Unity's sidebar 'Urgent' icon animation not constant

Bug #776745 reported by Vitor Lamas Gatti on 2011-05-03
This bug affects 31 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: unity

Let me explain:
- You are using an IM client;
- You are doing something else;
- You receive a new IM message;
- The system sends a 'urgent' notification to the message window.
- In Unity's sidebar, it works in a way that the program icon pulses/wiggles *only once* when this happens;
- *Tiny triangles* at the left part of the icon become blue.

That's hard to notice, specially when you are not looking at the screen when the notification occurred.

Like in any dock application, or Mac's dock, the icon keeps pulsing/wiggling/jumping until you click it.
I'd like to have that option in Unity's interface.

I searched CompizConfig Settings Manager and gconf-editor, but didn't find anything useful to change the behavior to what I want.

I've tried to post this into brainstorm, but it was denied for not being an idea, so I'm trying here.

tags: added: notification notify
dlskier (dlskier) wrote :

I agree, I'm using Unity at work with 3 monitors, the monitor that has the unity bar is 24", if I'm not looking at that monitor and more specifically the left side of the monitor when that first wiggle happens, I will go quite a while before noticing that I got a text message. Without leaving my desk I've had messages go unnoticed for 30 minutes.

Without a resolution to this I am going to be forced to leave Unity which would be unfortunate as this is the only thing that I don't like about it so far. It is however a deal breaker as IM is used for work purposes here and I can't ignore someone for 30 minutes.

CCSM should at least allow the user to cause the wiggle to happen until the window gains focus.

Vitor Lamas Gatti (vitorgatti) wrote :

I hope no dev/mod/admin adds this to WishList, because waiting 6 months for the next Ubuntu release just to get such simple feature would force me to leave Unity's interface, unfortunately.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

the corresponding indicator should also turn blue, what im client do you use?

Vitor Lamas Gatti (vitorgatti) wrote :

Yes, the indicator at the taskbar also turns blue. I'm using Pidgin.

But... I guess that's not the point. Any software sending the Urgent status to a window should behave in the same way, the one I'm describing in the Bug Description.

An option should be provided under Unity's preferences.

dlskier (dlskier) wrote :

Having roughly 250 pixels (indicator and launcher triangle) out of 2,304,000 pixels (1920*1200 resolution) be a different color than they normally are isn't enough to draw your attention to them unless you happen to be looking in their general area as they change color. Add an additional monitor or two to your setup and it's even more difficult to notice the change.

The shake animation is already in place, having an option to make it play until the user acknowledges the window would be the easiest fix and a good one at that.

Mel (novarg-gmail) wrote :

Hi. Uhm, i not found this bug and created another one https://bugs.launchpad.net/unity/+bug/785261

I started to miss events very often after switch to unity because of that. And honestly say this notification style and horrible management of multi-window software makes unity usability below zero.

tags: added: active pulse wiggle
Changed in unity:
status: New → Opinion
Changed in unity:
status: Opinion → New
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete
tags: added: needs-design
Vitor Lamas Gatti (vitorgatti) wrote :

@Marco Biscaro

Sorry, but what do 'Incomplete' and 'needs-design' mean? Does it need a screenshot showing the problem? A better explanation?

Thank you

@Vitor: this kind of bug needs design feedback before we can implement the new behaviour. See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Unity/FilingBugs#Design%20Bugs for details.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed

I confirm, this is a regression bug in my opinion, since the behaviour of gnome-panel was correct (in previous versions of ubuntu). Now that it was replaced by the unity panel, the urgent animation lasts only e few seconds and then stops. The icon should shake untill the window becomes active.

Let's say, to be more detailed, that as long as the little arrow is blue, the wiggle animation should repeat after completion. That's just a loop to add, doesn't need new design.

Danillo (danillo) wrote :

There could also exist an option for icons from "urgent" applications to wiggle every X seconds or minutes until the user clicks them. This would help when we are away from the computer or looking away from the screen and miss the animation.

Omer Akram (om26er) on 2012-03-09
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Vitor Lamas Gatti (vitorgatti) wrote :

@Omer Akram

Sorry, but why was it changed from Confirmed to Incomplete again? Does it need more data, more explanation for creating a solution?

Thank you

Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

@Vitor, in Unity when there is a bug report that need input from design we use the status incomplete for the Unity task till we get response from Design team. Sorry for now mentioning that before.

Thiago (copocaneta) wrote :

Such an old request and nothing has been done towards that? I already gave up on Ubuntu because of this same exact missing "feature" before, giving it a check now so I can try again, please guys make this happen!

JaSauders (jasauders) wrote :

So here we are in 2014... no change... Come on... How does something like this need any sort of monumental review? It's a frustration that a huge amount of users have. It's wildly easy to miss notifications because of the way it's currently implemented in Unity. Just give us the option (or better yet, a default, but we know how defaults go around here...) to allow the icon to continually wiggle every so often until the user clicks on that icon.


Um, this particular bug is marked as a duplicate of bug #893196. I fixed that bug in 13.10 as described in the "Desired Resolution" part of the Bug Description.

JaSauders (jasauders) wrote :

@ Christopher Townsend,

I see that, but I'm not sure how it's fixed, unless I am totally misunderstanding something. Based on the bug report you linked me, it suggests that this is regarding the Unity bar being hidden. I don't have my Unity bar hidden. My Unity bar is always visible.

My issue is this. I just received a Skype message. The icon wiggled. Had I not seen it wiggle, it would have just sat there with a highlight. Ironically enough, the highlight is offset, making it very difficult to see, which is frustrating given it's the only way to tell that Skype needs attention if I miss the wiggle. (highlight issue is currently bug #1309739, but I see you're working on that - thanks!)

If I let the Skype notification just sit there, it never wiggles again. What I don't understand is why it doesn't wiggle again. Why doesn't it re-notify me? This wiggling one time only thing doesn't really align with design logic. People are busy. People multitask. People will miss that one second it happens to wiggle quite frequently. Some sort of reoccuring notification until the user gives that application attention is basically what I am referencing.

Am I missing something, or is this option here and I just not know about it?


Ah, ok, so your Launcher is not hidden, but you'd like the icon to continue to wiggle to get your attention. Now reading this particular bug description again after your explanation, I don't really see how this is a duplicate of the other bug since the other bug is specifically about a hidden Launcher.

I can't speak 100% for Design, but I think the reasoning here is that the icon continues to glow to indicate to the user that there is something "special" going on with the icon, but I do see your point and having a moving visual clue may be helpful.

I think the best course of action here is to open a new bug report since this bug is now too tightly lumped in with the other bug. I'll keep an eye out for your new bug report and subscribe Design so they can have a look.


JaSauders (jasauders) wrote :


I appreciate your interest and I thank you for your time. I will submit a new bug report now. Again, thanks. :)

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