With my previous post about killing the back button I got a some scepticism about it from some users, but what was common in all those feedbacks was the approach to manage different apps: yes killing the back button breaks some things, but I wrote it mainly to introduce the real idea: new approaches to task managing on mobile devices.
The following is just an idea, you can see it in this video made by Nils Urbanus (that I thanks a lot):
Or you can see the original mock-up here:
The idea is to have on mobile a task manager like the one on desktop, in a thin panel. The user can swipe up the panel that will resize itself and the app icons; when the icons reach the size the user wants, he stop the swipe and tap on one of the icons; instead if he want to “close” the panel without tapping on an icon, he simply need to tap on an other point of the screen or to perform an other swipe (down) to the panel. If the panel is resized over a certain line, previews of the running apps appear.
In the mock-up I add two particular icons: the KDE logo one is intended to be the apps-drawer/kick-off, instead the Plasma logo one is the icon to show the Plasma shell (corresponding to Home button on Android and “show desktop” button on desktops).
My vision for it imply that only running apps are shown, like on desktop, resolving the issue of mobile world where you don’t know if an app is running or not. So you can be totally in control about which apps are running, exactly like on desktop. For the app that runs services in background, an other solution need to be discussed. On desktop we have the system tray, but I don’t know if it will work well on mobile, maybe it could if well implemented from a UX point of view.
This approach has great advantages:
- the thin panel always shows to you which apps are running;
- it could be there a setting to “hide” the panel: you know the panel is there and you can open it by a swipe, but you have a totally immersion experience, because all the screen is dedicated to your current app;
- stop running apps could be very simple and intuitive: we just need “close app” button on top of the previews, but also an horizontal swipe could work;
- when you have a lot of running apps, it’s very easy to switch to one of them: the focus of the zoom of the icons depends by where is your finger; alternatively you can resize the panel and scroll the icons with horizontal swipes (or vertical ones if you reach the preview mode);
Since Plasma is known as an highly configurable environment, it could be cool to provide different task manager solutions, both the classic ones (like Android one) and new ones like this.
Please keep in mind that this is just a concept and currently I’m not developing it, it’s just experimental and you could see something different at the end. As always, I like to involve the community into discussions, also into the ones about fresh ideas 😉
Thanks in particular to Andrea Del Sarto for support and feedbacks.
Ciao and see you around!