People Overlay Design Ideas
My idea is reasonably simple, and quite similar to many others floating around. Gnome shell is a ... well, shell. It is designed to make commonly completed tasks simpler and easier. For this reason, my idea is to have extra plugin overlays which can be next to the Activities trigger in the top panel. Graphically I would imagine switching between overlays by flipping the screen (much like Compiz cube with only two workspaces). I have shown the People tab here, and suggested that other plugins might include RSS readers, etc, which simplify commonly performed desktop tasks. This does not provide any NEW functionality to the desktop, but makes commonly performed tasks simpler.
In the picture shown below (it is based on GnomeShell/DesignerPlayground/AppBrowsingAlternative02, because I really like that mockup), clicking on any of the buttons, or status indicators, will flip you back to the workspace, and bring up the required application: such as evolution for email, empathy for chat (or possibly pidgin), and so forth.
It would be great if a this could be a global "contacts" menu by pulling and allowing you to organize contacts from all applications (evolution, empathy ) and web services (webmail, social networks etc) 1 2.
This would be ideal for me; and would simplify my computing use immensely.