Shell 40: Search bar relocation for larger workspace previews
From my testing with GNOME 40, I've come to the conclusion that the workspace previews are too small. While it's possible to interact with them using a mouse, I worry that the touch target would be too difficult for mobile users. Also, the whole point of the workspace previews is to show every workspace the user has. When the content is so condensed and cramped, what's the point in using them? There's also the fact that the user interface looks top-heavy, with a panel, search bar, and window previews. That, however, is subjective.
I believe that this issue can be resolved by relocating the search bar. I have designed two mock-ups which show this change in action.
This first design closely follows the direction GNOME 40 is headed in. The first thing to note is the larger workspaces. They have more room for content, and touch shouldn't be a huge issue anymore. The more important change is the location of the search bar. It has now been merged with the dash. Some may argue that the reachability is poor, but type to search would still exist after this change. In fact, it may be easier to remove the search bar/icon entirely, however, new users may not realize that they can search without a visual aid.
This second design follows the standalone appgrid button concept. My biggest gripe with this direction is the lack of balance — only one side has a button. Adding a search button on the opposite side solves this problem, and in my opinion, looks quite snazzy.
How it works & issues
So, we've established a location. How would the actual search interface work? I don't think it needs to change. The old search bar could reappear when the button is pressed — taking over the workspace previews. For another approach, a user on my Reddit post said that the dock could transform into a search bar.
Lastly, I'd like to point out one flaw that comes with this design. There is no longer an indication that a user can type to search. The GNOME tour should highlight the overview's type to search capabilities. The shell could alternatively have a toast text (maybe above the dock?) for a few seconds to remind the user that they can type.