suggestion for managing clutter on the desktop

hi ppl,

Over the years the desktop has become more and more
cluttered and has seen a number of methods to try and
manage the clutter.  The use of an window list in a
panel helped, as it made it easier to switch between
applications, although became insufficient when a user
opens so many applications that the user wastes time
searching through the window list trying to find a
particular application.  So two other methods were
introduced to reduce the clutter of the application
list.  These are the use of panel applets and the use
of notification areas, and the use of tabbed
applications, both methods designed to remove items
from the clutted window list. 

While the combination of these three methods has
reduced clutter on our desktops, we still are faced
with too much clutter and are wasting too much time
managing the desktop.  What could be an even bigger
problem is the increased complexity that makes the user
now having to know how to use the three completely
different methods.

What I suggest is kind of like a modified, more
powerful version of how OS X handles the problem
(please note I have never actually used a mac so I
don't really know exactly how os x handles the
problem).  Have a panel(or applet) which has a icon for
each unique running application(Eg if you have two
firefox windows open, only 1 icon is shown for mozilla
in the panel).  For the applications with more than one
window open, there respective icon will have a little
arrow on them and if you click on them, a list of all
the associated windows and there titles will be
displayed, which you can click on to open.  

So far this has probably all been done before, but the
key is to have a second panel(or applet) that has a
list of all the titles of the windows that are
associated with the application of the window in focus,
in a manner similar to current application lists.  This
would eliminate the need for tabbed applications and
bring the possiblity of other powerful features, which
I will later discuss.  

So an example of how this would work is: say that I
have a firefox window with open, and I wanted
to switch to the firefox window with
open. I would simply click on the button on my second
panel(or applet) that displayed the title from  I no longer need to search through
the huge list of an full window list or the need extra
functionality of tabbed browsing in firefox.

Now to the additional powerful features of the second
panel(or applet)... This is where I see some parallels
to the new spatial nautilus.  You could do things like
having different behaviours when clicking on the title
buttons of the second panel(or applet), eg. left click
opens window and middle click opens window and
minimizes current.  There could be additional buttons
on the the second panel(or applet) that do things like
close all windows of the associated application or
minimize all, maximize all, expose of just the
associatied applications (if the composition x
extension becomes mainstream...) and so forth...

The reason I believe this second panel(applet) will be
so useful, is that people tend to switch alot between
windows that belong to one particular application and
this panel(or applet) makes it so much easier to do so
by exposing all these windows to user without the
clutter imposed by a full window list.

Oh an btw programs like gaim could treated a bit
differently in the first panel(or applet) that I talked
about so that it behaves just like it does as a panel
applet although it is grouped in with the first panel
just like any other application making it less
confusing for the user than having it as a completely
seperate panel applet.

So......this solution elimates the need for the user to
understand panel applets and tabbed applications and
builds on something users understand pretty well, the
window list.  The solution has all the advantages of
tabbed applications and panel applets (from programs
like Gaim) and the additional advantages that the
second panel(or applet) brings.

Ok and now for the appologies.  I would like to
appologize for the use of the annoying "panel(or
applet)"s throughout my email, in reality is just a
panel applet, although a user may have it as the sole
occupier of a pannel.   I would also like appologize
for not having some sort of mock-up screenshot and or
implementation that would make it so much easier to
explain.  I currently haven't set up my computer, as I
have just moved house and have been too busy with other

Anywayz thanks for reading this far(assuming you didn't
just scroll down to this point.....)



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