Ask / Submit

Solving the cover-actions

asked 2015-09-05 18:43:49 +0200

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-09-09 21:51:23 +0200

nodevel gravatar image

Cover actions were one of the best and most used (at least for me) features of Sailfish 1.0. The change that came in the new UI converted the gestures to buttons (and limiting them to one for official apps, but that's another story).

While I understand the need for rethinking horizontal swipes as triggers for the cover actions (it would interfere with the carousel navigation), I think that the chosen solution is worse than removing the cover actions altogether (which I'd hate to see).

I have never accidentally triggered a cover action in Sailfish 1.0, but I am constantly triggering them in 2.0.

  • In the upper row of the apps, the trigger is directly below one's thumb, so you need to stretch your finger out of your comfort zone
  • I am often triggering cover actions without wanting to (instead of opening apps) and I am quite an advanced user - imagine how confusing it will be for regular users

It is a big problem, so I am proposing either rethinking the trigger to something more useful and intuitive, or removing cover actions altogether. I for one will be removing cover actions from my apps, if this doesn't change before the final version of Sailfish 2.0 UI.

A call for other users - please provide possible solutions as comments to this post.

PS: I admit I am writing this a bit angry - I was trying to make a calendar event and needed to check an e-mail to find the details. When coming back from an e-mail, I accidentally hit the '+' action of the Calendar app and everything was lost.

edit retag flag offensive close delete



One possible solution (not elegant, but better than the current approach) could be using double tap. One tap would change the color of the button, as an indicator for the action, while the second one would trigger it.

nodevel ( 2015-09-05 18:47:38 +0200 )edit

In Sailfish OS 1 the screens are positioned vertically, in version 2 horizontally. Why not simply change the cover swipe direction from left/right to up/down?

ibins ( 2015-09-05 19:11:09 +0200 )edit

@ibins because the home screen is also vertically scrollable: it's now possible to open more than 9 applications. Obviously that rarely happen due to the OOM killer, but that's for another topic... :)

g7 ( 2015-09-05 19:42:21 +0200 )edit

@ibins I thought of that as well, but the problem is (actually, it is quite a nice feature) that now you can have more than 9 apps and then the list becomes scrollable and scrolling would interfere with that gesture. EDIT: Ouch, @g7 beat me by 1 minute :)

A solution could be that your up/down cover actions would be visible only if there are <=9 apps open.

nodevel ( 2015-09-05 19:44:01 +0200 )edit

@ibins: impossible, the app covers are a vertically scrollable list.

@nodevel: it took some getting used to as I probably always tapped covers at the bottom, but I'm not hitting the buttons anymore after a couple of days using it now. I do agree that it's not nice that they can be accidentally selected in the first place. I bet the buttons work superb on a tablet, but on a phone they're a bit small, yet big enough to get in the way.

My proposal would be to only allow to move between home/events(/partnerspace) with swipes from the edges, then cover actions are still possible by swiping on the covers. This is how I already do it anyway.

nthn ( 2015-09-05 19:45:30 +0200 )edit

13 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2015-10-07 22:33:01 +0200

updated 2015-10-07 22:50:42 +0200

Based on the idea in @nodevel's answer to leverage the apparently unambiguous "pull down from cover" gesture, could we instead combine that with the old gesture?


  • Pull down, then left to execute cover action 1
  • Pull down, then right to execute cover action 2

Visualized using green arrows for the upper right app:

image description

This would supposedly still be almost as easy to perform as just the old pull left / pull right gestures, but without conflicting with the new way of switching between the events view and the home screen.

If I find the time I can try to implement this, but if @nodevel or anybody feels like it, go ahead!

Credits: @nodevel for original idea and for the picture I reused :-)

edit flag offensive delete publish link more


To make everybody happy, I would make it configurable whether to execute cover actions by buttons (as in 1.1.9.x) or by using some gesture (for example as described in this answer).

xkr47 ( 2015-10-07 22:33:54 +0200 )edit

I'm not sure if we can use pull-down gesture all the time because the home screen is now pannable.

AliN ( 2015-10-07 23:55:17 +0200 )edit

Jaakko's thoughts: :P

xkr47 ( 2015-10-08 09:25:27 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-10-01 00:33:06 +0200

M.Bln. gravatar image

Copy from here:

What about this: why not put new caroussel sites (events and partner space) next to the top menu? The change could be optional / configurable with a menu entry in settings.

This way you can still use horizontal swipes for cover action in home site. Compare here: You would have sites ordered in Form of a "T" instead of an cross.

What do you think sailors?

edit flag offensive delete publish link more

answered 2015-09-11 21:55:04 +0200

Mced gravatar image

My proposal:


So every app's cover could be customized:

  • Tap buttons (default in Sailfish 2.0).
  • Swipe buttons.
  • No buttons at all.

Let's say Average Joe buys a brand new Jolla running Sailfish 2.0. Covers will work the new "tap way" and config will be like:

:cover behaviour:
sailfish browser: tap buttons
settings: no buttons
media: tap buttons
mail: tap buttons

But Average Joe wants to promote to Advanced Swipe Joe and needs cover swipping in Media and Lighthouse app, while doesn't care about cover buttons on any other apps; actually, Joe's thick fingers and tap buttons don't fit very well. Custom config could be:

:cover behaviour:
sailfish brower: no buttons
settings: no buttons
media: swipe buttons
lighthose: swipe buttons
mail: no buttons

This way, Sailfish 2.0's left/right swipping (Events/Partnership) would keep working. Only on those covers selected as "swipe buttons", behaviour would be different: our good old cover actions.

And, as these settings would be hidden as "advanced options", new users wouldn't be disturbed by this "weird" doing.

edit flag offensive delete publish link more

answered 2015-09-07 20:16:02 +0200

M.Bln. gravatar image

updated 2015-10-23 22:43:15 +0200

Because in-screen-swiping is assigned to Caroussel switching why not an option to replace the new cover actions OPTIONALLY with this?...

  • reopen an app: double tap the cover
  • de-/activate an app: single tap (maybe shown via a coloured cover frame off/on, where 'on' holds for 3 or 5 sec.)
  • use cover actions: swipe cover AFTER app activation

So you can simply use the cover actions. It doesnt interfere with horizontal scrolling and it's intuitive cuz widely known from desktop guis.

(I suggested it already here:

edit flag offensive delete publish link more

answered 2015-09-07 15:34:39 +0200

Pam gravatar image

In SailfishOS 1.x.x the whole cover area is reserved for cover-action (left right). In SailfishOS 2.0, let only the lower 1/4 part of the cover be reserved for cover-action. Then we could have 4 cover-actions (left, right, up and down). Outside this area let us have nomal SailfishOS 2.0 swipe behavior. Pam

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



That combines the bad aspects of the old and the new cover actions and leaves out all the good ones.

nthn ( 2015-09-07 17:32:18 +0200 )edit

Please explain.

Pam ( 2017-11-10 12:29:27 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-09-06 16:38:09 +0200

nodevel gravatar image

updated 2015-09-06 18:46:08 +0200

My proposal is creating pulley menus on the app covers. I had this idea months ago and I think it's worth a try.

Here is my patch, that enables this.

Read more about it here and read the warnings especially!


PS: Opened the original question, as I have not heard from chemist yet (with his reasoning about closing this).

edit flag offensive delete publish link more


Can't test now, but seems to be a good idea.

malibu1106 ( 2015-09-06 16:45:14 +0200 )edit

your idea deserves its own thread, please split it out. I closed this question again.

chemist ( 2015-09-06 20:10:34 +0200 )edit

@chemist I will not open it again, but please provide reasoning for closing it. Did you read the last paragraph, which was there from the beginning?

My idea deserves its own thread just like any other idea in this thread. This thread is based on user experience and is focused on finding possible solutions. The thread you're referring to is completely different.

There are already 7 answers to this thread - do you think it is better to create 7 new threads just for the sake of closing this one? I don't see the reasoning behind it.

nodevel ( 2015-09-06 20:28:13 +0200 )edit

Seems interesting, but my problem is the inteference with vertical scrolling.

AliN ( 2015-09-06 20:45:39 +0200 )edit

because reasons? collector-threads on a voting platform are a bad idea in general. The possible solutions to your problem are so general that it hurts, the simplest solution is to have it like 1.0UI... as 2.0 simply uses pulls and swipes for the same action twice! So if you want to rework cover-actions do that instead of hijacking a painpoint of this ui change!

chemist ( 2015-09-06 20:59:47 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-09-06 13:28:54 +0200

shfit gravatar image

updated 2015-09-06 18:29:59 +0200

I like @Moth's idea, it's intuitive. It could be combined with a "reverse peek" kind of mode. What I mean by this, is that if you tap and hold a cover, it shows a full screen/zoomed in version of the app cover which allows you to view additional information of the app without actually "opening it" permanently. While in full screen/zoomed in mode, the user is shown a couple of actions like @Moth suggested, which would be activated by sliding to the action and releasing. These actions would also include standard actions like close and open. If the user just lets go of the hold without selecting a cover action, the full screen/zoom in returns to the home screen again. This would allow you to peek into the apps and/or interact with them with a "single" gesture. The interactions could also be implemented by a pulley menu instead of buttons/icons. So you would tap and hold to peek into the app/app cover and then pull to reveal a pulley menu and select your cover action from there. After selecting the action the zoomed in/full screen cover returns to the home screen.

edit flag offensive delete publish link more

answered 2015-09-06 12:55:06 +0200

chemist gravatar image

duplicate of

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



I disagree. Did you read the text of this question (especially the last paragraph)?

This is based on user experience (not on speculations like the thread before) and it is focused on finding alternative solutions.

nodevel ( 2015-09-06 14:29:26 +0200 )edit

The other thread is based on MWCB, has alreday discussion and 4 times the votes, it is a wiki already... append there. Oh and btw some version people installed from repos without a public release by jolla are also not said to be final!

chemist ( 2015-09-06 20:01:32 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-09-06 12:31:49 +0200

MartinK gravatar image

updated 2015-09-06 12:33:09 +0200

What about tap-and-swipe ?

The current area holding the two action buttons would be replaced by a single big action button. Clicking the button would lock the global horizontal swiping and show the swipable cover actions. (basically bringing the old behavior back)

So basically bringing the old behavior back with the only downside being to click on a reasonably sized button beforehand.

This could also possibly be extended to lock also vertical swipes so that vertical cover actions could be added.

(Extending the original idea proposed by @Moth. Thanks!)

edit flag offensive delete publish link more


yup, it takes ca two seconds after an tap till the close button appears. in between would be enough time to start a swipe.

pawel ( 2015-09-12 16:15:37 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-09-06 02:44:16 +0200

MartinK gravatar image

Just make it optional - at least I'm read to swipe outside of app covers just to get this feature back. :)

edit flag offensive delete publish link more
Login/Signup to Answer

Question tools



Asked: 2015-09-05 18:43:49 +0200

Seen: 3,617 times

Last updated: Oct 23 '15