Skim and scan

Three days have gone since I wrote the first post about Zetta, a new start menu for KDE4. I admit I expected more comments, especially since many complain about Kickoff; the huge amount of text probably scared away many potential readers. However, the few responses I received in the KDE forum was really helpful.

Today I’ll be talking about the two modes in the application view: skim mode and scan mode. I choose these names to give you an idea of what they’re for, but in Zetta they’ll most likely be addressed as icon view respective list view.

Skim mode

You’ve already seen the skim mode. The icon view gives you a nice overview of your applications and you can quickly find what you’re looking for.

Skim mode

However, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, e.g. you don’t know how the application icon looks like, you have to scan the items in two directions – left to right and top to bottom. This is a problem, and it needs a solution.

Scan mode

Now you probably see why I choose this name. The list view provides more information while being easy to read – from top to bottom.

Scan mode

The star shows if the item is in your favorites, and provides a simple way to add/remove it as a favorite. (Obviously I love Supertux, but despite that I mixed up the name and description. A common mistake after you’ve had an exam in linear algebra, or so I’ve heard).

The disadvantage of the scan mode is that it takes more space – the list can be quite long if you have many applications in one category. I’m not very happy with how the subcategories are handled, but I haven’t figured out a better solution yet.

Another thing I’m thinking about is how to switch between the two modes. A keyboard shortcut is a given, but should I put a switch button somewhere too? I’ve thought about a ‘toolbar’ which you can show and hide, but we’ll see how it turns out.

As usual, I appreciate all constructive comments.


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