Alt + Tab and Unity

The time has come for a new article of the series “How to reinvent the wheel”. These posts are about well-designed and functional features. The only purpose I have is to show new ways of using them. Just consider it as a simple “what if” exercise. 🙂

Let’s take a look at the current state of art in the main operating systems.

Without entering the details, we can say Ubuntu, Mac and Windows7 follow, except for small differences, the same concept, which is to show a list of fully-opened apps in small thumbnails in the middle of the screen. Unlikely Windows, Ubuntu gathers the same apps in a single place and explode them when users move the selection over them. This is a simple and helpful implementation.
Now, let’s see my “what if” questions: What if launcher contents can change following users’ actions? Furthermore, What if we can list the apps we launched into the Unity launcher by pressing Alt + Tab keys? The results are shown below:

My Alt + Tab design

Simple Alt + Tab inside Unity launcher


Unity Alt + Tab with preview


Unity Alt + tab preview (multiple windows)

When users press the Alt+Tab combo the launcher only shows the apps you launched. If you select an app a bigger thumbnail of the window is displayed (or more thumbnails if you have more than one window).

My Alt + \ design

Simple Alt + Slash based on Unity


A Unity based Alt + Slash with preview

What do you think about a Unity based Alt+ tab and Alt+ \?


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