GNOME Shell User Observation: Gergely Polonkai (myself), a day in my office

User Profile

  • Systems administrator and engineer
    • common tasks involve handling user tickets, doing actions reacting to system monitoring tools, proactive work on several servers
  • 11 years experience with both Windows and Linux desktops

User General Desktop Usage Profile

  • Using GNOME on Ubuntu on a laptop (1440x900) with an additional LCD monitor attached (1280x1024)

Self-identified most-commonly used applications

  • Microsoft Outlook running in CrossOver Office (eagerly waiting for a stable, working version of Evolution-MAPI plugin)

  • Corporate ticket handling software running in wine
  • Firefox (Tabs listed below)
    • Several Intranet sites (team calendar, 3-4 monitoring sites, team knowledge base)
    • Personal mailing on Google Mail
  • Pidgin for corporate instant messaging
  • Sometimes XChat for personal communications
  • Skype for corporate and personal communications
  • Rhythmbox music player
  • Gnome Terminal with several tabs, depending on current situation to solve

GNOME Panel Launchers

I don't really like them, thus I start everything from the menus.

Usage of Desktop

  • Empty. I put all my files in folders under my home directory.
  • Sometimes I create empty files on it to act as sticky notes. Sometimes I use the sticky note applet for this task
  • Mostly using Alt+Tab for window switching, or the mouse wheel above the window list applet
  • I keep corporate mailing constantly on the external monitor, full screen. On the other monitor, I place my browser full-screen and all the other windows sized to consume around the 1/3 of the screen
  • Nautilus is set to icon view, with thumbnail creation/viewing enabled. This comes from my home computer where I usually work with pictures. Files are automatically sorted alphabetically

Task Observations

Task 1: Reacting to user tickets

When a ticket arrives in our ticketing system, it also appears as a mail. As Outlook is running constantly on the external monitor, I can see it instantly.

  1. Navigate to the ticket handling window with Alt+Tab or the mouse wheel
  2. Read the details of the ticket
  3. Check for possible solutions in the knowledge base if needed
  4. Navigate to the Gnome Terminal window, use the currently open tab, or open a new one if the old one is still in use
  5. Login to the mentioned server, solve the issue
  6. Close the Terminal tab
  7. Navigate back to the ticketing software and close the ticket

Task 2: Writing e-mails

Sometimes we need to communicate with other teams or with customers.

  1. Navigate to the Outlook window
  2. Click Reply All, which opens the composing window full screen on the external monitor
  3. Compose the mail
  4. Send the mail with Ctrl+Enter

Task 3: Reacting to monitoring events

Although we receive an automatically generated ticket (thus, an e-mail) about most monitoring issues, it is possible that we find something in the monitoring (e.g something gets into a "Warning" status). This time, we act proactively.

  1. Check the details of the issue on the monitoring site
  2. Check for possible solutions in the knowledge base if needed
  3. Navigate to the Gnome Terminal window, use the currently open tab, or open a new one if the old one is still in use
  4. Login to the mentioned server, solve the issue
  5. Close the Terminal tab

Task 4: Personal tasks

When I have some time, I take a look at my personal mails and chat windows, and some forums

  1. Check the notification area if Pidgin's, Skype's or XChat's notification icon is blinking
  2. If so, open the actual chat window and reply
  3. Navigate to Firefox, open a tab for my personal mailbox by middle-clicking on the bookmark toolbar's corresponding button
  4. Open a new tab for the desired forums, with the same method


  • If the mouse is in my hand, I use it to switch between the windows by scrolling over the taskbar. Otherwise, I use Alt+Tab for window switching. I hardly ever click in background windows to raise them to the top
  • I keep most of my windows at the size of 1/3 of my laptop screen. Corporate mail and Firefox is always maximized
  • The desktop is never used, as it is constantly hidden by the Outlook and Firefox windows. However, it always holds a beautiful background image
  • I navigate through needed applications using the menu. I hardly ever use launchers on the panel
  • The notification area is a very important place, as all my chat and e-mail applications put some signs there if something happens
  • When I get bored of the current music, I press the Next button of the Music Applet, thus controlling Rhythmbox (which is constantly hidden by pressing its notification icon)

Projects/GnomeShell/UserObservationData/GergelyNov2009 (last edited 2013-11-22 16:59:50 by WilliamJonMcCann)