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Unity spread

A new "Spread" design which should improve Unity task switching is coming to Ubuntu, starting with version 12.10. The "Spread" design was tested before the Ubuntu 11.04 launch, but there wasn't enough time to release it so the development was postponed and the Compiz "spread" was used instead.

The Spread is triggered by clicking on an application icon in the Launcher which already has focus and has multiple windows or for all open windows, by pressing SUPER + W.

The new Unity Spread features:

Moving the pointer over a preview displays the window title in the titlebar and also, a close button is available so you can close the window directly from the spread:

Unity spread

In the screenshot above, you can also see the ghost "new window" option which allows users to open a new window for an application that's already running. Right now, this can be done by middle clicking the launcher icon, but this feature isn't easily discoverable by users. If the application doesn't support multiple windows, the ghost window is not displayed.

You'll also be able to filter windows by typing (based on window title):

unity spread

Filtering windows by typing will also be available to the SUPER+W spread which displays all the windows on the desktop.

unity spread

The new Spread will also feature multi-monitor support: each monitor will have its own spread, each with the windows belongig to that monitor.

Unity Spread should be available starting with Ubuntu 12.10, so Ubuntu 12.04 will continue to use the old Compiz spread. For more information, check out the Unity Task Switching UX specification.

via Canonical design blog; thanks to Aibara