New "Home" tab for Kickoff
Open, Needs TriagePublic

Description

I'd like to propose a new tab for Kickoff: Home.

This tab would include miniature versions of the most useful entries from other pre-existing Kickoff tabs. The idea is for it to be the only tab a casual user should ever have to use to quickly launch their recently-used and favorite apps, access the files they were last working with, and turn off their computer. Full power and more features would always be available on Kickoff's other tabs.

Here's an exceptionally crude low-fi mockup, followed by a textual explanation:

  • The Favorites section on top is just like a miniature version of Kicker's current Favorites tab--with the additional feature that you can make Documents favorites too. I think users would really love that.
  • The Power section displays the three power-related actions (with textual labels) at the bottom of the page. The More button on the right shows any additional options (Log out, switch user, etc). The settings page would provide a UI to allow users to choose which three buttons appear on the Home page (for example they might want to replace Suspend with Log Out or Switch User in the case of a laptop that's shared between family members).
filipf added a subscriber: filipf.Aug 26 2018, 8:28 PM

This is an excellent, much-needed proposal that is already conceptually at a very high level.

I've tried to create a picture depicting the key design elements in order to try to bring the proposal somewhat closer to life. It's crude, devoid of actual content and made from scratch so I apologize if I didn't translate some of the elements from the sketch well:

Overlooking the shortcomings of my attempt, IMO on the whole I think it shows I that this proposal could make for a really beautiful redesign. From a design point of view, the separators are no problem and even help the search box not stick out too much. Moreover, I don't think we necessarily need to be coloring sections differently, separators could suffice.

There are, however, two problems I see when the sketch is translated into "real life":

  1. In the case of longer names we won't be able to fit both the users name and the computer+OS information above the search box
  2. The tabs! Because there are only 3 tabs now, if we enclose them they are going to be very wide and lumpy. Width is a problem, but in the proposal perhaps they are kind of tall as well. What remains open is also the question of how to separate the tabs from the rest of Kickoff (note: in this pic I put a light top to bottom gradient, but this would not work with a light theme and is not a good solution)

Oh and I what I did differently was that I added 20% opacity transparent circles behind action buttons because it seemed like a good idea here - the user would be informed that it's the icon they have to click, not the text (assuming that's how the code will behave).

In this experiment I propose the solution for point 1 raised in my previous post:

I think sorting it out this way is great because all the elements to the right of the avatar circle are now of the same height as the circle.

I also tried to see how many favorites icons I could fit in and stopped at 14 in this specific case.

Failed at having two rows in the Recent Files and Recent Apps section :/

And instead of adding "Forget all" buttons, I thought that adding X icons (or whatever a "clear entries" icon would be) would create less clutter.

abetts added a subscriber: abetts.Aug 26 2018, 9:43 PM

In this experiment I propose the solution for point 1 raised in my previous post:

I think sorting it out this way is great because all the elements to the right of the avatar circle are now of the same height as the circle.

I also tried to see how many favorites icons I could fit in and stopped at 14 in this specific case.

Failed at having two rows in the Recent Files and Recent Apps section :/

And instead of adding "Forget all" buttons, I thought that adding X icons (or whatever a "clear entries" icon would be) would create less clutter.

Would we consider a bigger menu overall? Wider and taller so as to accommodate elements better? I am thinking a little bit like Cinnamon or even Windows

I think it can (and probably should) definitely be bigger, in fact in my pics it's probably as small as Kickoff can be and crammed, no need for it to be that size. Personally I wouldn't go the Cinnamon or Windows route because they're really wide... IIRC Cinnamon isn't too efficient with space, and Windows has those big tiles to accommodate ads and what not. In Windows (post 7) I always prefer to have something like Classic Shell. But yeah bigger for sure.

I'm glad you like the idea, @filipf! Your high fidelity mockup is really nice, and it's pretty much exactly what I had in mind! I agree that with this design, a larger size might be warranted. The current complaints on that score IMHO are not so much about the large size, but rather the low density. If we increase the density, people would probably be okay with it being even bigger in the service of accommodating more useful content. Of course other tabs would then have even lower density. We could fix this for the Applications tab (see T9040: Improve navigation on Kickoff's Applications page), but the remaining tabs would still have very low density without some more redesign work.

Do you have any QML or development experience, @filipf, or are these GIMP mockups?

This is nice! Let’s not forget that we have applications that have a name with more than 2 words (GIMP, Plasma X Explorer, KMail Import Wizard, and some others.). They aren’t many, but we don’t have any idea about 3rd-party apps. Maybe this is why applications are having horizontal items so the name can fit however long it is.
Possible solutions:

  • Get rid of the name in favorites section and just use the icon.
  • Resize sections and give the favorites the biggist area, then narraw down the number of allowed favorites and use a bigger item.
  • Use marquee text (up and down) for long names.

Another thing is that if the user wants to open the 10th recent document (which is a regression from current Kickoff). With this idea he can’t. Maybe a button somewhere to open the “Recent documents” in the file manager?

Well yeah I really liked the concept, no one else has a menu like this one, and yet it would be super functional... so I was intrigued to see how it would look like. The pics were just photo manipulation though.

Thinking how to save a bit more vertical space, it occurred to me that maybe the section titles and separators could blended together:

Unfortunately since "Files" and "Apps" do not have the same the same amount of letters, this breaks symmetry a bit.

As another visual experiment, this pic contains an additional separator above the tabs on which the active tab bar would roll on. I

And for what Safa pointed out about accessing additional document, maybe a small button with three dots could be added below the list. Would be Breeze style of course, not like this.

@filipf Blending the titles and separators seems like a great idea to me! The line should probably be as long as it needs to be based on the header text length, and not try to keep symmetry. I think it's okay.

@safaalfulaij Keep in mind that this new Home tab wouldn't replace anything; the existing History tab would still be there and would still have a ton of items in it. So there would be no regression in terms of the number of recently used items. I like @filipf's idea of creating a link at the bottom of each Recent <thing> section to a larger version of it. This could simply take you to the History tab, or even do something fancy like expand just that section to fill the whole content area.

I agree that long names are a problem when we use square icons tiles instead of horizontal list items. For that reason, I think we'd need to ensure adequate horizontal spacing and allow multi-line strings. This would entail giving that section a good amount of space, yes.

This is starting to look really really good. Thanks for your input, guys.

@filipf Blending the titles and separators seems like a great idea to me! The line should probably be as long as it needs to be based on the header text length, and not try to keep symmetry. I think it's okay.

@safaalfulaij Keep in mind that this new Home tab wouldn't replace anything; the existing History tab would still be there and would still have a ton of items in it. So there would be no regression in terms of the number of recently used items. I like @filipf's idea of creating a link at the bottom of each Recent <thing> section to a larger version of it. This could simply take you to the History tab, or even do something fancy like expand just that section to fill the whole content area.

I agree that long names are a problem when we use square icons tiles instead of horizontal list items. For that reason, I think we'd need to ensure adequate horizontal spacing and allow multi-line strings. This would entail giving that section a good amount of space, yes.

This is starting to look really really good. Thanks for your input, guys.

This would be my assessment too. Thinking visually only, I feel that we need to place more emphasis or real estate to the applications rather than the recent documents. We can tailor to this if we make the menu bigger horizontally. Right now only about 25% of the real estate is dedicated to applications. My feeling is that users will generally use Kickoff to launch applications more than anything else.

Making it a bit wider would leave more room for names in the two Recent [thing] sections, too.

rooty added a subscriber: rooty.EditedAug 27 2018, 3:42 PM

What about this?
I changed @filipf's design up a little bit:

  • no username@hostname (Distro) anywhere near the name (more spacious this way)
  • not sure about the separators, they're not present in this picture but i think it looks fine either way
  • the Favorites look better if the labels are right next to the icons rather than under them
  • smaller icons
  • Recent Files and Recent Apps are now flush with each other
  • no ellipses (I'm sure that a scrollbar can be integrated into the menu or someting but i don't like having buttons below the Recent panes)
  • Shut down, Restart and Suspend are smaller and take up less room
  • the tabs are a lot shorter (they don't need as much room as in the original screenshots)

Pardon the low quality though, I don't have much Photoshop Fu.
In addition I propose "Applications" be used in place of "All apps" ("apps" sound mobile) and "Places" instead of "Locations", much like in the original Kickoff.

I'd be open to trying horizontal list item-style Favorites in the interest of better supporting long names and captions. But in this case, I'd like it to remain multi-column the way the current icon tile mockups show, or else we'll end up with a huge amount of wasted space on the right the way we do now (which people not unreasonably complain about).

I think I'd like to keep the line separators though. I feel that they lend needed structure to the UI.

I'd be open to trying horizontal list item-style Favorites in the interest of better supporting long names and captions. But in this case, I'd like it to remain multi-column the way the current icon tile mockups show, or else we'll end up with a huge amount of wasted space on the right the way we do now (which people not unreasonably complain about).

I think I'd like to keep the line separators though. I feel that they lend needed structure to the UI.

+1

rooty added a comment.Aug 28 2018, 1:10 AM

I'd be open to trying horizontal list item-style Favorites in the interest of better supporting long names and captions. But in this case, I'd like it to remain multi-column the way the current icon tile mockups show, or else we'll end up with a huge amount of wasted space on the right the way we do now (which people not unreasonably complain about).

I think I'd like to keep the line separators though. I feel that they lend needed structure to the UI.

ah but room to breathe wasted space does not always make hahaha

the long names and captions argument - yes, for sure, but i just thought it wouldn't be as aesthetically pleasing to cram it all into a single pane/section, so using horizontal names/captions would end up using up most of the space while still looking fairly roomy (giving off the impression of spaciousness), if arranged in two columns (instead of just one, the way kickoff's laid out right now)

yeah the separators sound good, preferably the ones you put in the screenshots in a comment on D15011, they're nice, subtle and aesthetically pleasing too

Yes, there's often a fine line between "wasted space" and "too crowded". I feel confident that we can hit the mark though.

I'd like to add my humble thoughts to this if you don't mind.
I personally really love this proposed start menu, especially the list of newly installed apps.

Here are some changes to a previously posted mockup I'd like if you considered:

  • I think it needs more space to accomodate all the other things added to this page, so an overall increas in size is needed
  • I work as local IT support for a company with hundreds of computers and I know KDE Plasma is targeted at office users, so I can tell you from personal experience that this is necessary: logging out and switching users is one of the most frequent actions. That's why I added these two actions to the page
  • I know I'm arguing over a mockup, but the page titles (Home, All apps, ...) buttons are way to big, they remind me of a smartphone interface, so I condensed the height. Also added a fourth page title, since we got room for one and there is (definitely) something useful that can be added there
  • Recent files and Recent apps needed more space, so I increased the height of these sections
  • Decreased the app icons under the Favirotes section, it was just (arguably) too big
  • Added System settings to this page. I believe it needs to be in a more discoverable place. Windows and OSX have been showing it on their start menus for a long time now, and for a good reason. If faced with a problem (or just annoyed with a setting) the user can quickly reach what they want, without looking it up in All apps or searching for it manually in the search bar every time
  • Removed the X from the Recent files and Recent apps section. I suppose these were a clear list action. These can go to the right click context menu. In my experience even less experienced users generally know to try to look for a rightclick menu when they can't find something on the screen. I believe these are not that necessary to show it by default.

Here is my personal mockup:

I'd like to add my humble thoughts to this if you don't mind.
I personally really love this proposed start menu, especially the list of newly installed apps.

Here are some changes to a previously posted mockup I'd like if you considered:

  • I think it needs more space to accomodate all the other things added to this page, so an overall increas in size is needed
  • I work as local IT support for a company with hundreds of computers and I know KDE Plasma is targeted at office users, so I can tell you from personal experience that this is necessary: logging out and switching users is one of the most frequent actions. That's why I added these two actions to the page
  • I know I'm arguing over a mockup, but the page titles (Home, All apps, ...) buttons are way to big, they remind me of a smartphone interface, so I condensed the height. Also added a fourth page title, since we got room for one and there is (definitely) something useful that can be added there
  • Recent files and Recent apps needed more space, so I increased the height of these sections
  • Decreased the app icons under the Favirotes section, it was just (arguably) too big
  • Added System settings to this page. I believe it needs to be in a more discoverable place. Windows and OSX have been showing it on their start menus for a long time now, and for a good reason. If faced with a problem (or just annoyed with a setting) the user can quickly reach what they want, without looking it up in All apps or searching for it manually in the search bar every time
  • Removed the X from the Recent files and Recent apps section. I suppose these were a clear list action. These can go to the right click context menu. In my experience even less experienced users generally know to try to look for a rightclick menu when they can't find something on the screen. I believe these are not that necessary to show it by default.

    Here is my personal mockup:

I can see you put a lot of thought into this. I like your conclusions. I think we should consider them. I also feel like that there could be more sizing work with the menu to allow for more space for the actual content that the user is looking for. In your mockup, do you want to make the power buttons always visible?

In your mockup, do you want to make the power buttons always visible?

When we moved from windows 7 to windows 10 the #1 user ticket was "how do I shut down the computer?" and "how do I log off?" because these actions are on a button with no label.
In my opinion shutdown, restart and logoff should be visible on the main page, opposed to the current Leave page, but suspend and hibernate could be tucked away for example in a little arrow next to Shut down.

Thanks for that very valuable information, @anemeth. It's great to hear from someone in the trenches, so to speak. Your reasoning is exactly why I wanted to put the power- and user-related buttons front and center. Sometimes we forget just how confusing it can be for normal users when something commonly-used isn't front-and-center, and how unlabeled icons-only ToolButtons can cause problems even when they use a nearly universal icon.

I'm hoping to carve out some time to work on this new tab in the Plasma 5.16 timeframe. I love your refinement of the mockup. Very nice.

ndavis added a subscriber: ndavis.Feb 21 2019, 3:47 AM

I think the design is visually overwhelming. There's a lot of stuff crammed into an area that's a bit too small to hold all of it. I like the favorites area at the top and I think it will do a better job of displaying more favorites at once than the favorites view. If you're going to have another section at the bottom, choose either Recent Files or Recent Apps, not both. Another option is to put everything in one scrollable list (Favorites, Recent Apps, Recent Files), rather than having Recent Files and Recent Apps side by side.

That looks very nice! Is this a mockup or a start at implementation?

That looks very nice! Is this a mockup or a start at implementation?

Is this a mockup)

I would be happy to participate in the project where my UI designer skills will be useful.

rooty added a comment.Mar 7 2019, 4:57 AM

This is really nice. Especially the buttons in the top right corner.
Have you given any thought to what the button on the right would do? (Open up a context menu? Show the logout screen? Use a default action for Leave (say, shut down)?)

In T9041#178105, @rooty wrote:

This is really nice. Especially the buttons in the top right corner.
Have you given any thought to what the button on the right would do? (Open up a context menu? Show the logout screen? Use a default action for Leave (say, shut down)?)

Good idea)

ngraham added a comment.EditedMar 7 2019, 2:39 PM

I'm of the opinion that having visible power buttons with labels on the home screen is a requirement. People have difficulty with this concept otherwise, and @anemeth's anercdote backs this up. We don't need to show all of them but at a minimum we need for restart, shut down, and log off to be visible by default with labels, not just icons.

abetts added a comment.Mar 7 2019, 3:16 PM

I'm of the opinion that having visible power buttons with labels on the home screen is a requirement. People have difficulty with this concept otherwise, and @anemeth's anercdote backs this up. We don't to shoa all of them but at a minimum we need for restart, shut down, and log off to be visible by default with labels, not just icons.

I would agree.

I'm of the opinion that having visible power buttons with labels on the home screen is a requirement. People have difficulty with this concept otherwise, and @anemeth's anercdote backs this up. We don't need to show all of them but at a minimum we need for restart, shut down, and log off to be visible by default with labels, not just icons.

New vresion/ Done )