When Jolla advanced on Sailfish OS user interface development from version 1.0 (November 2013-September 2015) to Sailfish OS 2.0, there were some radical changes. On this article we put the new against the old. Less or more fingertips needed? More intuitive? Let's find out!
Gestures on Sailfish OS 1.0 vs 2.0Worth a read? Please share:
The key values on a mobile operating system designed for a smartphone is to be intuitive, easy to reach and use with one finger, and of course fast and responsive. While expanding the same user interface to larger devices like tablets, some compromises must be made to meet a similar user experience on both. How did Jolla manage on this? We leave this for you to decide, sharing an insight into the actions needed on both old and new.
Ease of tap depends on two values only:
- How far is it from your finger, when holding the device
- How large is the tap area. Larger area requires less precise aiming
On Android, some of the most important taps are placed on top corners with small icons. On this aspect Sailfish OS beats Android in the user experience completely. On a smartphone, Sailfish OS is a one thumb user interface. On the other hand, having even less taps in general on Sailfish OS 1.0 was seen as perfect by many users. While reading on, please take a note on that. There is a compromise regarding taps, which seems to be required while extending to larger devices.
Sailfish OS 1.0 Gestures
The user interface, in general, was based more on flicks. In overall, it was a bit more complicated, as the gestures in use didn't work the same way on every system screen. According to Jolla, learning curve was more difficult, keeping new customers especially from Android world aside from adopting their different UI
Note also how the placement of gestures was done: Most of the gestures are available also in the bottom of the screen, right under your thumb. Click the image above to open it in full size.
Sailfish OS 2.0 Gestures
Biggest changes take place on the placement of the system screens, radically changing the swipe gesture actions. Events were moved from below the Home to left, and ambiences were moved from their dedicated screen on right to a top pulley menu. App cover actions were changed to taps instead of flicks, and favorite apps were removed from the Home screen. On top there's a new info bar, similar to Android - earlier this information was visible between the home and lock screen. Click the image above to open it in full size.
Actions compared - Sailfish OS 1.0 vs Sailfish OS 2.0
The most used actions should be (A) the most intuitive ones and (B) the quickest to perform. I collected a table of few selected actions below, and it seems that while Sailfish OS 1.0 was quicker to use from the Home screen, Sailfish OS 2.0 brought speed into situations when already using some app.
On Sailfish OS 1.0 the gestures were also varying more. Sailfish OS 2.0 seems more intuitive on this, having a shorter learning curve.
Below, the actions with green background are considered as quicker. Note that all the actions are divided under two user cases: Started from while there's an app on the foreground, or started from Home:
|Action||SFOS1 in app||SFOS2 in app||SFOS1 at home||SFOS2 at home|
|Call favorite contact*||swipe+tap+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap+tap||tap+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap+tap|
|Call new number*||swipe+tap+pull||swip+tap+pull||tap+pull||swipe+tap+pull|
|Launch favorite app*||swipe+tap||swipe+tap||tap||swipe+tap|
|Launch another app||swipe+flick+tap||swipe+tap||flick+tap||swipe+tap|
|change wlan network||swipe+flick+tap+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap+tap||flick+tap+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap+tap|
|answer old message*||swipe+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap||tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap|
|Play a song**||swipe+flick+tap+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap+tap||flick+tap+tap+tap||swipe+tap+tap+tap|
|Play next song||swipe+flick||swipe+tap||flick||tap|
|Change music volume||(only hw buttons)||(only hw buttons)||(only hw buttons)||(only hw buttons)|
|Change ringtone volume||swipe+flick+tap(x4)||swipe+tap(x4)||flick+tap(x4)||swipe+tap(x4)|
Notes on the table:
- Actions marked with (*) are assuming that the related app has been set as favorite (top row) on Sailfish OS 1.0
- Play a song (**) means playing a new song before Media app has been launched. Actions include launching Media app on launcer screen (not as favorite)
- On Sailfish OS there are some system settings to customize the gestures. Above, all these settings are set to enable fastest possible usage pattern
- Volume can be adjusted also with a new 3-finger-pull gesture on Sailfish OS 2.0, but this gesture is implemented only for Jolla Tablet
On gestures, Sailfish OS 2.0 has some major changes which might cause some negative feedback from long time users who already have learned their ways, and have their routines on those. However, it seems the new user interface is easier to learn, and especially while the new system wide gestures have more similar workflow, not dependent on having app on the foreground or not, it should be easy to learn out from the old routines.
For new users coming from Android user interface, these changes must be more than welcome. Adding a new info bar on top of the Home screen, implementing the carousel to change views, and changing the cover actions from flicks to taps are closer to their routines.
For me, there are few things I will miss from Sailfish OS 1.0:
- App cover gestures, earlier performed by flicks anywhere on top of the cover. Now it requires more precise aim to hit the small tap area in the bottom. Also some of these actions were lost, while few apps were updated to have only one cover action
- Peek for time. When in app, there is a swipe-from-side gesture to drop the app to Home screen. Earlier, it could be used to just peek time, returning your finger to return to the app. Now the time is just too difficult to see.
And few things I really welcome on Sailfish OS 2.0
- Silencing device is faster via always accessible top menu. Just after a bug is fixed, as currently it's not totally silencing the device (version 126.96.36.199)
- Having the app launcher always available, right under your thumb, is exceptional. Loving that!
Added by few gestures I'd still like to see made easier:
- Quicker way to change to full screen brightness
- A gesture to adjust music volume. I just dislike the HW buttons
- Quicker way to change your presence on different social media accounts
About closing applications which has been discussed somewhat a lot (the change is radical), I think that Sailfish OS 2.0 doesn't fail on this. It's supposed to be a multitasking operating system, and after the current bugs and memory leaks are at some point fixed, it's only nice to keep all the apps in the home screen covers. Also the change to not let them change places with each other is welcome, especially after the favorite apps were dropped to the separate launcher screen.
- After updating to Sailfish OS 2.0, edit your launcher screen, moving your most used apps to the bottom corner. While the new user interface enables entering the launcher screen from anywhere, it's nice to have those as close to the thumb as possible after launcher is opened
- Visit the new options at Settings > System > gestures, and setup your system to work as you wish. Especially the system wide access to the Events screen is worth testing. If you'll enable that option, you only need to learn it's moved from below to the left
- If it seems you really need some of the gestures which have been dropped out, do consider patching. 3rd party developers have made excellent job on tuning the user interface, and most of these patches are available on OpenRepos.net However, please note that each patch needs to be unapplied before system updates, and those seems to be rolling in quite often (about every 6th week, so far)
Which one seems better for you? Any actions missing? Please comment below
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Technical images: Sailfish OS gestures by Review Jolla is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Cover photo: Combined of two screenshots by sailfishmods.de and peakwinter.net
Published: 2015-09-20 09:24 UTC
Updated: 2015-09-20 21:10 UTC