Ideas to improve Plasma Edit Mode

I saw in Nate’s This Week in KDE that the developers are working on improving the Plasma Edit Mode. I watched the video in the blog and I have a few ideas to further improve the user experience.

The main problem I have with the new design is that it features a lot of movement, which is a bit distracting. The other thing is because the panels and the desktop are separated, the user won’t see the final result until they leave Edit Mode.

To solve these issues, I’ve come up with a new but similar design. I edited a screenshot from the link in the blog. I also have a few ideas for future improvements, but they would require a lot of work to implement.

The first change would be to have a fixed bar at the top with all general Edit Mode settings, and button for exiting. This solves the issue of these buttons moving around all the time in the current design – it’s just easier on the eye and makes more sense. It is also similar to what the previous design uses, but I would change some of the buttons to serve a more useful purpose.

Ideally, in the future this bar could get a preset system with importable/exportable layouts and a Cancel all/Undo/Redo system. But these are beyond the scope of this post.

Below this bar would be a bit of empty space, and a preview the current display (similar to how the Overview shows a virtual desktop) below that.
The preview would show all panels and widgets, but not windows.

When hovering over a widget or panel, it would be highlighted, indicating that clicking on it will do something. That something is opening the relevant settings menu for that object in the empty space I mentioned earlier. I think this would make for a clean, easy to understand design. However, it would take a significant amount of work to port all widget and panel settings to look nice there.

A mockup I made to highlight the changes I’m writing about. This is how editing the panel would look like.

With this design, there’s a lot less movement, and the entire desktop is visible at all times, so you’ll see the end result while editing. Also the preview of the desktop isn’t too small compared to the real size of it, so it would still look OK on smaller screens (I’m not sure about this, I just hope it would).

Just to clarify: I’m not a developer and have never written any serious code. This is purely from the perspective of a user wishing the best for the desktop environment they use. I hope this you liked the ideas presented in this post :slight_smile: And many thanks to Plasma devs for this amazing desktop environment!


I also think that removing the ‘Alternatives’ button from the right click menu of widgets outside of Edit Mode is a good idea. In my opinion, significant changes made to the desktop should only be done in Edit Mode.

I like the concept of trying to club relevant settings under a menu/title-bar whatever it is called. Maybe this is a total different UI redesign. But since they already made one now, I guess they’ll be working on improving it further and further.