Shimmy to the Left, Shim-my to the Right

Since Carlos recently talked about animation (and usability) in GTK+, I suppose that I should dig up and share my old mock-up for animating Back and Forward (or just following links) in the browser. Cute and/or usable, no?

The animated GIF is a little stuttery, since the screen capture (Byzanz, IIRC??) also wanted a fair piece of the CPU (which is probably just due to all the extra X server work). It looked a lot better on my computer (without the screen-cap also running), since it’s a lot smoother, but the GIF should convey what I’m trying to do.

Update (2007-06-07): Baseless allegation about Byzanz’s design removed. Apologies, Benjamin.


#1 Benjamin Otte on 06.07.07 at 3:30 pm

I don’t like the animation very much. First, I think it is too slow (twice as fast maybe), but that is easily fixed. What I don’t like is that the animation looks like I’m switching pages. I could imagine it when switching tabs. But when entering search terms into Google and clicking on search to get results, I’m not switching pages. At least not mentally. I’m staying on the Google page, it just now displays results. And loading a new page often is an animation in itself. It slowly displays all the images etc.

And for the record, Byzanz does the encoding in a post-processing step. Actually that post-processing step is a low priority thread running in the background. But (and this is the problem as far as I could make out) capturing all the data takes quite a lot of time, since it has to be copied from the X server to a file for later encoding (watch /tmp while recording Byzanz some time). If it turns out that the encoding threads gets allocated too much time, I’ll fork() and renice it. But that needs someone to prove that it’s slow first.

#2 Brian White on 06.07.07 at 7:54 pm

I really like the idea of the animations. I could even see the Beryl guys getting ahold of it and doing something crazy like having the page flip as if you were leafing through a magazine. But that might be a bit too much for me. 🙂 As it is, the idea of a visual cue for moving forward and backward is nice in my view.

Keep up the good work!

#3 John Drinkwater on 06.07.07 at 11:32 pm

Opera Mini already does this on my mobile rather cutely 🙂