Enhancing user experience through the Compositor

This article is an April Fool. For an explanation please see the update.

Some time ago Ken introduced the conecept of dynamic window decorations (DWD) and during the last Plasma sprint there was already some work on experimenting with an implementation. DWD are extremely promising to enhance the user experience by morphing the application and window manager scope together.

The basic concept of DWD is to get content of the application inside the scope of the window manager. But what works one way works also the other way: we can enhance the user experience by providing additional information relevant for the window inside the window decoration.

An example for this could be a volume applet for music and audio players. But of course it doesn’t stop there, today is all about the user content and integrating the web. For web browsers we can integrate a global “Like It on Facebook” button. And by analyzing the user behavior we can provide even more help. We can notice if you struggle using Krita and provide a link to where to get a better drawing tablet.

If you use digiKam you might be interested in some books about photogrophy. We know which music you listen to on Amarok and show you that the new album of your favorite music group just got released. Not every application integrates stores in a proper way. This is a shame as it does not provide the best possible user experience and KWin as a window manager can help there to add missing store functionality where it is needed.

Of course this also allows to show you better alternatives. If we see that you struggle with wine emulated applications we can provide the Linux alternative. We can show that new updates are available for your currently used application. If you use sub-par free software applications we can show you were to get a proper (slightly more expensive) application.

But DWD are not the only place where KWin can help to increase the user experience by offering useful content. We always went a great way to make the desktop more useable by for example allowing to click on a splash screen to hide it. I think we can all agree that splash screens are something really useless: look at a stupid window for a few seconds and having to wait till it hides again. Meh.

We can do better: we know which application starts and what it is used for. And as a compositor we can exchange the content. Wouldn’t it be way more awesome to show a short video giving you advice where to buy the latest tips on C++11 book when launching kdevelop?

And there is so much more room to integrate useful content. When starting a video player we can overlay the window with a nice trailer of the latest movie (of course that will be skipable after 5 sec). This is a feature which might also be handy in Present Windows and Alt+Tab. Of course such videos would be perfectly localized as we know your geolocation and we would take great efforts to only offer trailers which might interest you: after all we have baloo to scan your video data and can also look at your Facebook profile. Now trailers are only one part, of course also other areas could be covered. If you have many pictures of cars you might be rather interested in spots about the latest car of your favorite brand instead of move trailers. Of course we will make it possible to configure which areas you are interested in. As we all know KDE is all about configurability.

15 Replies to “Enhancing user experience through the Compositor”

  1. I’m going to treat this post as an April Fool’s joke – it has the look and feel of one.

    But by heck and by gum, if ever this goes beyond a joke, be sure to allow every bit of such enhancements to be obliterated by the user who does not want them.

  2. Wow, what a nice and interesting text on 1st of april.
    It’s good when other people or instituitions know a lot about you and can help buy the right things.
    Buy or not to buy, this is the question. KDE and commerce rulez!

  3. haha really funny 🙂

    cannot wait to get more facebook buttons 🙂

    some more ideas:
    – put a FB button in the start menu: “You like this application you started right now? Share it on FB!”
    – put a FB button on krunner: “you set a 15 minutes timer? maybe somebody wants to know this. This could be food related. Share it on FB!”
    – or get rid of the FB button and share everything instantly. If KWin recognices webcontent inside the windows coming from a *tube.com domain, just automatically share it.

    Maybe we could work on some more ideas…and share them 🙂

  4. This all sound great, but there is a feature that would be even better for the users…

    Why don’t you implement some kind of “clippy” helper/notification? If you ever used those good ol’ version of MS Office you know how much help it was.

    Your plans are a small step in the right direction, but you can’t beat “clippy”! 😛

  5. Oh my god I nearly had a stroke, then I thought about what day it was… 🙂

    KDE is the best!

  6. I would rather stare to a blank screen than look at those advertisments!
    Please don’t turn DEs to the hell that web is…

  7. For a minute I thought this was real and I got flashbacks of unity and youtube ads… Then I remembered today’s date.

  8. I understand this is intended as a joke but… well, I didn’t find it funny, to be honest.

  9. Hahah 🙂 .. well, I must say you first got me there thinking on chat-notifys in the title bar of the windows (I’m a very window-focussed person) .. and then I was like .. “uhm, why is there systray?”

    Good one :).

  10. What about a way to integrate apps into kwin (like Windows does)? For once, I can put firefox tabs directly on the window, but only works with oxygen window theme, for the other themes I have the window border, and bellow (taking space of my screen) firefox s tab bar. This works on kde 4 às I said, no idea about plasma 5, but it would be cool, since it would eliminate the need for a redundant bar, the tab bar

  11. > get content of the application inside the scope of the window manager. …

    That’s envisaged for OSeX 10.11 ‘Perfunctory’; rumour has it that the feature will be called ‘transcontency’.

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