Good old habits: notifications again



We didn’t put or effort only in the mobile environment or the new declarative “way of doing plasmoids”, but the general polish of the traditional desktop shell, the “most immediate need” for users is quite high on our priority list too.

Chani recently blogged about the last progress of the activities management: in the Plasma Desktop workspace 4.6 finally the advantages are starting to be exposed to the user. In brief: can virtual desktops stop and start applications on demand when they switch? can an application be on 2 out of 5 vd? can a vd be stopped and when recreated be restored exactly as it was? (wallpaper, desktop widgets, running applications etc) can the user remove a non empty, non last virtual desktop? Can an application behave in a way that is specific for a certain desktop, like showing only work related contacts?

Answer to all of those question is a discomforting, deep, structural no. If we ask those questions for the activities, the answer become yes, and the difference of purpose of those two things becomes evident. virtual desktop -> spatial arrangement of windows. Activities -> what I’m doing. There really is little overlap between the two things. Spatial arrangement is often used as activity separation, but is condemned to remain an half backed solution.


Yes, notifications again! There won’t be any very big turning upside down of the notification an job area for 4.6 The form it’s “stabilizing”, with minor tweaks that can enhance quite a lot the look and usability of it, let’s see in brief what 4.6 will bring to the notifications and jobs area:

  • Slightly revised look: better spacing, less visual noise, more pixel perfection
  • More compact layout of the jobs widgets
  • A speed plotter for job in the expanded view to be able to see what’s going on in the transfer of a single file
  • Global jobs progress bar is hidden when only one job is running
  • Notifications can be dragged in the desktop again
  • Only one scrollbar, and only when is necessary: everything scrolls and it’s preferred to keep visible active jobs rather than the notification history
  • Notifications history tabbar is hidden when only one type is present
  • Big icons in notifications to help to identificate what it’s talking about at a glance
  • Action buttons moved beside the test to have a smaller notification widget
  • It is possible to drag anywhere the notifications popup, so regardless of where the notifications Plasma widget is, they will appear in the place it works better with your workflow.

Since a picture is worth 3000 bullet points here are some screenshots 🙂

Notifications on 4.6

11 thoughts on “Good old habits: notifications again

  1. Jan

    Looks great 🙂

    It would be nice if the “copy/move file” jobs indicated if it’s copying or moving the file. I’ve been meaning to ask for that, along with a “right-click-in-the-panel-option-to-clear-all option” in bugzilla but I always forget.

    Thanks for your hard work!

  2. Antonio

    Great work! 🙂

    I’m quite a fan of non-intrusive notifications like growl or ayatana (in its colibri form or whatever).

    Aren’t the View and Ignore buttons on the two first screenshots a little bit redundant?
    1) The Ignore one is clearer as there’s the cross at the top-right corner that does the same effect for the user.
    2) For the View button, I guess the natural way for view that kind of notification would be to simply click on the notification itself.

    I’m aware about that it’s made this way by design, but it’d be nice to see both world merge on some way.

    Anyway, it’s really nice. Keep on the good work!

  3. TheBlackCat

    Very nice! A lot better than it was.

    I do have a couple of suggestions, though:

    1. There is a lot of space to the left of the progress bar in the individual jobs. The +/- button is pretty small, making it look off-center. The space, however, is almost perfect for the stop and pause buttons. And since stop and pause buttons are very closely associated with progress, while the +/- button is associated with display, I think switching the location of the +/- button and stop/pause buttons makes more sense.

    2. If you do #1, I think you should use the same collapse/expand button as the overall progress area.

    3. I think you should move the transfer speed and time remaining for individual jobs to the title bar, which is currently just wasted space. This also keeps visual consistency with the overall title bar.

    4. Are the source and destination addresses clickable? It would be nice if they were. If they are, they should probably appear like links rather than plain black text.

    5. In the notification section, the X buttons do not line up. I think it would look cleaner if they did. Same with the stop/pause and collapse buttons in the progress section (the right edges should line up).

    6. In the case with only 1 job or not tabs, the gap between the Notification/Jobs title bar and the first notification/job just seems to waste space for me. I would make it a lot smaller or just remove it entirely.

    7. It would be nice if, when part of a notification scrolls off the top or bottom, it either fades as it gets close to the bottom or shrinks (lancelot-style) as it gets close to the bottom. The sudden cuttoff looks too abrupt to me.

    8. I am not sure, but it might be nice for the transfer rate graph to have some sort of time scale indicator on the x-axis, probably just 0 and the maximum at the other end with tick marks in between.

    9. Having source icons at the left end of each nofication like you do for the jobs would be useful, if that information is even available.

    10. When not expanded, is there any way we could get an overlay of the amount transferred so far when we mouse over the progress bar of each job?

    Also, could you show us a screenshot of what you get when you are transferring multiple files?

  4. tanghus

    It seems to me that virtual desktops might just stop being used (at least by me) when the Activities stuff mature enough. Honestly I only really use one. Then #2 is for weather forecasts (with weather wallpaper of course), #3 for testing widgets (might as well use the Dashboard and #4 has a Slideshow wallpaper with pics of Scarlett Johanneson for when I need something beautiful to look at – besides Plasma that is 😉

  5. Alejandro Nova

    I filed a bug some time ago about the incoherences of edge detection design. When I click on the KDE Plasma NetworkManager icon, for instance, a window pops up with no shadow along the border. OTOH, in KDE 4.6 and every KDE before it, the Notification panel displays its shadow along the border. This leads to an incoherent behaviour.

    Can you do something about it?

  6. Damian

    It looks very good! Better and cleaner than curret, keep up the good work 🙂
    Some of the suggestions made above make sense specially moving the stop/play button and saying if it’s a copy or a move job (maybe in the empy tittlebar?)

  7. Andrej

    This is what bothers me the most with current notification popups. They are too transparent and it is often hard to read the text since there is not enough contrast with desktop background. So I think the notifications should be much less transparent.

  8. nemo

    This is what bothers me the most with current notification popups. They are too transparent and it is often hard to read the text since there is not enough contrast with desktop background. So I think the notifications should be much less transparent.

    Have you ever heard of themes?
    Just find one that ISNT transparent.

    I hate Air or whatever the light one is called and I despise the windowing manager with the miniature buttons which are totally useless yet I never bitch about it because the first think I do is change both of them on a new machine.

  9. socceroos

    The progress bar has long been the single ugliest thing about the notifications. Why the crappy white disconnected boxes? Why not the nice KDE progress bar in all other applications??

    Anything else would be better! It really does look ugly.

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