codename: Mantis

Create a replacement for the current desktop-handling way, and inherit common user actions/task in a nice way, taking all the beneffits from GNOME-Do, Mayanna and Zeitgeist.


VBar is a desktop enhancement for the GNOME enviroment, specially for the Ubuntu distribution, the most popular Linux GNOME-based distribution.

From a designer point of view, the current GNOME desktop waste a lot of space on the screen and provides several, but not enough, functionality.

The human eye, and specifically the occidental culture, reads from left to right and from top to bottom. This is the first clue of the ideal desktop.

The first sight guides us to the top-left part of the screen, so the most important things of the desktop should be on that side; those things we want the user to use everyday and everytime.

However, the biggest part of the PC users are right-handed, that means that the most quickly task and items should be on the right side; the items we want the user to have the less attention possible, but enough to work quickly with that items.

Other important details, is the current screen types. A good portion of the PC users have a widescreen monitor, providing a lot of extra space on both sides of the screen, that the current (and the next) GNOME desktop doesn't use.

VBar, tries to optimize the screen space, the most common tasks and the users life that depends on the tools we could provide them; also, tries to make a centric place where all the common tasks can be made, gathering the most popular activities on the desktop for a home user as well as a professional user.


The desktop will have two bars on both edges of the screen. The left one, will be centric place of all activities like open apps, folder or files; chat with friends or receive social networks updates; view the current playing song or adjust the volume; connect to the internet, wathc the battery level, schedule a date, see the time, mark a task as done, write a new note or shutdown the system.

This bar is inspired in the Mayanna concepts, but with all the common task in the same place.

The right bar will be the classic taskbar switcher and the systray. Launchers maybe will be included there, but the dock concept (mixing launchers with taskbar) is prefered or the favourites list on the left bar.


This is one of the most important concepts of VBar. Basically, the idea is to condense the titlebar with the menu bar. To do this, only the short name of the application will be show in the title bar, without the document name (but visible on the taskbar tooltip). For example, for Firefox on www.somedomain.com, the titlebar will be:

Firefox | File Edit View [...]

and the taskbar tooltip will be:

Page Title - Mozilla Firefox


On tabs based apps, this is no inconvenient to see wich document is currently open, because the tab says it, and the titlebar practically is not considered.

There's no doubt that the current HIG naming of the apps menu is really friendly ("Firefox web browser" for Mozilla Firefox), but once the app is launched we can use the real (short) name of the app.

This is not a ramdon decission. Several times novice users tends to call "Mozilla" to Mozilla Firefox, or just "Browser" (or even [web] explorer), it may not sound as a big issue, but if a user needs to know wich app if beign updated or needs to fill a bug, the name of the app is essencial. Showing only the shortname of the app on the titlebar will solve those isuues, keeping the user-friendly way to find the target application.

The windows move will be done trugh the app name, showing the positioning hand (or the arrows) when the user pass the mouse over the app name.


Messages and notifications have a context, it's really obvious that a IM messages comes from a different source than the "Updates availables" one. Following this, on VBar, ech notification will graphically point to the source, beign a service of the left bar or an app on the right taskbar. This could help us to slowly replace the systray for the libnotify messages.



VBar (last edited 2009-08-18 16:55:57 by nat-wifi-prof)