Other pages for this artwork cycle:

User Interaction

Finding new ways to re-allocate space on the desktop. Experiment with new UI elements and enhance productivity giving a cleaner desktop.


Currently, other OS have an unique way for users to interact with their desktop. A company, has decided to put the application title among the menus and keeping the application window clean. Other company, has decided to completely hide the menubar from the official supported apps, like their file manager and the office tools.

Nowadays, the Ubuntu default desktop is cute, but waste too much space. The fact that the users needs to go to the top of the screen to launch an application and then go to the bottom to switch between them, is a lack of consistency, a non-productive method of interacting with the windows. In the other hand, we have a taskbar with a big button for each window. It's proved that users tend to recognize better which application they want to run by the icon, no the name.

One Panel by default

Karmic Koala is seeking to give a new and unique look to the desktop, so, if Ubuntu has been two-panels for long years, now it's time to jump to a new direction. Also, having two panels, makes Ubuntu looks like an ordinary Gnome-based distribution and I think that's not what we want.


  • Space save: instead of having 40px for panels, we could only take 24-30.
  • More productive interaction: Keeping all task inside the same panel.

Mix Titlebar with Menubar

Almost every application is wasting a lot of space at the left of their titles. That space could be used to put togheter a new way of handling windows in the desktop. If we take two cases to compare, we will see that Apple has mixed them in the top-panel; Microsoft has hided those elements. We know the menubar is very important, but the app title is not that much. If we put them together in every window, we will have an unique feel.


  • A new way of interact with the windows
  • Almost 30px of extra space
  • Use the wasted space at the left of the titlebar.
  • A real alternative compared to MAC and WIN.

Icons Instead of Buttons For App Switching

As I said before, it's proved that user recognize best apps when they look at the icon. Many users, install and adopt Docks in their Ubuntu desktops, maybe they feel more confortable when they use the same icon for launching the app and switching it. I think we should use that principle to replace the win-like-taskbar.


  • Space save.
  • Bring happines to dock users.
  • Throws the win-like taskbar.
  • Mix Launchers with taskbar.

Replace the SysTray

When we (as developers) put an icon into the systray, we want the user to look at this for app notifications and to acces quick actions from a drop-down menu. If we mix the above idea with this one, we could we a totally new user experience. Mixing launchers with the taskbar, gives a unified way to start, switch and manage applications. Mixing launchers, taskbar and systray, gives a unified control point.

First, we launch the app, manage it from the same icon and if we want quick-commands (the drop-down menu from the icon in the systray) we right-click on the same icon.

I'm not talknig of delete the systray; certain elements like battery gauge or network connection doesn't have another place to live in. The idea is the re-use the launcher to open, minimize, restore/maximize, close and acces quick-command menu.


  • A unified way for handling apps
  • A great space save.
  • A clean desktop.
  • A revolutionary way of intercating with the desktop.

Concept Art

Use Window Applets in Top Panel

Window Applets are GNOME Panel applets that substitute the window title and buttons. I decided to make this because GNOME violates Fitts's Law by putting a panel between the maxed window buttons and the corner of the screen. These applets were designed to solve the problem. By default they specifically control maximized windows, but can be configured to control active windows instead. The Window Buttons applet has an option that instructs Compiz to hide decorations on maximized windows. By default the applets are hidden when there are no windows to control present.

Here is a of what it could look like.


  • Save precious vertical space (do not need decoration on maximized windows anymore).
  • Solve Fitts's law violation.
  • Better work-flow (no more need to aim for the close button on maximized windows).
  • Additional modes of tracking/controlling windows (configuring the applets differently).





I would be very happy if someone check the redaction of this idea, my English isn't so good

  • With Gnome 3 just around the corner, I don't think a change like this will be given much thought. You should check out: - best regards MadsRH

  • Regarding a single panel, this has be left to the people at Canonical. I doubt anyone can offer a new argument here. Regarding mixing titlebar and menubar, this idea comes up again and again. Could work in some cases, but you have to deal with long filenames in window titles and also long menus, so it should be one or 2 bars depending on the space required/offered. -- t-w- 2009-04-27 16:26:17

  • The idea of the menu bar being moved into the title bar could not work for everything, there would have to be a request from the window manager to the program that would replicate the original menubar, hide it, and put the copy of it in the title bar. This works everywhere on a Mac because all of the programs belong to them, so they just make it so that the menu is in the title bar. It would probably be very difficult to get compiz and nautilus to work together like that anyway, since they are standalone programs that can also be used elsewhere.
  • Your idea for multi-purpose launchers is genius though, you should get in contact with one of the people who coded the original launchers and task bar and see what you can come up with.


Artwork/Incoming/Concepts/Panels_and_Bars (last edited 2010-01-17 13:49:57 by andrejx)