Re: Nautilus 2.6 - We're going all spatial

i've been out of the loop for ever, but i'm really really interested in this particular topic so here i come back out of lurkerdom.

specifically i want to comment on a few things that ettore said.

* It is not at all clear to me that the spatial model is more usable than the browser model. (Sure, it makes a lot of sense and is more real-world-like, but as it's being pointed out before it does have drawbacks. )

it makes terribly more sense to most computer novices. the idea that a folder is a file and vice versa does seem to me to be what most non-technical-minded people believe and i've seen my family get very confused when using back and forward and things like that, trying to figure out where they are.

one advantage to spacial browsing that has not been mentioned too much is that it makes copying files across directories far far easier. you simply have each window open and drag across, whereas in a majority navigation style you have to move it to the desktop or cut it and then drag or paste it in the same window, something that doesn't seem particularly intuitive.

* 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.

i don't agree with this. you aren't exposing the average user to anything, i doubt most of them will ever even try to use the navigation option. it seems like that is more being left in so that those of us who do feel more used to it can continue to use it, and as the article pointed out, as someone becomes more familiar with the system they could graduate to it if they want. but most new users i know who are not technically-minded don't go trying random options and most likely won't ever use it at all.

* 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 :-)) are going to suffer a lot, since they won't be able to just double-click desktop icons anymore.

one way around this is of course to do an option for navigation or spacial views. i wonder how Mac OS 10.3 is going to handle this issue. a preference would solve the problem for both sides though, and most new users would probably never change the preference.

This interface is partially inspired by the interface described in . Interested parties should read that before getting involved in the discussion.

I find most of the arguments in that article to be very subjective, and not very well-founded.

Before making such a big paradigm shift it would probably be better to do a thorough research on how the model actually affects users. (Research which you might have done already -- in which case it would be nice to know the results of that. ;-))

it is worth pointing out that apple *did* do the research, nearly two decades of it, and did discover that this was the most effective way to have people use computers. even steve jobs, who axed the spacial finder in OS X when he came back has seemingly changed his mind. the next version of OS X includes options to re-spacial the finder.

Our general opinion coming out of that thread was that the Object Oriented metaphor was probably easier to learn, and built a stronger conceptual model for users, but that the convenience benefits of a navigation window outweighed those.

So why are you making the object oriented metaphor the default? I doubt there is really a learnability problem at all -- if the browser model were so difficult to understand people wouldn't even be able to browse the web (or use a file selector dialog).

-- Ettore

this argument makes no sense to me. browsing the web and browsing ones hard disk are completely different scenarios with very different assumptions. web pages exist in one spot, and cannot be moved, for one thing. for another, there is no assumption on the part of users that the content doesn't arbitrarily change, which they do have for their files. people have completely different expectations for the web and for a file manager.


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