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[updated] Idea: 8 cover actions + close app using swipe only

asked 2013-12-27 07:35:58 +0300

gukke gravatar image

updated 2014-01-31 03:30:58 +0300

chemist gravatar image

Hello! This is an idea for how Sailfish could provide up to eight cover actions + close app option, using only swipe and release. No long press or other stuff is needed. It works very similar to how cover actions work today and is to be viewed as an extension of current active cover functionality, providing the possibility to add up to eight cover actions + close app, as well as ample visual feedback (you thumb is not in the way of what you are doing).

This image illustrates the essence of the idea: image description

The user swipes the cover, in this case the settings app, causing icons representing cover options (+ close app) to appear in stead of covers of other open apps (if any). Thumb movement is represented by the green arrow and the yellow arrow is a scaled up version of the green arrow that the system uses in order to select the desired action (the user gets haptic feedback every time a different action is highlighted, just like now). Without it, the user would have to move all over the screen in order to select an option. Instead, the user will now be able to select options all over the screen with small amounts of thumb movement, barely moving outside the space of the active cover. This also means that the thumb will never be in the way of what you want to select. Obviously, both of these arrows are invisible in real use.

UPDATE: a better alternative to having all actions appear all over the screen the instant you start swiping a cover would work like this:
1. You swipe left or right on a cover.
2. If you simply wanted one of the standard left/right actions, you release and the action is selected. Thus far everything is exactly as today, even visually.
3. But if you wanted one of the extended actions, you begin swiping vertically (down or up depending on where the cover you activated is situated).
4. This vertical motion causes the extended options to appear like in the picture , and from there everything works as described above.
This way, you don't have to chock the user with stuff popping up all over the screen just because he/she begins swiping left or right (I can see that this clashes with the minimalistic/simple/user-friendly approach) but instead, the options are hidden yet easily accessible would the user need them

So, now the problem of "but which options should be where, and what happens if the active cover used is not the one in the middle?" In my mind, the best way to solve this is having a list (1-8) of cover actions. Here, cover actions are automatically rated by the system depending on how often they are used, with the added ability for users to pin actions. Higher rated options will always appear closer to the users thumb, regardless of where on the screen the activated cover happens to be, and options rated 1 and 2 will always be left and right. Some users would never even have to know this list existed, others would want to tweak it to perfection.

I'm sorry, I tried to be brief, but what is complicated for the developer is sometimes the opposite for the user!

ps. Parasemic posted a similar idea where you access the additional actions by long-pressing instead of swiping. The user could always simply get to choose which alternative suits him/her best. ds.

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Great idea! Jolla, please implement this asap. One of those actions could be "close app" so we wouldn't need this old fashioned "press x to close" thing. And I think long press + slide to desired action area would be better than swipe + tap (that way we wouldn't have to release touch but use only one smooth continous gesture).

jii ( 2013-12-27 10:58:23 +0300 )edit

You are right about one of the actions should definitely be "close app"! But you misunderstand one thing about how it's supposed to work -- no long press is needed -- you just activate the cover by swiping it, just as you do now, and the action areas appear. No long pressing, no tapping, just swipe!

gukke ( 2013-12-27 14:07:25 +0300 )edit

The tap is needed for launching the action. I think it would be better to long press to open the possible actions and then just slide to the desired action icon or area. I think it would feel smoother, no need to release your finger before selecting the action. Swipe+slide works too. But no tapping.

jii ( 2013-12-27 16:33:01 +0300 )edit

Using whole screen estate doesn't seem to fit Jollas minimalistic aproach. It would also bring up some menu options which you don't already see before you start. So as a combination of getting more and keeping it minimalistic I suggest maximum of 6 gestures. Left, Right, L-Down, L-Up, R-Down, R-Up.

MikkoZ ( 2013-12-27 16:37:04 +0300 )edit

@jii Personally I really don't like the long press, it feels slow. Why would you want to long press instead of just swipe? But I agree on no tapping! With my idea, it is only one continuous swipe for activating cover and move to action, then release to select action. Swipe, release = fast :)

gukke ( 2013-12-27 21:13:50 +0300 )edit

1 Answer

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answered 2013-12-29 11:59:40 +0300

Makarand gravatar image

updated 2013-12-30 11:56:15 +0300

eric gravatar image

Agree with @MikkoZ; just tried on Call cover it shows two options at the bottom of cover option of a dial pad or a Call contact list. Message cover if I long press and swipe opens new message.

This aligns with minimalistic approach and I prefer it.

Now example of settings cover does not give these options - are there too many options? or since these options impact functionality of the phone we do not have these option is a question to answer.

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As to your examples with the call and message covers -- that would all work the exact same way using this solution. And you don't have to add all 8 options if you don't want to... I just find I'm opening apps most of the time, especially settings, and therefore I used settings as an example.

gukke ( 2013-12-29 14:51:56 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2013-12-27 07:35:58 +0300

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Last updated: Dec 30 '13