[Nautilus-list] Re: GNOME user environment brainstorming

From: "James M. Cape" <jcape ignore-your tv>
> Global User Levels are something I dislike, though there is no hard
> evidence that I've seen either for or against this particular method of
> handling things, here are some problems I see with the concept:
> [...]
> I believe that a better method to handle advanced preferences is the one
> taken by MacOS, the disclosure triangle. The little right-pointing arrow
> that expands a dialog, prefs pane, or whatever to show more complicated
> options. The advantages of this approach are:
> [...]

Awesome points, I agreed with user levels until I read your points, and now
I see things differently.

> > Somewhere to Start
> > ===
> Basically, I don't think a "Start Here" special folder would solve much,
> since we'd still have to fix the menu structure anyways, the user cannot
> find everything they will need through this folder, and the menus will
> still almost always be faster. But really, this does need to be
> user-tested. The Best of "Start Here" vs. The Best of The Menus.

Have a look at how ROX desktop ( http://rox.sourceforge.net ) does it: they
have a special button on the taskbar for Home, Apps, etc., and one for each
drive.  The Filer *is* the menu system; applications are self-contained in
special "application directories" which are executable through the Filer so
they can be moved around without installing/uninstalling.  A very good point
is made on the website that many people don't even learn how their
filesystem structure is organised because Win32 isolates them from it
through its Start menu and Open dialog boxes.  (Neither are ideal solutions
to the problem.)  It's a radical thought, now that Win32 has permeated
everyone's thinking, but why not have a folder called "Programs" which
contains all your apps next to one called "Documents" that contains all your
docs, or even better, have a folder called "DTP" that contains your DTP
program launcher, a few related utilities, and a subfolder called "DTP
Docs".  When you want to do some DTP, you open your "DTP" folder and voila,
there is everything that is related to that context.  This has parallels
with the nicities of encapsulation in OOP--the data and the code that
operates on that data is all encapsulated in one place.  Using the
filesystem heirarchy is a required and natural part of what users do, so
they learn how to think about where they are putting things when they save,
and you end up with far fewer directories with hundreds of documents in.
Users tend to create subdirectories for everything (I have seen this over
several years using RISC OS, after which ROX is modelled) and you end up
with much more of a tree than the flat mess that most users' drives turn
into in Windows.

> I'd like to add "Recent Documents" to the list of special folders. It
> should be a subdir of the Desktop which contains links to recently
> opened documents. (gnome-vfs may be able to help us with this in the
> future, perhaps through a gnome-vfsd -- which will also let us do all
> sorts of cool things, such as monitor which apps have which files open,
> and present the user with a single, integrated "these documents unsaved"
> dialog when they logout, an advanced feature not present in any current

The new Open dialog box (when it's done) should be able to make use of this
too.  By the way does anyone know if someone is developing the Open dialog,
or is it still just in the ideas stage?  Who did the new Open/Save dialog
for Ximian GNOME 1.4?

> > There's some possible confusion about shortcut buttons on panel vs. on
> > desktop, especially since panel icons require single-click, desktop
> > double-click.
> I have personally seen users who asked to borrow my computer to check
> something on the Internet double-click on a panel button, then do it
> again, and again, and again (since Xalf doesn't have the ability to
> change the cursor when it is over another window). They are then
> surprised by 8 windows showing up one after another. :-) I say make all
> launchers respect a single pref for double/single click.

Much as I like the current defaults personally, I believe strongly in
consistency and if single-click-everywhere is not a good default, then I
agree that double-click-everywhere is probably a good default.

> > - On desktop, perhaps show "Havoc Pennington's Home" instead of
> >   "hp's Home"
> > - For user prefs folder, use full name also, "Havoc Pennington's
> >   Preferences"
> I'm not sure I agree with the Deskop & prefs folder (assuming the prefs
> folder is implemented) including the user's name. The user knows who
> they are, so I think "Home" & "Preferences" will suffice. I don't really
> think there needs to be anything extra tacked onto those things, whether
> it's "My" or "$NAME". :-)
>     Jim Cape

I agree.  How many people have had the following conversation:

    "Click on 'My Computer'."
    "Your computer?"
    "No, your 'My Computer'."
    "My computer?"
    <pause> "How?"
    "There's an icon on the desktop called..."

Luke Hutchison.

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