Android Recents Menu Concept
After I complained about the shortcomings of the current Recents Menu implementation, +Ian Lake
asked if I had a better idea that maintained the speed and ease of use, while making the nature of the relationship between tasks, documents and apps more clear.  This is a concept that hopes to achieve that goal. I previously posted a quick static mockup , but have since evolved the idea and am using motion to better illustrate it here.
Hi-res video: https://youtu.be/gA1RbEFDnIU
Imgur link in case GIF not loading: http://m.imgur.com/NOcsCyG
The main idea is to switch to a horizontally stacked app list, with the respective tasks and documents stacked vertically. I believe this better suits the majority use case: users typically only navigate to the last 3 - 4 Recents entries and think of tasks/documents as part
of the app. It clarifies why
there are multiple entries for each app, and reduces the overall clutter, allowing for more utility.
Answers to some critiques:
- This only allows you to see one app at a time, while the current one shows you 4.
Actually, the current implementation shows you 3, at best, because the bottom one is your current app. The top entry screenshot isn't visible at all, so it could be argued that only 2 entries are truly accessible.
My concept allows the user to easily tap on the icon, instead of a card, which automatically switches to the most recent task or document. Combined with the ability to see 3 - 4 entries per app at a time, and the user can now easily switch to at least 4 different screens. 8+ if they tap the edges of the off-screen cards.
This approach also allows apps to use different App Bar colors to make distinguishing between tasks even easier (e.g. Google Messenger contact colors). As more apps use the task/document approach, this concept only gets better. The current one only gets worse; more cluttered.
- You can no longer horizontally swipe to remove apps from the list, which will slow me down.
One of the main focuses of this concept is to reduce the time you spend clearing the Recents Menu. However, you can also now clear all tasks from an app at once. I believe this is a fair tradeoff for the added utility and clarity.