Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1 - Launching apps takes a few steps to many

I finally downloaded Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1, code named "Oneiric Ocelot". The first thing you will probably notice when you get to desktop is the Applications and Files shortcuts on the dock are missing, and the Dash shortcut has moved from the task bar to a more prominent place on the dock.

Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop

Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop

Dash takes a more prominent place in Oneiric Ocelot. Lets fire up the dash and look for my apps. Apps can be found on the third button at the bottom of the Dash.



After navigating to the apps menu, I am happy to see Ubuntu cleaned things up already removed the list of "Favorites" (errata: I was wrong about this. The most frequenty used apps are displayed again). My favorite apps would be on my dock anyway once I customize the dock. Putting a app short cut on the dock, gives you one click access to your favorite apps. 

The applications menu will show you installed apps and apps available for download. You can click "See 77 more results to show you all your installed apps" or "Filter results".

Selecting Filter results brings up Lenses. Lenses allows you to filter results by type. In this case I selected accessories. Here I selected "Accessories", which will show you the first four installed apps by alphabetical order.



To show all accessories you have to select "See more 11 results".


Ubuntu insistence on showing you applications installed for download, in the application menu, results in the need for additional mouse clicks. I think applications available for download should be move somewhere else.

The path to launching an app can be as long as:

a) Dash ---> Applications ---> Filter results ---> Select Filter ----> See more results ---> Scroll to app ---> Launch app 

This requires 8 separate actions. The available filters should be shown by default. This would save you one mouse click.  Removing apps available for download would save one more mouse click.

If you opt not to use filters you could locate apps this way:

b) Dash ---> Applications ---> Show all apps ---> Scroll to app ---> Launch app

This requires 5 separate actions. Removing apps available for download would one more mouse click.

But really, launching an app should be as simple as:

a) Applications ---> Select Filter ----> Scroll to app ---> Launch app

This requires 4 separate actions.

- or -

a) Applications ---> Scroll to app ---> Launch app

This requires 3 separate actions.

Basically, I think Unity is 2 to 4 mouse clicks from the an optimum set-up.

If you compare this to Gnome 3, launching an app with Gnome 3 requires less actions:

a) Activities ---> Applications ---> Select Filter ----> Scroll to app ---> Launch app

This requires 5 separate actions.

- or -

a) Activities ---> Applications ---> Scroll to app ---> Launch app

This requires 4 separate actions.

As far as launching apps is concerned, Gnome 3 requires 1 to 3 "steps" less than Unity.

Overall though, Unity is a nice desktop, but a little more evolution, and simplification is needed.

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