Updates to the Core GNOME 3 User Experience

GNOME 3.10 includes numerous other new features and enhancements. Here are some of the other improvements that can be found in the latest version.

Paginated Application View

The application launching view now has pages rather than being scrolled, and has many other layout and animation improvements. Pages make it easier to find the application you are looking for, and integrates application folders much more effectively. A lot of time has been spent making this part of GNOME 3 look and feel great.

Customize Your Lock Screen

From 3.10, it is possible to set a different image for your lock screen. This gives greater scope for personalization, and helps to differentiate the lock screen from your session. The lock screen image can be changed from the Background Settings.

Fine Scrolling

Scroll bars in GNOME now feature a new mode that allows fine scrolling. This allows precise movements over small distances, and is particularly useful if the scrolled area is very large. To activate fine scrolling, just click and hold on a scroll bar handle, or click on the handle while holding Shift.


A number of areas in Settings have been enhanced for GNOME 3.10.

  • Date & Time: these have been overhauled to make them easier to use, and now have a bigger, better looking time zone map and clearer options. A new Automatic Time Zone option is provided, which uses the new geolocation framework which has been introduced in 3.10.

  • Displays: the Displays section has been completely redesigned, making configuration much easier.

  • Online Accounts: chat accounts have now been integrated into Online Accounts, which means that you can now access all your accounts in one place. You can now log into your Google account using two-step verification, and Online Accounts now includes Flickr.

  • Universal Access: the different Universal Access sections have been redesigned and combined into a single page. This makes it easier to find the settings you are looking for.

  • Background: in addition to the new lock screen background feature, it is now also possible to select backgrounds from Flickr accounts.

More Beautiful, Legible Text

Cantarell, the GNOME font, has had a big update for 3.10. Glyph coverage has been extended so that more languages are supported, and the shape and spacing of existing letters has been improved. The result is a more beautiful interface font that is easier to read.

High-Resolution Display Support

High-resolution displays (also known as high-density displays) are becoming increasingly common. GNOME 3.10 introduces support for these types of displays, and will now automatically scale what is displayed on the screen to compensate for increased display density. This ensures that controls and content appear at the correct size, and that interfaces are usable. This work would not have been possible without the generous donation of high-density display laptops by Brion Vibber and Intel's Open Source Technology Center (OTC).

Smart Card Support

Smart cards are now supported as an alternate way to log in and unlock. Primarily of interest to enterprise GNOME deployments, smart cards can be configured as the primary authentication method (and password access can be disabled). It is also possible to configure whether removing a smart card locks the device or logs the user out.

Magnifier Focus and Caret Tracking

Magnifier users can enjoy a more effective experience with the addition of caret and focus tracking. With this improvement, the magnifier will move to keep focused widgets and the text entry caret in view. This makes it much easier to type and navigate using the keyboard while using the magnifier.

Other Improvements

There are many other smaller enhancements to the core user experience for 3.10. These include:

  • An improved login screen, with a better layout and nicer transitions.

  • Baseline alignment of text labels, resulting in more evenly and consistently aligned text.

  • A keyboard navigable drop-down calendar, and sliders in the system status menu that can be used with the Orca screen reader.

  • Better looking lock screen notifications.

  • A screen reader can be turned on or off at any time by pressing Super+Alt+S.

  • Web applications now have header bars with some useful controls for navigation.

  • Consolidated log out and power off dialogs, which now incorporate warnings about other logged in users or busy applications (these warnings were previously included in a separate set of dialog windows).

  • A new default background.