Re: Nautilus 2.6 - We're going all spatial

On Mon, 2003-09-15 at 23:58, Seth Nickell wrote:
> Using a navigation ("browser") model means:
> 1) People will not understand Nautilus as well and will instead rely on
> memorized scripts for accomplishing tasks

You are claiming that most Mac users and Windows users don't understand
the conceptual model behind their file manager?

> Spatial model (more typically called object model unless you are an Ars
> Technica writer ;-) says "here is an object". Navigation model is more
> precisely called a mediated navigation model (the "mediated" part being
> the crux of the problem) and forces you to add "here is a viewer, it
> lets you visualize an underlying set of objects in different ways". This
> adds a layer of indirection to a commonly used piece of the desktop.

Well, the viewer model is common to 99% of the applications on the
desktop.  Picture viewers, word processors, music players, paint
programs, pretty much everything uses a similar model: you have a frame
in which you display things, and you can browse through those things.

If that model is so complicated, how do people manage to use computers
at all?

> 2) Many of the people who do understand Nautilus will use it less for
> simple tasks

Have you tested this?

> >       * You are actually making the Nautilus model more complicated (not
> >         simpler) by exposing the user to two completely different kinds
> >         of windows, for "object" and "navigation" purposes.  This seems
> >         to defeat the basic premise of making the model easier to learn.
> It makes the Nautilus model more complicated for users who choose to
> work through the navigator.

Then it would be nice to have at least some proof that those users are a
minority.  As far as I can see, the overwhelming majority of computer
users out there very happily uses the navigation model.

Even better, Windows and Mac used to have an OO model, and both switched
to a navigation model.  Did they do that just for fun or was it a
horrible mistake?  (And if so, why aren't they fixing it?)

> >       * If "navigation mode" is only available from the menu bar or a
> >         right click menu and everything on the desktop opens in "object"
> >         mode by default, then users who prefer the navigation mode
> >         (which might even be the majority of them :-)) 
> I don't believe its going to be anywhere near a majority (I would expect
> it to be substantially less than 10%) if you're looking at using GNOME
> as any sort of corporate desktop. 

Most corporate desktops out there run Windows, and Explorer uses the
navigation model.

> Furthermore, I believe there's very
> strong overlap between people who prefer navigation mode and people who
> don't and won't use Nautilus to a significant extent anyway, preferring
> the terminal.

All the Windows users I know (who don't even know what a terminal is)
happily and proficiently use the navigation model.  Same for the Mac

> > are going to
> >         suffer a lot, since they won't be able to just double-click
> >         desktop icons anymore.
> Once you're browsing inside a navigator window its going to stay that
> way. Clicking on folders inside it is going to change the current
> location not popup the folder.

I understand that.  The problem is, to start a navigator window from a
desktop icon you have to right-click and find the menu item first.

> The browser model is substantially harder to use, 

I am not convinced.  :-)

> This was probably the largest design trade-off
> that the web made (for technical reasons, and because the web is a
> fundamentally different problem from navigating a smaller set of objects
> that are already in a tree structure). The design flaws (even if
> necessitated as part of an overall package of tradeoffs they are still
> flaws) of the web should not serve a pattern to be replicated :-P

What is the design flaw of the web exactly?  Would you rather have every
link open in a new window?

-- Ettore

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