#PMChallenge - Merger of Locks Screen with Ambient Display

  1. 8K Guy Donut Feb 5, 2019

    8K Guy, Feb 5, 2019 :
    Hi there!

    I am 8K Guy, a tech gadget reviewer and I have been studying the smartphone industry since 2012. I started reviewing them back in 2016, in an effort to better understand how various design decisions can affect user experience. In my spare time, I come up with concepts for an ideal smartphone software, based on my experiences with various UI.

    Seeing that OnePlus is looking for new ideas from the community, I shall contribute one of mine. Having used the OnePlus 6, I really admire the work the OxygenOS developers have done and I hope to be able to share the rest of my ideas with them if I get the chance.

    Inspiration of Idea

    As you might have guessed from the title, my idea involves "killing" the lock screen. With ambient display, you will go through 3 (4, if you include the app drawer) layers of UI to open an app, each layer has a different layout. No.1 is ambient display, when you pick up the phone. No. 2 is the lock screen, when you wake the display. No.3 is the home screen, when you unlock the phone.


    Studying smartphone software told me that simplicity, without sacrificing the core functionality, provides the user with the best experience. Less is more. In this case, we can merge ambient display and lock screen such that they share the same layout and becoming just 1 layer of UI.

    How It Will Work

    Here are the steps to doing so:
    1) Remove the background of the lock screen
    2) Change the lock screen clock to match the ambient display's clock
    3) Move notification bar icons below clock (exclude notification icons)
    4) Fit notifications in section below clock

    So this is how it will work: Lift your phone and ambient display will appear. Tap on the screen and lock screen notifications will appear below clock, background stays black. Scroll notification by swiping in "notification section", clock stays in place. Tap clock or buffer zone to hide notifications.


    A flashing icon for incoming notification can be added to the ambient display. There should only be one icon, to reduce clutter and save battery.

    Challenge #1: Unlocking of Device

    Without a proper lock screen, a new way of calling up the password/pin pad and face unlock is required. An easy solution would be swiping from the bottom of the screen when ambient mode is activated by lifting the device, regardless of whether the notifications are hidden or not.


    To prevent a misread between a notification list scroll and an unlocking swipe, there should be a buffer zone between the bottom edge of the display and the notification section. The password/pin pad will have a black background too. Tap on the buffer zone to hide notifications.

    These days, face and fingerprint unlocking are so quick that people often do not often get to see the lock screen notification. My idea would to separate the "face unlocking" and "notification" parts, so users can avoid unlocking the device when all they want to do is read notifications.

    Challenge #2: Accidental Unlocking of Device

    You might be thinking: wouldn't your device accidentally unlock in your pocket? The answer is no. There are 2 conditions before your device would accept a touch input: the proximity sensor mustn't detect blockage and you must lift the device to activate ambient display.

    Many phones have lift-to-wake feature that wakes the display and they go directly to the lock screen. At that point, the screen can receive touch inputs if the proximity sensor isn't blocked. Those aren't prone to accidentally unlocking in your pockets, so I don't see why my concept will.

    Challenge #3: User Deactivates Ambient Display

    If the user disables ambient display, we can continue to use the concept's black background and new layout as the lock screen. Like a normal lock screen, this lock screen will only appear with a double tap or a power button press. Face unlock will start scanning for face immediately.

    Challenge #4: In-Display Fingerprint Scanner

    If the device has an in-display fingerprint scanner, I can think of 2 solutions:

    1) Have the in-display fingerprint scanner as part of the buffer zone. This way, it can be used even when the notifications are up. However, considering how high the in-display fingerprint scanner is on the OnePlus 6T, this would lead to a shorter notification section.

    2) Disable the in-display fingerprint scanner when notifications are up. You get a smaller buffer zone, so more notifications can be displayed. The in-display fingerprint scanner will appear again when the user swipes up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the pin/password pad.

    Summary: Answer to #PMChallenge Questions

    1) Who are the users?

    2) What is the proposed function?
    Merge lock screen with ambient display.

    3) What is the user value?
    A simpler lock screen experience, a more cohesive UI.

    4) If there are existing comparable functions in the smartphone industry, how is your proposed feature superior?
    The closest function I am aware of would be Motorola's Moto Display, which adds the ability to preview and respond to notifications. But it doesn't eliminate the lock screen. While it also brings notification to the ambient display, it introduces one more layer of UI that the user has to learn. Why settle for that when you can achieve a similar result with one less layer? #NeverSettle
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

  2. Tiger53 Froyo Feb 5, 2019

    Tiger53, Feb 5, 2019 :
    I like your idea. To be honest, I don't use my lock screen that much anyways, I use ambient display mostly. Merging the lock screen and ambient display would be awesome!

    ravikrcsia and 8K Guy like this.
  3. 8K Guy Donut Feb 5, 2019

    8K Guy, Feb 5, 2019 :
    Thanks for the support!

  4. meatandy Nougat Feb 5, 2019

    meatandy, Feb 5, 2019 :
    Nice idea , just unlink your personal website and you would be golden .

    Babu_rao_apte and TheRealGamer like this.
  5. 8K Guy Donut Feb 5, 2019

    8K Guy, Feb 5, 2019 :
    Thanks for your support! Removed the link.

    meatandy likes this.
  6. Venky61 Jelly Bean Feb 5, 2019

    Venky61, Feb 5, 2019 :
    Nice Idea... I have a suggestion...
    When you lift the phone the ambient display turns on with the icons of the apps lined up on the left side that have notifications pending. And instead of tapping any where on screen, one can tap on the app icon itself to read the notification and double tapping takes in. More aesthetic ;)
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019

  7. 8K Guy Donut Feb 5, 2019

    8K Guy, Feb 5, 2019 :
    Thanks for your support. That idea would be great if you are waiting for a particular notification. (For example a message from a loved one) But if you received a lot of notifications and want to check if any of them is important, you will have to click on each icon individually, which is really time consuming. Also, if there are too many notifications, the icons will flood the screen.

    Thinking of a way to include both options right now. Will update the thread once I come up with something.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

  8. ravikrcsia Gingerbread Feb 9, 2019

    ravikrcsia, Feb 9, 2019 :
    This exact ambient and lock mix UI is pre-cooked from Google for Pixel series ! I have used it in my Pixel 2 and I will love to see it from OnePlus with something amazing tweeks !

    Peace [e]1f60a[/e]

  9. Grzegorz Zając Cupcake Feb 9, 2019

  10. Ruby G. NA Community Manager Staff Member Feb 11, 2019

    Aashika_ likes this.
  11. 8K Guy Donut Feb 11, 2019

    8K Guy, Feb 11, 2019 :
    Thanks for your support! [e]1f60a[/e]

    ____Dpk____ likes this.
  12. ArcadiyKulchinskiy Froyo Feb 11, 2019

    ArcadiyKulchinskiy, Feb 11, 2019 :
    Great idea! I also think that Lockscreen the way it is today is complitely unnecessary when we have Amoled display. Your ideia is very good, but the only thing OnePlus need to change, is disable bright filter over lockscreens wallpaper. If they'll disable it, you can set black wallpaper on the lockscreen and voilá, ambient display for lockscreen.

    Aashika_ and ____Dpk____ like this.
  13. OceaneSxm Ice Cream Sandwich Mar 2, 2019

    OceaneSxm, Mar 2, 2019 :
    Pretty cool idea, I can see myself using this on a daily basis :)
    Love how you point out the different challenges and proposed solutions for them.
    Best of luck to you !

    _Arundhati_ likes this.