Notification Area guidelines

> * Notification versus Status:
>    o Most icons in the Notification Area will remain there as long
>      as the application itself is running. If there is an important
>      change in the status the Notification Area may choose to
>      display a balloon message and/or blink the icon for a period.

Maybe I'm being silly, but I think that programs should only have an
icon in the notification widget if they actually have something to
notify the user about. :)  (I'd like it to behave more like an event
queue for the user.)

I envisage icons appearing if new mail or instant messages arrive,
a calendar alarm comes due, or an incoming call is detected by
GnomeMeeting.  When such an event occurs, then the appropriate
subdued and elegant icon would pop up on the notification area if
it is not already there.  Once the user responds to the event, it
would disappear from the notification area.

If we stuck to this rule, red spinning police lights on each of the
icons would be unnecessary, as would goofy Clippy-cousin balloon
notes. :)  What _might_ be useful is the equivalent of the "master
alarm" on a spacecraft...  if a new event arrives, then one main
throbber would activate, for instance, and/or a single note from a
bell would sound, depending on the user's desires.  The master alarm
would stop throbbing when any event on the queue is clicked or
otherwise acted on.  The throbber (or whatever it is) could
conveniently double as the handle for the notification area widget.

I suspect that users would adapt to a central notification area
very quickly...  I'd be curious to see it tested.

We already have the window list to show whether or not there are
iconified or open instances of a program on the current workspace...
using the notification area for that seems redundant and confusing.

As Havoc mentioned, there may be a good way to unify this with the
current window list, too.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, and maybe I'm nuts for thinking them.
But, I like the idea of having a central place for events to be sent
from background programs to the user, rather than having to pop
dialogs up.

Thanks for trying to standardize the notification area's behavior!


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