One thing off the bat @adw: you clearly have a clear mental model of cut-and-paste functioning within a capability called “Clipboard.” Most users do not have that clarity when the enter the Qubes-iverse. You may have been one of those, but—just an off the bat observation.
From a simple heuristics POV, everything to do with Qubes as a multi-environment system is an unfamiliar mental-model for folks; so things just do need to more visibly get spelled-out to folks, and surface more visibly to folks. There’s also a principle in cognitive science, “Working Memory,” similar to how RAM works on a computer. TL;DR, our working memory can only keep track of so many things… and many of the rough patches of UX in Qubes, exhaust the capacity of our working memories… such that we often lose track of things like clipboard, that don’t feel urgent or immediate in the face of other tasks. Clipboard, I very much place in this bucket. For longtime users with the cognitive equivalent to muscle-memory, who know to keep track of such things, it’s far less of a big deal. But for new users, it is incredibly confusing, and something I’ve not seen people prioritize until they paste the wrong thing into the wrong app or VM.
“Interqube Activities” is also not an umbrella concept we speak to in the UI, or in learning materials, that I’ve been mulling over for some time in the back of my head around how to do, better. Like: a “Clipboard” widget, why would anyone need such a thing? Well, because that’s an inter-qube behavior—yet there are a lot of interqube functions that are handled inconsistently.
So, yes, it is a hypothesis of mine that if we more clearly grouped all interqube activities into the same tray widget, and kept users focused upon it as a key focus area—that could help develop the cognitive equivalent to muscle memory, more quickly.
I’d love the funding to fall from the sky to enable a robust design sprint and user study on this. I’d previously created an issue in GitHub, to also surface Clipboard activity more visibly—including a capture of metadata, and/or just showing a full/purged status indicator at the global and/or per-qube level. This is definitely a chewy design problem.