Re: [Nautilus-list] Integration of gmc and nautilus desktop directories.

On 14 Apr 2001 19:34:01 +0300, Tuomas Kuosmanen wrote:
> I dont know if this counts as "user testing" but this is from my
> original mail you replied to:
>     "I talked with Garrett Le Sage (the artist guy) and he
>     said he had a lot of trouble explaining to his family (he installed
>     Linux with GNOME for them) that the files they saved did not go to
>     the desktop, but they had to find them in this special directory.
>     And those people were not never-used-a-pc-before -level, they had
>     some computing experience beforehand. They learned how it worked and
>     have no problem now. But
>     should they need to learn such at thing at all?"
> Now these are real people who *did* have trouble with this thing.

I used to do user training for Windows 95 beginners, and we had a very
simple way of explaining the semantics of the desktop and "My Documents"
(Win95's equivalent of $HOME):

* the desktop is (no surprise) like the top of your desk: 
  it's where you keep things that you need to use often 
  or that you're currently working on.  

* "My Documents" ($HOME) is like your filing cabinet: it's 
  where you put stuff that you are done with or that you 
  want to store for future reference.

* When your desktop gets too cluttered, it's time to move 
  some stuff into the filing cabinet.  

Once things were explained to them in this way, users usually understood
the distinction between the desktop and "My Documents" right away and
had little trouble.  Sometimes a clever student would ask if this meant
they had to move something that had been "filed" back onto the desktop
before they made any changes to it.  We'd tell them that, just like in
real life, it depends on the scope of the changes: you might make a
quick modification to a file while standing over the filing cabinet, but
a longer one you'd do back at your desk.

IMHO, this task-oriented distinction between desktop and filing-cabinet
is a useful one.  In fact, my suspicion is that, if $HOME and the
desktop were combined, the first thing I and many others would do would
be to recreate the distinction by making a "files" directory and putting
everything into it.  Garrett's problem wasn't that $HOME and the desktop
were different, but that downloads should have gone to the desktop.
Going further, it would make sense for *all* programs, not just
downloading ones, to save on the desktop by default, since the new files
are presumably "something you're currently working on" and therefore fit
in the desktop semantics. 

    Adam Haile

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