With this release the Gnome team has decided to focus on aesthetics and accessibility for the maximum number of users. The user interface has been upgraded with several small but significant changes. Fedora 18 is the first distribution to feature the Gnome 3.6 desktop.
The active workspace inside the activities overview will now appear with clearer highlighting. One of the most notable changes to the Gnome Shell is how applications are launched. The applications tab was removed and incorporated into the activities overview.
The grid button located inside the Gnome 3 dash can now be used to locate additional application launchers. The dash will appear when the activities overview being displayed. This change is meant to draw more attention to the activities overview search bar which is actually quite powerful.
Another new, and likely controversial feature is the lock screen. The lock screen will provide a stylish display with some added functionality built-in.
Note: This feature can be disabled from the Brightness & Lock module located inside the system settings manager.
The lock screen will display notifications when they are available. The ability to control media playback or volume is also provided. Date and time will generally be displayed until you wish to access your system. You will then be prompted with a password dialog.
Tip: Press Escape to access the password dialog from inside the lockscreen window.
The popular message tray now has improved usability, visibility, and the icons have been enlarged.
The message tray is located at the bottom of the activities overview. Users can find the message tray by moving the mouse near the bottom of the screen, it will then pop into view. This has been changed from the old hot corner previously used to display the message tray.
System notifications for Gnome 3.6 have also been upgraded. These changes are mostly focused on improving usability which is the primary factor for this release.
Notifications are even more intelligent for Gnome 3.6. When viewing full-screen applications or games, only important notifications will be displayed. Notifications will now contain a close button which makes it more obvious how to dismiss your notifications.
The Gnome 3.6 desktop release also includes several bug fixes making this version more stable than ever before. Even the calendar located inside the top panel has an improved look, and it is more user-friendly.
The user menu located in the top right of the Gnome panel has been refined. This menu now has additional functionality including a power off option. User switching and logout options will only be displayed when the system has more than one user logged in.
Wireless networks inside the networking menu will now be sorted by signal strength for convenience.