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Solving the cover-actions

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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 :-)

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

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Last updated: Oct 23 '15