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Swipe to switch between Running Apps / App Launcher (N9 style)

asked 2014-01-01 11:43:09 +0300

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updated 2014-10-23 16:47:46 +0300

eric gravatar image

Coming from N9, I really miss swiping between running Apps and app launcher. Personally the ambiance switching is not so super important, that it must be accessible by swiping from the running apps screen.

In my opinion, the UI makes more sense the following way:

..<-> [Lock Screen]  <-> [Ambiance]  <->..
..<-> [Running Apps] <-> [App Launcher] <->..

This has several advantages:

  • The time, signal strength and battery level is always accessed by a swipe left->right or right->left. At the moment, it is accessed by a swipe left->right / right->left only if you are in a running application. If you are on the app launcher, you need to swipe to the lock screen
  • More than 9 running applications can be displayed
  • Less thinking, what action to fulfil. Everything is just a swipe away

The Ambiance Switcher could be accessed through a pulley menu from both running apps and app launcher.

EDIT: Once the lock screen was pushed away, it doesn't make sense to access it again like it is implemented now. The Pulley Menu of the lock screen can be shown in the app launcher and the task switcher screens.

EDIT2: Added Ambiance to the mock up

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I also thought about showing more running apps by swiping right/left but from the middle. Your solution is better in my eyes. I even don't mind if I can change ambience from the lock screen only. How often does that happen?

hardcodes.de ( 2014-01-01 18:33:13 +0300 )edit

I had to remove all ambience favorites to get rid of that ambience change screen. As also an ex-N9 user, i was swiping that screen open once a while...

kimmoli ( 2014-01-01 22:37:38 +0300 )edit

no ambience in pulley nenu is no go. some thirdparty apps already has to many menu items in pulleymenu and add yet one more would be even worse

mike7b4 ( 2014-01-01 23:31:57 +0300 )edit

What is so important about ambiance so it's now occupying the left/right swipes from both home screen and lock screens? I don't get it. I wouldn't mind to drop ambiance at all. Seems like a feature targeted at teenagers.

Overall swipe usage and current screens layout definitely need a revision.

lomo ( 2014-01-01 23:41:21 +0300 )edit

totally agree with you. the way it's implemented in Harmattan is the best, no doubts. Jolla should continue this way unless Nokia has some patent restriction.

DanyZ ( 2014-01-02 00:06:29 +0300 )edit

7 Answers

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answered 2014-01-10 14:21:51 +0300

targon gravatar image

updated 2014-01-10 14:24:21 +0300

Even with the ambience umbrella considered, I also see it confusing accessing it from two levels (open the next door in hallway and you end up to same room).

         [Ambience] <-> [Lock Screen ] <-> [Ambience]
 [Notifications Feed] -> [Running Apps] <- [App Launcher] <-flick for more pages
                               | flick (for more)
                         [Running Apps]

With this we can improve ambience consistency, solve > 9 running apps problem, raise Notifications feed 'closer', make flicking additional launcher pages little more human (IMO flick left, instead of up, is more natural).

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I really like some of the new navigation ideas introduced by Jolla (i.e. the hidden status bar that you just pull when you really need it instead of the all-the-time-there black bar, or the peek concept for a quick check of the battery/time/notifications)

But sometimes I find the current navigation a bit inconsistent. I admit I'm also comming from N900/N9 but I promise I'm trying my best to get use to SailfishOS navigation.

I have been thinking in a idea similar of what targon just commented. I like this idea, and I think it should be extended to the in-app behavior as well. It would make the overall concept more consistent: .

from any app:

  • if you swipe from left to right you go to the [Notifications Feed]
  • if you swipe from right to left you go to the [App Launcher]
  • if you swipe from bottom to top, then you go to [Running Apps]
  • if you swipe from top to bottom, you close the app and go back to [Running Apps]

from the launcher screen:

  • swiping from the left: [Notifications Feed]
  • swiping from the right: [App launcher]
  • swiping/going down: more [Running Apps]
  • going up: [Lock Screen]
  • swiping from the top: turn off the screen

from [lock screen]:

  • swiping from the top: turn off the screen
  • swiping from the left: ambiance/profiles
  • swiping from the right: settings
  • swiping/going down: [Running Apps]

The peek concept will remain as it is right now. .

This way you always have the same behavior regardless if you are in the launcher or inside an app (i.e. swiping/going down is always landing in [Running apps]). Therefore when you are swiping, you know exactly where you are going to land without even looking where you were.

And the key thing: you are always just 1 swipe away from what you want next. Personally, when I'm swiping away from an app, 80% of the time what I really want is to open a new application. Right now after the swipe, I always end in the [running apps] screen, which is not what I want.

Anyway, I know some people would prefer a completely different concept for the navigation, so probably the best solution is to make it customizable.

Jorge ( 2014-01-11 13:52:28 +0300 )edit

If you update in place, later visitors of this topic can not retrace how this idea developed. On the other hand: my life does not depend on it ;-)

hardcodes.de ( 2014-01-18 18:30:57 +0300 )edit

No need to have the notification feed (events-page) on a sideswipe and I very much like to see that the ambience switcher gets enhanced instead of cluttering the UI into little pieces. Left and right behaviour needs to be consistent for left- and right-handed people.

chemist ( 2014-06-25 12:09:33 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-01-03 13:01:36 +0300

Jaakko Roppola gravatar image

updated 2014-01-03 13:22:36 +0300

kMan gravatar image

Copied a reply from another similar suggestion :)

In the long run, Ambiences are intended to be setting umbrellas, where switching between your favorite ambiences would disable and enable a user specified set of system settings. This is just another way of offering you a way to control your device radios and features with the added bon, us of seeing a visual image as a representation of your selected features that extends all the way to application level.

This way, you can have your favorite set of accounts and features enabled when you go running, and have a deep visual indication of it. When you go to bed, you have similarly an image that communicates all your sounds except alarm tone is muted, all accounts are turned off and all features are optimized for power saving.

That's the reason for reserving the border swipes for ambience switcher in both lock and home screens.

We did discuss your proposed design option in the past, but ended up with the vertical arrangement that you're currently experiencing. It serves the quoted intention better and unifies the vertical home view (lock, home and laucher). However, this might be something we will return to later on, so don't lose hope on us just yet :)

For the current design, we will improve the Home multitasking experience (running app limits, folders and such) as we concluded that a single location is better to use as a pivoting point instead of multiple ones in N9 (feeds, launcher, recents). On the N9 you never really knew what location you would end up after swiping an app away.

The reason system information is not prioritized or even shown in Home screen, is because it functions as a node where user stops for a second and continues another task. This means that most of the time, user is either using an application or keeping the device in their pocket/bag etc.

What you suggested is valuable feedback even if it collides with our initial plans. It's a good indication that we can always improve. Much appreciated.

thanks :)

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I can see the points about ambiance and I think it is an interesting aspect to see it as an umbrella for settings (similiar to the profiles found on Symbian devices). Nevertheless, in my opinion it is not used that often, that it just needs to be a swipe away. However switching between application and starting apps is much more often used during the day.

The main problem I see with the current implementation is, that the UX is not consistent: If you want to see the time and network state, you need to swipe from top -> down in the home screen whereas in applications you need to swipe from right -> left / left -> right.

The mentioned N9 problem, where you never know on which location you end after swiping the application away, can be easily solved: If you swipe from right -> left, you will land on the task switcher, swiping from left -> right, you will land on the app launcher.

kMan ( 2014-01-03 13:22:04 +0300 )edit

I as well understand your angle, but we also have to serve great deal of other users and we have to make compromises that fit everyone. If we make everything static and force things, you lose the benefit of dynamic behavior and end up with redundant and overlapping information.

Having a status bar at the top of the screen is an easy way out, but a problem for amoled screens due to static parts burning in and has a performance overhead as it needs to be composited to application pages. We avoid it by making it dynamic, not always visible, but always available.

Time and system information is part of the Home page and you always know where it is because of the transitions when entering it either from lock or an application. We're sorry if you feel it's not consistent.

Thanks for a good discussion :)

Jaakko Roppola ( 2014-01-03 13:51:17 +0300 )edit

The way the status bar is implemented is reasonable and brilliant: it will lead to more space for the applications. I have absolutely no complains about that.

Maybe you will discuss the App Launcher / Task Switcher implementation once more :-)

Thanks for your answers. I really appreciate these.

kMan ( 2014-01-03 14:14:54 +0300 )edit

I always understood Ambience as an umbrella setting and that is just fine. But wouldn't it enough to access those from the lock screen?

   [Ambience] <-> [Lock Screen ] <-> [Ambience]
[Running Apps] -> [App Launcher] <-  [Running Apps]
                     +--- [App Launcher]
                     more pages via flickable
  • swipe from left or right from any app to get to the launcher - same as now
  • swipe right/left from middle of launcher to get next launcher pages = running apps
  • swipe from left or right from lock screen to change Ambience
hardcodes.de ( 2014-01-03 19:51:33 +0300 )edit

I understand the "ambience" concept, but still the settings screen is too far away from a running application screen (swipe from side, swipe up, pulley up, change settings, then swipe and touch to return to app). An idea would be to use the bottom quarter of the "peek" screen as a "goto settings" zone, like suggested here, but for settings instead of closing the app.

idiallo ( 2014-01-03 23:21:04 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-06-25 03:02:54 +0300

Kehis gravatar image

updated 2014-06-25 03:08:03 +0300

Targons alternative would work great for me, but the original thought that went into the N9 is still the smoothest way to go - don't fix what ain't broken. Ambiances would easily fit into that layout. My suggestion:

image description

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I am not going to downvote you as your karma is at this point only 21, but your proposal is cluttering the UX into the same mistake Harmattan had, there is a good reason why it is only 2 areas + lockscreen in Silica and having them accessible the same way always is a key feature. Having 5 screens by sideswipe'ing is way to much and I kind of like to not have the notifications feed (events-page) in my face all the time but accessible from everywhere.

chemist ( 2014-06-25 12:04:48 +0300 )edit

Thanx for the perspective, go on and downvote - it's about getting the system that the community wants and If this is just me, then so be it. As I said, Targons alternative above would also be great.

I thought the Harmattan worked well because you could go through the 3 screens (4 if you count the lock screen) in a second by sideswiping. I included notifications feed in my suggestion as it was, for me, one of the best features with Harmattan, and would be much more useful than an "Ambiance screen" but I get that Ambiance is an importan feature for Jolla so I didn't want to just replace it. The pulley menu would, however, allow you to get to your essential functions in an instant.

Kehis ( 2014-06-25 12:59:51 +0300 )edit

@Kehis notifications are available from everywhere with a single swipe already (bottom up). The ambiences are promised to become much more than just a background and ringtones, hopefully with that there will come shortcuts (eg settings favourites) to the chooser-page

chemist ( 2014-06-25 13:13:47 +0300 )edit

@chemist: I used the N9 before switching to the Jolla. For me a swipe from bottom up is still much more unnatural than swiping two times to the right... So I understand the argumentation of Kehis. As of today, the Ambiance screens are totally useless and just confuse in terms of usability.

kMan ( 2014-06-25 13:18:05 +0300 )edit

@kMan so what you say is you cannot adapt to something that is even less confusing, sounds like switching from old MS-Office layout to new MS-Office. Sure it is a valid point that you are used to something else... I know android users, they are used to have buttons, do you want buttons too?

chemist ( 2014-06-25 13:34:08 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-06-25 07:52:35 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

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

updated 2014-06-25 07:52:35 +0300

Kari gravatar image

@Kabouik had well documented proposal in here


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answered 2014-01-17 07:04:02 +0300

phle gravatar image

Not sure if this is suitable here as well, but here you go: my suggestion over at "Screenborder swipe".

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answered 2014-05-22 15:37:13 +0300

dsilveira gravatar image

updated 2014-05-22 15:39:21 +0300

This is problematic, because you're forgetting about TOH specific page that takes the place of the ambience to the right.

I would propose something like this:

                          [Settings] <> [Lock Screen] <> [TOH] <> [Ambience]
... <> [App 3] <> [App 2] <> [App 1] <>    [Home]     <> [TOH] <> [Ambience]
                              [Home] <- [App Drawer] -> [Home]
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answered 2014-06-25 11:59:13 +0300

chemist gravatar image

If you want to have Harmattan, how about using Harmattan?

What you are trying to circumvent is the missing 10th app on your screen, there are three more or less reasonable approaches without destroying the pretty sweet layout we have right now. (That there are things missing for sideswipes is obvious but lets take one at a time without destroying real-estate)

  1. Have a pinch-to-zoom gesture like on the N9 to change the size to a 4x4, this gives you 2 apps less than a second screen and will still be usable

  2. Have the homescreen scroll up/down before you enter launcher- or lockscreen

  3. Longpress to go to taskmanager and have apps come up front if tapped instead of remaining at their position and going back to homescreen without change

After month of using SFOS now I was forced to go back to N9 and as always it took a while to go from Harmattan UI to Silica it now feels completely unnatural to use the Harmattan UI - the UI was good at times but never knowing where you end up when closing an application can drive you nuts and prevents you from getting to the notification screen by one flick as if I want to go there I swipe and flick in the wrong direction

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I would, but managed to break my N9 and Jolla is taking Sailfish somewhere so I wanted to support them. It's not about making Sailfish to Harmattan because some "never forget"-thing, but giving Jolla a chance and feedback, and making gesture based interface, user customization & development alongside with user community more common in mobile handset and software development in the whole industry. Harmattan did some things really well, Sailfish some even better. The point some of us are making is to bring the good parts of Harmattan, that are currently left out, to Sailfish for the best possible UI. There's no need to think "one or the other".

Kehis ( 2014-06-25 15:50:16 +0300 )edit

Sure, I am just pointing out that all those ideas bring a clustering and remove the "smooth and clean". It is very arguable what we have with the ambiences atm but that is promised to be "very" enhanced in the future. Moving the UI around to make scrolling active apps available is pretty no-go-land to me, cluttering the UI to get something back you actually do not need but you just don't know it or do not believe it doesn't put sense in it, for those with actual use for 10 apps or even more there may be other possibilities for improvement than destroying the current setup for all others!

chemist ( 2014-06-25 16:21:43 +0300 )edit

Well, I'm not arguing for expelling ambiance from the UX, nor destroying the current setup. Even if Harmattan-like horizontal swiping between screens would be made available, ambiance-screen could still fit in in a whole lot of places. Now, it just take's up a lot of possibilities for very little in exchange. I'm simply arguing for enhancing the UX a little bit (with the best of Harmattan, according to me) or making it customizable.

Kehis ( 2014-06-25 17:02:39 +0300 )edit

No question! But it is customizable already, see patchmanager. So we are really about habit ;) horizontal replacing vertical is habit, but remember that horizontal you need to have a going round and round for left/right handed people, vertical you only have one top side and that applies therefore for both (read, you have two sides but only one top). What is the best of Harmattan? The only thing that might come to mind is that you can pinch to zoom on app-covers and they are scrollable, now they are interactive but not scrollable but zoom in and out depending on their number, I'd like to see a 4x4 roster available, only by zooming in by hand, activating scrolling, that is an idea that does not destroy anything there but adds a new gesture on top.... Instead of enhancing the ideas the Jolla design team realized so far you are asking to revert them back to Harmattan-horizontal-but-vertically-scrollable which is what they wanted to get rid of and did.

chemist ( 2014-06-25 17:39:40 +0300 )edit

Where do ambiences go? Sides are lost, so where do they go? Bottom and top are taken too... you loose everything to scrolling covers (just realized that). Only on lockscreen would be ambiences... oh wait one suggestion said I do not get back to the lockscreen and have a pulley instead...duh

chemist ( 2014-06-25 17:45:51 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2014-01-01 11:43:09 +0300

Seen: 2,604 times

Last updated: Jun 25 '14