One of the main goal of Gnome is to support Wayland. It's a huge step forward, because GTK, Gnome Shell, Mutter were mostly integrated with X. It forced us to reconsider some point of view on things. One of them is title bar containing not much information and functionality, but space. For the default 3.8 release it has:

  • only button to close
  • title of window
  • resizing and moving window actions

Not much. However some functionality like close the window must be somewhere around. As GTK will support client side button, we should choose the best design for it.


Daniel Korostil

Relevant Art

Some apps from Gnome already work without it (i.e. Web).


New design for applications has close button (i.e. Music)



Since It'll be landed to future releases it needs to has clear use case. Disadvantages of the current close button:

  • poor functionality (just close button)
  • easy to misclick (as it's closer to application-specific button)

To avoid these bad user experience we can use animated button. What does mean? It's pretty similar to lock screen where user has to drag'n'drop the cursor all way up to unlock it. The same idea here to close it user has to drag'n'drop it. Also it gives to user some new opportunity to drag'n'drop it in different direction to act in different ways (i.e. maximization, minimization, etc).

In that case name of Close button doesn't make sense any more. Probably renaming is needed as well as redesigning. The icon "x" will confuse user. Animated button must have different looks in different directions of dragging. So the idea is to make an animated icon of window.


Technical details

It must have states and animations between two destinations of dragging. For better understanding, let's say we have icon with open window:

  • O — the position where we can start dragging, only clickable place from the beginning. Drop here doesn't change anything.
  • + — the way to drag. Drop here doesn't change anything.
  • X — the destination. Drop here will bring it into certain action.

Use case to close a window:


In action:


I'm deeply sorry, I'm not an actor, so my multimedia may look unpresentable.

Idea is replace a widow from the real world with iconized and nice-looking one. It would be lovely if someone draws it.

Use case to expand a window:








  • Idea: closing window by dragging it to the bottom of the screen (I know, it's kinda like in Win8). No buttons at all, so you will never miss, plus it is symmetric to maximize action. --SvitozarCherepiy

@SvitozarCherepiy - that's a long way for some people, and is very inconvenient when using a mouse. As for the entire idea of an animated close button, I think we should remember the "never use a warning when you mean undo" concept - instead of warning the user or making them perform an action, just do what they say but allow them to undo it later. Google Chrome does this, by not warning when a tab is closed, but instead allowing ctrl+shift+t to be used to reopen it. Perhaps we can implement something in the notification bar to reopen closed apps? --UnsolvedCypher

@UnsolvedCypher - instead of notification bar we could use dash, having the last used application's icon placed on the bottom of it or on top. --gevera

  • Idea: why not long pressing the close button, that prevents users from easily closing a window and keeps the current "close a window" metaphor intact. --LennartBuit

Design/Whiteboards/CloseButton (last edited 2013-05-07 12:21:17 by LennartBuit)