Lately, Gnome & Unity each has implemented a new way to activate the HUD (Menu, Overlay Bar..)

  • Unity: uses two hot keys that trigger with single press, Super|Win brings Menu/Sidebar & Left Alt brings the Command HUD.

  • Gnome Shell (Gnome3): uses a hot corner in the top-left, triggered by just moving mouse there within a radius of 5~10px.

Mosts users got to adapt to this new ways. But it doesn't help some. (Most are gamers + few users that require full screen 3d rendering apps)

The problem:

  1. Login to Unity/GnomeShell
  2. Launch a 3D game, like Counter Strike, Urban Terror...or any 3D application that get full screen, grab mouse control and lock the pointer from going out of window (yes, it does happen for some windowed app)
  3. Press Super for Unity or Move mouse pointer to the hot corner for Gnome.

That brings the desktop environment GUI to the top, and 3D application loses the pointer. No way to get back only by killing the application then start it over again.

You may say it a bug, yes it is. It's quite complicated to get all related projects to work together in such free community.

Windows 3D game -> Wine -->
                           |--> Unity/Compiz or Gnome (WM) --> Xorg (X server)
         Native 3D game -->

Most bugs are coming from Wine branch, 3~4 yrs now.

So I'm looking for other alternatives, some ways I could think of:

  • Add support to setup a combination of keys instead of single one. Example: For Gnome, make hot corner responsive only when Shift is hold down. Same for Unity, with Shift+Super.

  • Add a special game mode that disables hot single key accelerators & hot corners.

Please, Could anyone give me a brief review for these suggestions, concerning usability? And I will be thankful if you recommend a different way to fix that?

1 Answer 1


These would be hidden features so you need to think about learnability.

Some might argue that these are to support your super users, but even they would need to learn about them.

Some UX people could argue that for every hidden feature you should provide a visable alternative, e.g. vie a menu, etc.

however, you can consider using an Onboarding interaction pattern to educate users to this new feature, where a spotlight is shown on this new ability the first time a user uses your solution. Once they have used it you don't need to show the spotlight. http://blog.invisionapp.com/an_intro_to_user_onboarding_part_1/

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