gnome settings redesign
One of the proposed redesigns of GNOME Settings

The GNOME settings app is to get a major design overhaul, GNOME designers and developers have revealed. 

The new design proposals will see the utility switch from a grid layout with fixed window size to one using a sidebar list and resizeable window frame.

As Ubuntu’s own setting utility is a fork of GNOME System Settings any made upstream could have a knock-on effect in it.

System Settings Window
Ubuntu System Settings also uses  a grid layout

But why the change?

GNOME designer Alan Day feels a grid layout is just too limiting, with each icon in the grid ‘competing for attention’.

“There are [also] other issues with the icon grid approach”, Alan Day explains, noting that it’s difficult for developers to add new settings and options to the app, and that some settings don’t work well with a fixed size window frame.

Switching to a sidebar list and using a resizable window will, Day reasons, give desktops user a ‘more guided experience’ with panels that feel more cohesive together and less like a “collection of separate parts.”

Redesigning the shell that houses settings also means redesigned the settings’ panes (some of which, as WHO points out, desperately need some TLC).

The ultimate aim is to “eliminate […] the overcomplexity of the settings for simple, common, cases” and make “more advanced settings […] easier to use, also.”

There’s no fixed timeline for the work, and much of it will remain subject to feedback and fine-tuning over the coming months.

But the first fruits of the redesign, a new Mouse and Touchpad settings panel, will be on show in GNOME 3.20 due for release in the Spring.

Dev gnome gnome 3.20