[Nautilus-list] Re: GNOME user environment brainstorming

On Sat, May 26, 2001 at 09:18:55AM -0400, Kevin Vandersloot wrote:

> For Nautilus in single click mode you can hold down CTRL and select any
> number of icons with a button press.

I understand that MS and Mac desktops have a similar feature.  To
select a set of 15 items, the user clicks to select the first item,
and then control-clicks to select the subsequent 14.  So the only
difference between single and double click activations is whether the
first item is selected using click, or control-click.  To my mind, the
"click to activate, control-click to select" approach seems more
consistant and easier to use for the common case of object activation.

> So single-click mode is not really a problem for me, but I do agree
> that double-click is the better default for inexperienced users.

Yes, as John Sullivan has pointed out, Eazel has done actual user
testing that shows that double-click activation is easier for people
who are new to Gnome to use, and so would be the correct default,
especially for novice users.  I suspect though that they find the
double-click activation more natural because it's what they are used
to on MS and Mac platforms, rather than due to any innate superiority.

I think that there's room for improvement here, at least for people
willing to try something different than what MS provides.  Something
like what was described for Acorn-OS seems like a good start: clicking
with mouse button 1 activates, clicking with mouse button 2 selects,
and clicking with mouse button 3 brings up a menu of preferences or

This could be used to provide a set of actions that would be similar
under a wide range of situations.  For example:

- On a desktop icon:
    . Button1 activates the program or document;
    . Button2 toggles between selecting and deselecting the icon;
    . Button3 activates an object settings or preferences menu.

- On a menu item:
    . Button1 activates the program or submenu;
    . Button2 toggles between selecting and deselecting the menu item,
      allowing one or more menu items to be copied to the desktop or to
      the favorites menu;
    . Button3 activates an object settings or preferences menu for the
      program or menu item.

- On a hyperlink or underlined URL in a terminal:
    . Button1 activates the link as usual;
    . Button2 selects or deselects the link, so the URL can be copied
      into a document or placed on the desktop;
    . Button3 brings up a menu of things that you might want to do
      with a web page -- edit it, render it, print it, mail it to a
      friend, or whatever.

This pattern is easy to use, easy to learn, and easy to extrapolate
into new usages.  It also avoids the RSI-inducing need to double click
to perform the most common action of activating a desktop object.

-- John Kodis.

PS: Since this thread seems to have evolved into a usability issue,
I'd recommend following up to gnome-gui-list gnome org to minimise

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