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We Want: Mission Control Mini, iPad multitasking UI done right

You're working on a blog post in Blogsy and you want to quickly check a couple of references in Safari, how do you switch between the two apps? In iOS 5 (and 6), you have three options. You can either bring up the multitasking tray with a four fingered swipe up, swipe left or right to move through apps or, go old school and hit the Home button to return to the springboard. All these solutions work, but none of them seem quite right to us.

Mission Control for OS X is a quick way of switching between open applications and windows on the Mac, we think there is a way of implementing a cut-down version of Mission Control in iOS, Mission Control Mini, if you will.

Mission Control Mini

Since iOS 5, four finger swiping has become an important multi-touch gesture. Four finger swiping left, right and up all have important functions, but how about swiping down? We would like to see the four finger swipe down gesture associated to Mission Control Mini.

Mission Control Mini would, as shown in the illustration above, be a simple tray that shows the saved states of previously running apps. The screen shots associated with each app would be presented in chronological order based on when they were last accessed. Double tapping the screen shot would enlarge it by 600% to reveal more detail, while a single tap would open the app.

We think Apple is saving the four fingered swipe down gesture for something related to task switching. It could be something as simple as what we've described here, or it might even be a full blown version of Mission Control as it appears in OS X. Either way, we hope we don't have to wait until iOS 7 to find out.

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Reader Comments (1)

I like the idea of a mission control mini, but having it in addition to the existing app tray would be confusing I think. Why have two styles of recent/running app lists when one will do?

How about simply replacing the current app icons in the tray along the bottom of the screen with mission-control-style screenshots (or perhaps screenshots with a miniature app icon in one corner - similar to Android ICS's app switching UI to help users identify which app is which).

The swipe down gesture could then be used for something else. Perhaps the brightness & musc player controls that appear on the left most panel of the current app tray could be moved up there. That would make them more immediately accessible.

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Nash

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