but because they're already using Activities, the barrier to trying out their features is lowered.

ndavis created this task.Nov 19 2019, 6:01 AM

Would that impair a setup that is already using VDs in a 2x2 grid? Asking for a friend :^)
Honestly though, what would happen on desktops that are using said grid? Would Activities be forced in my layout?

Would that impair a setup that is already using VDs in a 2x2 grid? Asking for a friend :^)
Honestly though, what would happen on desktops that are using said grid? Would Activities be forced in my layout?

Depends on how the conversion is implemented. Ideally, it shouldn't impact any users negatively. If it does impact some users negatively, then it should ideally be a minor annoyance that is easy to fix. People who want 3 dimensions of workspace (2D VDs + 1D Activities) may be disappointed, but I doubt anyone actually needs 3 dimensions of workspace. I can't tell you exactly how it will work because I am not yet familiar with the code for Virtual Desktops and Activities.

We discussed this inAt Akademy 2017 and that concern came up. What I recall us settling on was making activities into groups of virtual desktops. Each activity could have one or more desktops, with those desktops arranged in any row or grid.

alexde added a subscriber: alexde.EditedNov 19 2019, 9:15 PM

Do I understand it correctly, that Activities are in principle sets of desktop Widgets and backgrounds?

At least that is what I got from

My point of view is that I'd like to keep by 2D VDs and I am not sure if Activities really bring me any benefits personally as I don't use desktop widgets other than those in the panel.

We discussed this inAt Akademy 2017 and that concern came up. What I recall us settling on was making activities into groups of virtual desktops. Each activity could have one or more desktops, with those desktops arranged in any row or grid.

That sounds sane to me.

In principle Activities also have separate sets of favorites, widget settings, lists of recent documents and apps, app settings, etc. As far as I can tell, the idea is to make it like having a second user account, but with access to your files.

alex-l added a subscriber: alex-l.EditedMar 17 2020, 12:49 PM

If you need some inspiration:

The scrollbar in right top corner is for zoom: 4, 3, 2 or 1 row(s) of virtual desktops

If you need some inspiration:

Those look awesome!

alexde added a comment.EditedMar 17 2020, 6:36 PM

If you need some inspiration:

Those look awesome!

Indeed! :)

But personally I'm not a friend of the dimmed windows in the grid. I think there are better ways to highlight a selected or hovered one, like putting a glowing frame around it. Maybe this can be considered for future mockups if there's consensus?

alex-l added a comment.EditedMar 18 2020, 12:17 AM

I think there are better ways to highlight a selected or hovered one, like putting a glowing frame around it. Maybe this can be considered for future mockups if there's consensus?

Sorry, it's something I really like on current Present Windows effect

There are a lot of user complaints about it FWIW: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=385522

Sometimes it's good to hold firm on design choices, but it's also good to listen to feedback from the people for whom we are creating this software. Personally I don't feel very strongly about it one way or another but I do admit a bias in favor of listening to user feedback.

In my mockups there is already less dimming than in current implementation, I think that is already a good middle ground

alexde added a comment.EditedMar 18 2020, 4:25 PM

In my mockups there is already less dimming than in current implementation, I think that is already a good middle ground

Please bear in mind that the dimming may still be too strong for dark themes with a already dimmed screen.

Alright; if this effect becomes rewritten as I guess, it should be possible to introduce an option to satisfy everyone. ;) Thus, it's not necessary to focus on this specific effect now in the further course of the task. Sorry for the detour. :)

alex-l added a comment.EditedMar 18 2020, 11:05 PM

Please bear in mind that the dimming may still be too strong for dark themes with a already dimmed screen.

Alright; if this effect becomes rewritten as I guess, it should be possible to introduce an option to satisfy everyone. ;) Thus, it's not necessary to focus on this specific effect now in the further course of the task. Sorry for the detour. :)

Sorry I think there is no difference with dark themes.... the 20%-opacity black rectangle you see below just reduce the contrast between background and text widgets colors. What's matter is the difference between them... Even in a theme where it's intentionally lower a -20% of contrast can't really make a difference...

EDIT: I just checked and the current effect apply a 60% of black, three times more than my mockup. I think it's already a good improvement.

Mockup looks incredible. Add pinned apps for quick launching my favorites and this would be a perfect workflow.