Discoverability of all applications in Dash is not good

Reported by Mikko Ohtamaa on 2011-09-10
54
This bug affects 11 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
Undecided
Unassigned
Unity
Undecided
Unassigned
unity (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

I am a long time Ubuntu, Windows and OSX user. I just installed Unity with 11.10 beta for the first time.

I faced a task of turning on Desktop sharing. To accomplish this task I tried to find some way to list "System Preferences" or "Control panel" in Unity, as all operating systems before have had this concept.

Dash home does not provide hints how you can access "all applications".

The problem can be divided to few parts

* You need to discover that "barchart" icon means Application in Dash. The meaning of icon is very unclear. I tried "More Apps" too many times.

* You need to discover "See more results" lists all the applications on the computer.

Then I discovered that "Filter results" is a way to categorize apps. However filter to "System" did not show up Dektop sharing.

Eventually I had to type in the name of the application in the search box. This only worked because I knew the name of the application.

Suggestions:

* Make All applications icon more obvious

* Make filters visible by default. Maybe as one column tabs.

* Rating is uselsess to show if an application is not selected - the browse seems the lack the context sensitivity when an application is selectec and when not

* Do not disply suggested downloads when "All applications" view mode is "All" (useless)

* Filter results is useless in shortcuts. It is showing 8 items only.

* There are two labels "All" in filter results of All applications.... wtf?

* Don't call More apps "More apps" - the user confuses it with all apps

tags: added: needs-design
Changed in unity:
status: New → Confirmed
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-09-30
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
wrigley (wrigleyster) wrote :

Furthermore it would be better if the applications available for download, were confined to the software center or at least confined to a separate perspective, so you can focus on the applications you have already installed -- after all, one must expect that the user has installed the various applications with the intention of using them, hence the Dash UI should be optimized for _use_ rather than installation, there are / can be other ways that are more appropriate for discovering new not-yet-installed applications. The Software Center being the most obvious.

Danillo (danillo) wrote :

Yes, please remove applications available for download from the dash, it's really annoying and steals space!

Changed in unity:
importance: Undecided → Low
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Rik Shaw (rik.shaw) wrote :

In my opinion, re-work of the Applications lens is required... and this is certainly *not* low priority. Many new computer users that I have set up with Ubuntu (3rd world context) have greatly struggled with this. Only because of the 3rd party "stop gap" hack "classicmenu-indicator" have I been able to help people more easily browse and discover what applications are already installed.

Here are some additonal comments on design-rework help from my perspective:

1. Needs to be by category by default (I don't think that browsing a list of 129 Applications sorted alphabetically is useful to anyone).

2. Need to have quick keyboard navigation, or,

3. just "hover" over a category name to see the apps under the category.

4. Currently have to manually "unclick" filters if want to see a different category. So, if click "Games" need to then unclick "Games" before clicking "Office" or else you get "Games + Office". This concept is just not efficient or intuitive for beginning users, and beginning users are the ones that desperately need a usable Application Menu.

Here are some examples:

AxeMenu is a good one (Gnome-Shell: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/327/axe-menu/ but not their default of showing "favorites" but rather "Applications": also note when hovering over an App its description is showed in the bottom corner: again helpful as someone may not have a clue about what "Pidgin" does)

MintMenu (Linux Mint) is very similar to Axe Menu (maybe they share code??).

Lastly, Cardapio (https://launchpad.net/cardapio) is a good one to look at.

In summary, discoverability, especially for limited skill computer users, is essential and needs significant re-working over the current paradigm.

John Lea (johnlea) on 2012-10-02
Changed in unity:
status: Triaged → Incomplete
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Incomplete
Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Confirmed. I recently introduced a long-time Gnome 2.x user to Unity (12.04) and she complained about not being able to find apps any more.

The main problems were:
  1. The search bar is not obvious enough. It should be initialized with something like "Type here to search...".
  2. She never figured out there were multiple lenses and stayed only on the home lens. This is a very obvious design problem with the lens icons being at the bottom.
  3. The simple and intuitive hierarchy of application categories seen in the Gnome 2.x menu and Windows Start menu is too hidden in the dash. She never found it.

Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → Triaged
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Triaged
Changed in unity:
importance: Low → Medium
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Low → Medium
Rik Shaw (rik.shaw) wrote :

Regarding point 3 of the hierarchy of application categories being too hidden, I suggest that even if it were not so hidden it needs significant re-working (as suggested in my prior comment). So, it being too hidden is indeed a major concern, but even if more prominently found, the way it funcions is less than ideal for browsing installed apps.

sabdfl did comment on his blog post some time ago (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/939) about HUD that there are 2 things essential (pardon my quick summary: if you feel it unjust please read the article and subsequent comments): quick access and discoverability. HUD (and I argue the Dash as well) are great for quick access (when the setting, file name, app name, etc, is known). But discoverability is really lacking. It seems to be added in as an afterthought compromise.... but needs serious re-working as I would propose that discoverability is of more importance thatn quick access (especially if the market is people new to the system). Right now, most discoverability seems designed around the search box (type "email" and now... after recent updates.... Thunderbird will show up). But we need visual discovery, especially in a global context where typing skills and even the system language of the machine is not fluent for many users.

I would recommend clarifying this bug report to be about "visual discovery of all applications".

Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

You cannot set the bug to triaged neither can you give it any importance unless its approved by design team.

Changed in unity:
status: Triaged → Incomplete
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Incomplete
importance: Medium → Undecided
Changed in unity:
importance: Medium → Undecided
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