Sugar without a Homeview

16 Feb 2016
Maybe just use the journal instead?

This is a design idea that I have thinking about a lot recently; does the homeview make sense in the context of Sugar? First, I think about what the homeview provides:

  1. Create new journal items (launching an activity always creates a new journal item)
  2. Resume the activity I had open yesterday (the coloured icons). I usually right click and click the title that I want via the palette menu myself - I don't always have the best memory for what I clicked stop in last yesterday afternoon
  3. Deleting activities (this should really be in settings!)

And then I thought about what the journal provides:

  1. Seeing recent journal objects at a glance
  2. Resume journal items
  3. Modify journal item descriptions
  4. Delete journal items
  5. Search for old journal items

And this confused me. The journal preforms many of the most that I want to do when I want to start working at school - I want to find recent work and keep working on it. However, I need to go the homeview to do the other important work-doing-step, starting a new activity.

But why are these separate? I don't think they should be. They both do the same conceptual things (manage journal objects) and are both useful at exactly the same time (I want to get to work). So what would this design look like?

  • Delete the home view
  • Move activity deletion into a control panel - it is something that is related with managing your computer, so is more conceptually coherent in my settings
  • Make the journal the default view
  • Below the journal toolbar toolbar, add a textentry with the placeholder with something like "Title a new journal entry". (If needed add an icon to suggest this is how I make something new). This actually forces the users to title their work, which is something that they need to be thinking about (how else will they find it) and that sugar already "hides" compared to other systems (we don't have an intrusive dialog when you want to save your file).
  • Once the user starts typing a name, show them a list of activity icons, maybe prefixed by the text "Create with...". Let them click on one to create a new journal object with that activity and the name they typed. It would be fun to write activity icon the sorting - it could be based on their usage or maybe intelligently based on the title as well.

Would this actually be useful?

Maybe. But I basically asserted a few things that this being useful is contingent on:

  • That people use the journal and home view in similar situations
  • That people prefer resuming activities via the journal
  • That people do not like the way resuming works in the home view
  • That people have thought of a title for their work before they start doing it