We have moved to a new Sailfish OS Forum. Please start new discussions there.

[feature-request] Dynamic Icons showing status information

asked 2014-02-28 23:23:10 +0300

Tim Drub gravatar image

updated 2015-02-15 03:30:28 +0300

simo gravatar image

Maybe I have't completely adapted to the Jolla way of doing things, yet but I mostly hang around in the home and app launcher screens. One thing I am missing is the mail, messages, calendar, etc. icons to show if the app has information waiting for me.

This way I would just get the info while doing stuff and I don't have to go the events screen all the time just to check if there could be new mail, etc.

edit retag flag offensive close delete


As a long-time iOS user, I am accustomed to this too, and would like to see it in Sailfish also.

ssahla ( 2014-02-28 23:33:24 +0300 )edit

3 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2015-02-15 02:50:58 +0300

sifartech gravatar image

updated 2015-02-15 19:21:51 +0300

Sailfish displays it multi-tasking abilities through minimized app covers that can display "real-time" data, and also allows the user to perform additional app tasks by left-right swipe gestures on the cover. So yes, why not do something similar with the icons too?

Sailfish dynamic icons could be "informational" and / or "behavioural" -
Informational - Display app data / status by changing the icon graphic or by an overlay on top of the icon.
Behavioural - Allow user interaction on the icon to execute some particular app task.

Example 1: Clock App with dynamic icon
1. Info - Display time (or only hours, minutes or seconds) on icon.
2. Info - Display remaining time from timer and alarm on icon.
3. Behavioural - Allow quick access to timer, stopwatch and alarm ("Long pressing" the clock app icon can fade the screen and display additional icons around it corresponding to the timer, stopwatch and alarm actions / options).

Example 2: Calendar App with dynamic icon
1. Info - Display date and / or number of upcoming events on icon.
2. Behavioural - Allow quick access to create an event (through "tap" gesture - single tap to open the app, double tap to go to the "create new event" view.)

And so on ...

Windows Phone OS has "live" tiles that update and show data. Sailfish app covers also do this. Apple ios and some Android ports / skins have "dynamic" icons that display data - by changing the icon graphic and / or displaying a "badge" with count over the icon. Adding such "dynamic" icons (with added functionality) would enhance Sailfish while also showcasing it's superior multi-tasking ability, in my opinion.


edit flag offensive delete publish link more



+1, very nice ideas. One thing we must take care of is that the solution would be resource wise (started only when entering launcher screen, and with enough of free RAM) - which might cause slower opening of the launcher (depending on the icon list and their dynamic content). Also 3rd party devs should have a possibility to implement dynamic content to their app icons - so, there's a lot to think about.

My opinion: Some light content, which adds true value to the user, would really be great. Flick gesture(s) on app icons would be awesome, as suggested in your behavioral examples. I'd love to have two flicks on my browser icon to open my two most important bookmarks, for example.

simo ( 2015-02-15 03:20:16 +0300 )edit

Yeah, this feature may use a little bit more resource and so the OOM handler will need to be even more fine-tuned. I think "flick" gestures on icons will be tough though. I tried flicking on the browser app icon (trying to simulate the gesture you mentioned), and the screen immediately scrolled up. I think this "sensitivity" is what makes the "flick for scrolling" gesture so effortless. If they add "flick over icons" gesture, then we would have to be very careful while scrolling the screen to ensure we don't accidentally flick over any icon and trigger some unwanted action. "Flicking up / down" gestures on the cover though shouldn't affect usability much if the cover size could be kept constant and doesn't dynamically become smaller (like now, when more than 4 apps are opened). Come to think of it, it would help if the icons were a little bigger too, for dynamic icons to be more effective ... just a little bigger.

sifartech ( 2015-02-15 03:56:30 +0300 )edit

good points again. Maybe the angle between horizontal/vertical flick could be set to its optimal, so that there would be close to no effect to scrolling. +1 for slightly bigger icons.

simo ( 2015-02-15 11:04:35 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-28 23:54:39 +0300

clau gravatar image

updated 2014-03-01 00:00:20 +0300

This is what the active covers are for. For instance, the email app's active cover will show you the information you need, plus you can interact with the app without opening it full screen.

Have a look at this section of the guide. Read "Home screen and Covers" subsection.

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



I don't always have the Email app open. Or Messages, Store, Calendar, Phone... These all could show the notification count in the icon. This would be in addition to the great functionality and information app covers offer.

ssahla ( 2014-03-01 00:07:59 +0300 )edit

But that's the point of having active covers: leave open whatever you use more often. More so, you will get notifications for new events (sound, vibra, LED), so you don't need to always manually check the Events screen.
That being said, I wouldn't mind having this feature, redundant as it is.

clau ( 2014-03-01 00:15:09 +0300 )edit

It is somewhat redundant, but not altogether. There are reasons to have not too many apps open, like to save battery/cpu/memory, or to keep the home screen less cluttered and have bigger covers for the apps that are running. With dynamic icons you could see a little bit of information also from those apps you don't have open – like that missed call you forgot already, or a new update in the Store, a calendar invitation, etc.

Anyway, I see your point. Some will feel this is needed, some won't. :)

ssahla ( 2014-03-01 00:38:40 +0300 )edit

Ok, you got my vote :). It could be a less-dynamic notification system, which is part of the Events mechanism and requires no changes in the implementation of the apps. Whenever there's a new event for an app, the icon associated with the app is updated to reflect the number of events.

clau ( 2014-03-02 19:03:07 +0300 )edit

Yes, clau, this sounds pretty much like what I am looking for.

Also, redundancy's not necessarily something bad. People are just different and make use of different approaches to achieve the same goals. I for example, am a notorious window closer on standard desktop systems. If there are too many windows open I start feeling uncomfortable. I recognize having a little bit the same attitude on mobile non-windows systems.

So if the efforts are acceptable why not give it a try?

Tim Drub ( 2014-03-03 11:41:46 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-11-13 23:41:57 +0300

Bavarian gravatar image

After using Sailfish for more than 2 years I still miss such a feature. Like a notification icon over the app icon to show in which app to expect smth new (notifications in facebook, unread mails in Email or Whatsapp, etc.)

Would find it very useful in addition to the existing notification list (which I find unpractical to use)

@Jolla: some upate on this one to expect?

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

Question tools



Asked: 2014-02-28 23:23:10 +0300

Seen: 885 times

Last updated: Nov 13 '17