Hi everybody,

I have just received OTA-13 – thanks to everyone involved! – and had a few thoughts/questions about design, rather on the UX level (if I understand these things correctly). Watch out, that's a loooong mail, but I tried to be comprehensive and clear :).


1) The small part
In the new notification panel there is a setting in "Vibration" regarding whether the device should vibrate when in Silent mode. The choice is presented in the form of a list, and I found it strange. If the choice is "do" or "don't", shouldn't a switch or a checkbox be more appropriate?

2) The slightly less small part
The new network indicator now displays an empty SIM card for the second slot in the phone (if you don't have a second SIM card of course). What's the point of this change? Most people have only one SIM card, right, so why waste space in the indicator panel for something like that? The previous behaviour was much better. Because if we go down that path, why not always display the keyboard, rotation or file indicators (I'm not saying we should!)? Or maybe this is just a bug?

3) The bigger but not-so-new part
Finally, I wanted to talk about the launcher a bit. Nothing new here! I understand the idea behind the fact that it's inverted in staged mode, but I still have doubts about it. Maybe someone could shed some light on this :).

On the phone, the Dash button is at the bottom so you can access it more easily. But after one and a half year with my Ubuntu phone, I found that I very rarely use this button, since a long swipe has the same result and is faster (same conclusion from my other testing subject, but she never opens the Dash on the desktop either, so…). And on the tablet, it actually is less accessible than if it were at the top, since your thumb is most likely to be somewhere near the top. So is it really a good reason to invert the launcher? I think a user does not mind changes in the UI as long as they understand their purpose (like window decoration), but this one seems more confusing than important.

Personnally, I feel that things get problematic with a device capable of "dual modes", like the tablet. It's OK if your phone doesn't have the same launcher as your desktop, they are two separate entities. Not so with the tablet. When I reach for the launcher to open some app, I'm not looking for the right icon. I'm looking for the icon at the right position (is that standard human behaviour or are we a minority to think like that?). When you use your tablet as a PC and then as a tablet, there's always a moment of hesitation and you have to sift through the icons to find the good one – which breaks the whole "rapid launch" concept – because your app is not where you expect it to be.

Actually, I think that's quite similar to the "back" button story in Ubuntu. Originally it was in the Bottom edge, exactly in the same part of the screen than the Dash button, for the same reason. And it made sense (and you use the "back" button far more often than the Dash button). But it has been decided to move it in the header, which is quite harder to access, but is where people expect it to be. Two design principles clash: having the most important part of the UI always very accessible, or conforming to the users' habits, however "wrong" they might be.

If we don't want to confuse the user, we should not invert the launcher. So the next question is: which orientation is best fit for all? Is the classic top-down launcher currently used on the desktop the best one? Should we consider having the Dash at the bottom of the screen? Many people are accustomed to that because of the Windows Start menu, and it might also be easier to have a consistent design for the new Dash for users who want the whole launcher at the bottom (like in Kylin) since the Dash button would be exactly at the same place. And anyway, since there's not a bit of orange left in the UI, this big orange square is bound to draw people's attention wherever it might be!

tl;dr, if what I've written makes sense, the launcher inversion introduces confusion, and this outweights the potential advantages. So why do it?

What am I missing? I know the Design team does user testing, was this issue ever mentionned during the process?

I'd be interested to know what other Ubuntu users think on that matter!

Again, thank you all for your great work!


Guillaume


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