Re: Nautilus 2.6 - We're going all spatial

On Tue, 2003-09-16 at 02:46, Seth Nickell wrote:
> > You are claiming that most Mac users and Windows users don't understand
> > the conceptual model behind their file manager?
> Yes. I suspect that this is the core of our disagreement: you do not
> believe that people have trouble using existing software. I believe they
> get by, but could be doing much better.
> Most Windows users have not developed a useful conceptual model of their
> file managers. Many more Mac users have. I have observed a big
> difference between how much Mac users use their "filesystem" and how
> much Windows users do. I haven't had the opportunity to observe lots of
> naive MacOS/X users (several, but not enough to substantive draw
> conclusions), so I will be interested to see how things work out there.

As someone who has done tech support for win and mac users I can tell
you that, yes, there is a big difference in the way that users from
either operating system use their filemanagers.  

Most of things Seth said are absolutely true in this regard.  Mac users
are simply more comfortable in their file manager and use it more often
than the typical neophyte Windows users.  Windows users rely heavily on
the File->Open approach to getting to their files and organize them
less.  How many win users do you know that have all their files directly
under C:\ or their desktop for example?  

Another big difference is not in the typical end user behavior but in
the power user category where many win users have experiences using
their file manager through the Windows Explorer interface as opposed to
My computer style interface and use the filesystem in ways that are much
akin to the Mac user behavior indicated by Seth.  The win power users
tend to prefer the navigational approach to the OO approach if you can
even make the jump to call the My Computer method of access an OO style
approach which is a jump to say the least.  

Now, to the point, defaults do count and so do simple but complete
preference choices.  As long as the navigational approach does not
disappear completely then I assert:

1)  It is a good thing to have a simple approach to presenting a real OO
file management experience in Nautilus.  An approach that almost equates
to this can be gained by the selection of a number of different options
but a real consolidated approach is much better overall.  

2)  The navigation model should NOT go away not that the option has been
seriously considered so far but there are many users that will prefer
this approach.  This is not in my opinion confusing to the user if done
correctly which leads to my final point.  

3) A seriously well-made and well-thought-out object model should be the
default.  My assertion is that power-users will find the option for a
navigation view and change over easily.  The neophyte user will lament
under the navigation model that may not be the best approach for them.

4)  Define the choice in a clear way in the preferences.  The real key
to the simplicity approach is not to strip all options from the
preferences (not saying that Naut has done this btw) but to provide
clear simple options to the user in a way they can understand.  The
options between the two styles of views have to be defined clearily in
the preferences.  (BTW, can I get back the preference option for using
the home dir as the desktop hunting for the gconf key is annoying :->)  

As long as Naut does not take an all or nothing approach to this new
model I think this could be an incredible experiment in UI approaches
for the premier Open desktop filemanager.  Yes, it has been done before
but more the better because it gives the developers here the chance to
take the model and the ideas the next level.    

Good luck.  
Johnathan Bailes <johnathan bailes esi baesystems com>

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