Why is the launcher crowded with useless icons?

Asked by Michele Kipiel on 2012-12-18

Every time i install a new version of ubuntu i have to go through the same drill: remove half of the stuff which is placed in the laucher by default and replace it with things that i, as an actual user, am interested into.

Not only the default setup wastes a lot of useful real estate (especially on small screens like 11 and 13 inches) but it also makes the user uncomfortable for a number of reasons.

Let me go through some of them:

1. why do i get a firefox icon but not a thunderbird icon? email setup is among the _first_ things that i (and everybody i know) do when switching to ubuntu! i know that thunderbird is just a click away, hidden in the dash, but why can't i have it in the launcher by default? :)

2. why do i get 3 (three!) libreoffice icons, when there is the pretty "white sheet" icon available, which launches a very usable and clear widget that lets me pick which tool do i want to use? (this also enables a much better discoverability of the whole LO suite, IMHO)

3. a settings icon? really? we already have the lovely cog icon in the upper right corner of the screen which enables the user to change his settings (and a lot of other stuff too...) in a couple of clicks. You might argue that thee cog icon lacks discoverability and according to fitt's law is a little hard to use, but this could be solved by placing a simple info slide during the install proces slideshow, pointing out how to use the icon.

4. i understand the upselling needs of the marketing team, but really, placing two pointless promotional icons in the launcher is not the best way to get love from us users. if those were actual applications it would make sense to me, but since those icons are mere web links, i guess the UX team can come up with a better idea.

5. if i were you (and i ain't, but if i was - as the old farnham used to say :) ) i would reconsider the placement of the home folder icon. I think the UX team took inspiration from the osx dock and placed the home icon on top just like the finder icon is the first to the left in the dock, but in my humble opinion that placement is somewhat wrong... and it bugs me that i can't seem to find a proper placement for that icon! maybe next to the "trash" one?

Don't get me wrong: i am a _great_ fan of unity and i use it with great pleasure, i just want to rise awareness about the problems of the default launcher setup, which i believe could be far better and more useful than it currently appears to be.

And sorry for the long post :)

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Florian Stoll (flostoll) said : #1

I do exactly the same steps after installing Ubuntu . The most important applications are Firefox, Thunderbird and the Home-Folder. In addition I am always looking for a button to show the desktop which could be placed statically below the Trash for example.

Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) said : #3

(I linked this question with bug 1054167 :-)

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