Sunday, October 13, 2013

Workspace Groups

Workspaces serve a vital role in productivity, yet the design and functionality of this feature is drastically lacking on all operating systems.

It goes by various names depending on the operating system:

I'm in favor of the name Workspaces or WindowSpaces.

Most people when they use computers, perform all their work on a single desktop with all their windows open; that is what we call a workspace. However, having all your unrelated content open in dozens of windows on your single desktop workspace is dumb, as it reduces productivity.

Some try to remedy this problem by using dual monitors, purchasing 46'' screens, and sanctioning open windows into small clusters on their desktop - it's much easier and less expensive to use multiple workspaces on a single monitor.

A workspace should be dedicated to a group of tasks, or related windows. Image you have 4 workspaces. The 1st desktop workspace is for communication (Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In), the 2nd desktop workspace is for writing assignments (MSWord, Textmate, etc.), the 3rd desktop workspace is for computer systems (control panel, system settings, etc.), and the 4th desktop workspace is for graphics (Photoshop, Illustrator, AutoCad, etc.)

And while workspaces are great for productivity, they still lack major functionality:

Mission Control (by Apple)
- Workspaces can't be organized into rows and columns
- Workspaces can't be organized into rows and columns of various lengths
- Workspaces can't be label
- Workspace labels don't display at the top

Virtual Desktop (Windows supported)
- 3rd party support only
- Workspaces can't be organized into rows or columns of various lengths
- Workspaces can't be rearranged

Workspaces (by Ubuntu)
- Workspaces can't be organized into rows or columns of various lengths

If redesigned workspaces could be a revolution in the way that teams organize their workflow. For example, image that you have a single monitor, and you want to organize your windows and running tasks by department. You could organize your workspaces into rows. The first row is for your software department, the second row of workspaces is for your hardware department, and the third row is for communications.

Each square represents a desktop workspace. Related workspaces are grouped into rows.
Or you could organize the workspace groups by columns:

Each group of workspaces can be given desktop backgrounds of the same color. To switch between workspace groups organized into rows, one could use a hotkey (Ctrl + down, Ctrl + up). To switch between workspaces in the same group, one could use other hotkeys (Ctrl + left, Ctrl + right). When a user switches between workspaces (in the same group or in another group), a label at the top of the window should be displayed with the name of the workspace (and then disappear after 1.5 seconds). One should be able to move the workspace from one group to another, or rearrange the workspaces within each group. Furthermore, one should be able to drag open windows between various workspaces. Transition effects between workspaces should also be optional.

If anyone is aware of workspace tools that will allow me organize my workflow in this manner, then please email me: Most importantly the ability to organize workspaces into groups or rows or columns of various lengths.