Re: [Nautilus-list] Constructive Criticism Revisted

James Mitchell Allmond wrote:

> The whole "Home" placement with the forward, back, stop, etc... buttons
> mimics web browsers. A file manager isn't a web browser. 

Unfortunately, though, this particular one is  :)  I appreciate that
it's part of your argument that Nautilus shouldn't try to be a web
browser as well, but as long as it tries to be, it probably needs some
web-browser like controls.

> That also why I think the spinner/throbber needs to go. The whole thing 
> is ridiculous. It's a waste of useful space and inconsistent in the fact that 
> it's the only thing that does not directly do something on the toolbar.

Well, I suspect clicking it used to take you to Eazel's website, so it
did do *something*  :)  But I agree that feedback-wise, it doesn't
really do anything that good mouse pointer feedback and/or a progress
bar in the status bar couldn't do at least equally usefully.

> We can't limit everything to what previous interfaces have done. 

I quite agree... on the other hand, if we want to design a control that
does something different to existing controls, the best plan is usually
to make it look sufficently different (whilst looking similar enough
that it still appears to be "part of the family").  Microsoft found this
out when they first introduced drop-down combo boxes, for example...
they looked so much like drop-down lists that nobody ever figured out
you could type into them as well-- the only difference was a two pixel
gap between the text field and the dropdown button.  

In true Microsoft fashion, though, rather than address this problem by
doing something like replacing dropdown lists with something more
option-menu-like, they just made both controls look identical, so now
there's no way to tell the difference without trying to type into one
and see if anything appears on the screen!  We don't really want to go
down that road...

> If they don't pick up on it right away, they will soon enough and it would soon
> become "common". 

They may pick it up in this case, but then how are they to know when
they try another application which toolbar buttons they're allowed to
drop things onto and which ones they aren't?  Are the ones that they
can't drop onto just "broken"?  It's more likely they'll just give up
trying because it's so unpredictable, which is bad... a good UI
encourages exploration.  Hence my suggestion that making toolbar buttons
that are drop targets look slightly different from regular ones would
probably be a good idea, if that was a concept we felt we wanted to

> The main thing is to stay consistent. Do't have one "action"
> button act in one fashion and another in some other fashion. True,
> they'll do different things but make the way you use them the same.

Now that sounds like a goal worth aiming for...


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson ireland sun com    Desktop Engineering Group                      +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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