Re: PATCH: Bug 82107, Turn off nautilus sidebar and location bar by default

Hi Dave B & C,

I know, I know...  I said wasn't going to be sending this email.  Well,
now that I've heard that Ximian and RedHat plan on turning the side pane
off by default, I feel that its necessary to defend the side pane one last

On 31 Aug 2002, Dave Bordoley wrote:

> This patch turns off the location bar and sidebar by default.CCing
> usability list on this to get there opinions as well. Below are some of
> my comments from the bug.
> dave
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> IMHO, the default nautilus look is to cluttered and can be confusing to
> users.

> 1) The location bar should be off by default.
>    First, the location bar is a feature that is used by fairly advance

People can/must learn to use the location bar in order use the web.
Everyone uses the web.  Hence, it is not an advanced feature.

> users.  Since it requires knowledge of the layout of the unix filesystem

Nautilus uses a uri scheme so that it can view more than just UNIX
filesystems.  So even w/o knowledge of the UNIX filesystem layout, it can
be useful.

Furthermore, only the complete path fully identifies a given location, so
if we were to turn the location bar off we would need make the full path
conveniently available from somewhere else (often the title bar is
suggested).  However, if we're going to display the full path anyway,
thereby exposing the user to the UNIX filesystem (oh noo!) we lose
nothing by making that path editable.

> to be of any use. To a user new to unix, being able to enter in a
> location doesn't mean anything if they aren't familiar with the unix
> directory system.

To a user new to computers being able to right click on an icon doesn't
mean anything if they aren't familiar with the icon/desktop metaphor.


>   Which leads to my second point, though more thorough user testing is
> needed, I suspect that for the vast majority of new users (particularly
> windows converts) the presence of the location bar strongly suggests
> that nautilus can be used as a web browser (I've actually experienced

I have experienced this as well.  IMHO, the correct solution is to give
users what they want.  We should depend on a web view.

And no, I don't believe that web browsing and file browsing can't be done
with the same app.

> 2) The sidebar should be off by default
>    The sidebar takes up an enormous amount of screen space( about 1/5 of
> the nautilus window) while providing little to no general user benefit.

The side pane is useful for:

a) opening an editing application when using a viewer.
b) adding annotations to directories and files.
c) and obviously, accessing side pane views, some yet to be invented,
some simply needing to be fixed (e.g. the tree view).
d) face it, the side pane just plain looks nice (e.g.

> The default tabs, notes and history, are not commonly used enough to
> justify using up the such a large portion of screen space.

Actually I use notes all the time (incidently, it might be nice if we
could dnd notes to the desktop).

By leaving the side pane on users will be aware of the notes, history
and tree panes.  It will be more difficult for users to discover
these features then it will be for them to turn them off if they are
unwanted.  It will also be less likely that new uses for the side pane
will be developed (if it defaults to off then it defaults to unused).

Finally, though this is a less important point, both netscape and windows
default to showing the side pane.

As always, just MHO,
 - David

The theory of groups is a branch of Mathematics in which one does
something to something and then compares the result with the result
obtained from doing the same thing to something else, or something else to
the same thing.
J. R. Newman

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