Just throwing this out there for discussion --
Currently, applications on the homepage either get a large tile (full-width) or a small square tile. Some advantages of this approach are:
- By rendering most applications with a small tile, we can fit all of the applications on to the homepage without the page being 9,000 pages long.
- Organizing applications into groups (like "Communication") is at least somewhat helpful in finding applications.
However, I don't think either of these advantages are all that advantageous:
- We now have so many applications that I find it faster to search for rarely-used apps than find them in navigation. This will only get worse over time. (We probably have 50% more applications than we did when we built this element?)
- The groups aren't great fits and are all kind of vague, so they don't really help you find things most of the time, especially if you aren't familiar with everything.
- Overall, I'm not sure getting all the apps onto the homepage is very useful, since I very rarely click any of the tiles after the first few.
- (I use the first few large tiles, and navigate to other applications by typing in URLs or using the "Search" typeahead.)
This approach also has some costs:
- The settings screen is complex, overwhelming, and hard to use.
- Particularly for new users, the small tiles are even less useful because they don't know what the applications do yet, and we don't have room to put explanatory text on them.
- The groups are pretty arbitrary and probably won't scale well once we have third-party applications.
The complexity of configuring this stuff gets worse after T4103, where administrators will have to configure applications for new users.
A possible approach here is:
- All tiles are always large.
- Not all applications appear on the homepage.
- The "Applications" application gets updates to be a more user-friendly application directory (3-up on desktops, icons).
- Configuration is just show / don't show, plus drag-to-reorder. Show / don't show probably move into Applications? As "Pin to home" or something.
- By default, we show only a few applications, and pin the "Applications" application at the bottom.
(@chad, I think you'd mentioned some more dramatic redesign ideas. Not sure if this is in line with them or not.)