Re: the Nautilus context menu

This really belongs on usability-list.

On Wed, Nov 13, 2002 at 11:48:08AM -0600, Gregory Merchan wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 13, 2002 at 05:37:07AM -0500, Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > The new nautilus has a feature where external plugins can insert menu 
> > items in the context menu for files. This is quite powerful and lets us 
> > extend Nautilus with new functionality from other apps (e.g. file-roller 
> > can add a "create an archive from selected files"). 
> > 
> > However, it is also very easy to misuse this functionality to add stuff to 
> > the menu entry that may not be suited. The context menu is a limited 
> > resouce, and its already quite long. Several people disagreed with adding 
> > context menu components, arguing that the menu was already to long. 
> <snip>
> The menu could be made shorter.
> 1) Dependent on Bug #82162, Open and Open With can be one item.
>    Even without that, Open can be removed and instead the first
>    item on the Open With menu can be the default item.
>    This would not be bad because:
>    a) Open is already afforded by (double-)clicking the icon.
>    b) There'd be a way to know what is the default opener.


> 2) Scripts can probably be removed in favor of limited menu editing.

Not sure what you mean here; probably yes :-)

> 3) Cut/Copy/Paste and Duplicate/Make Link can be replaced by two item.
>    The replacements would be Pick Up and Drop, with a submenu for Drop
>    allowing a choice of what to drop including: the object itself,
>    a copy of the object, a link to the object. Again dependent on
>    Bug #82162, one of those items can be made the default so that
>    the user need not open the submenu.

This has been debated extensively in bugzilla, a good argument against
being that people who use computers have learnt the Copy/Paste paradigm.
Pick up and Drop are a little more like real-life objects, but:

a) files are _not_ real-life objects, and file management assumes
knowledge of filesystems etc. anyway;
b) it's inconsistent with the rest of GNOME, and every (?) other
operating system out there.

It doesn't seem worth alienating skilled computer users in an effort to
make file management seem as simple as pie - which it isn't.

The bug's probably still open somewhere.

> 4) Rename used to be afforded by clicking on the label. What happend to
>    this? Bring this back and get rid of the Rename... menu item. There
>    is already another menu item that allows renaming - Properties.

IIRC, it was removed because it's a usability bug. Simply clicking on an
item made the label editable when you didn't want it to be, and the
label would refuse to become editable if you actually did.

> 5) All of the icon items can be removed to the properties.


> The menus, without #82162 fixed, would be:
> +------------------+
> | Open With       >| -------------- +---------------+
> +------------------+                | <the default> |
> | Pick Up          |                +---------------+
> | Drop            >| - +--------+   | <other        |
> +------------------+   | Here   |   |   openers>    |
> | Move to Trash    |   | Copy   |   |               |
> | Delete           |   | Link   |   +---------------+
> +------------------+   +--------+
> | Properties       |   | Cancel |
> +------------------+   +--------+

Presumably "Cancel" is if you don't want to "hold" whatever you "picked
up" any more. Really, this has the same problem as cut/paste. If you
"pick up" something, and then go and do something else, where does the
file go? Answer: it hasn't gone anywhere. So "Cancel" is just a
non-functional menu item :-)

> With #82162 fixed:
> 1) s/Open With/Open/
> 2) The Open item could be activated without showing the submenu.
> 3) <the default> would not need to be moved to the top as it
>    would be indicated by a some icon next to it.
> 4) Drop could be activated without showing the submenu.
>    (I don't know which drop should be the default.)
> Cheers,
> Greg Merchan


Version: 3.1
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