2011-11-13 8 Comments
Scaled Screenshot of Ubuntu 11.10 Unity’s Dash on a neutral background:
The 8 items in the home screen of Ubuntu Unity’s Dash have been found to be confusing in user testing and will be replaced for the next release.
I think the initial content should be similar to the search results that will be listed once there is text input. Basically the first n matches for a search for everything.
The search should be sub-string based, maybe even fuzzy and even support the categories that can be used in the filter section, to make the most of the user’s input. Especially when searching for files, one might remember a part of a name, not necessarily the beginning. Fuzziness should help with typos or variations in either input or searched content.
Turning the top panel transparent on activating the Dash suggests a connection to the right-side indicator menus, where there is none. It necessitates a variation of the window Close, Minimize and Maximize buttons.
The lense-switching buttons at the bottom seem odd. This placement almost maximizes the distance from the Dash trigger button. It gets ridiculous, if you maximize the Dash, especially on a large display. These buttons determine the entire content, which suggests they should be at the top or maybe on the left side. But what if the layout can be simplified by using the lense buttons both as section headers and pathways to their sections?
Rough, explorative mockups:
A second click on the Dash button closes the Dash, making it have the same function as the window Close button in this state. Could this be visualized? An admittedly brutal attempt, just to illustrate the idea:
I wonder if avoiding the potentially disruptive impression of the entire screen being taken over is worth having a Maximize button for the Dash and a layout that increases the need for scrolling (or paging as alternative). The button is yet another detail on the screen and costs the user a decision, not necessarily only once. Without it, the always disabled Minimize button could go, too.