RE: Column View

murray has an important point: no one person can judge
an interface by itself. some people swear by the
windows menu system where menus are attached to
windows, and some people swear by the mac menu system
where the menus are at the top of the screen.  and
while one system may be faster for one individual,
it's perfectly possible for one system to be better
for another.  what is important is diversity.  in some
instances, it's better to use an icon view because i'd
like thumbnails of my futurama episodes, but it's
impractical to view these files in a list effectively.
 likewise there certainly are times where the treeview
is a more efficient system.  the best example is: long
file names. as you can tell from my pictures, the
column view handles long file names quite poorly in
comparison to the treeview.

you point out a bad thing about the column view: it
has a larger learning curve, and i too was confused
about it at first.  it was only after i kept using it
that i realized it's benefits.

the important thing is that we take all of our ideas
and group them together, because no one individual is
right on this matter.

i believe i've made my decision, and i'm going to
implement a ColumnView widget as one of the replies
suggested.  once i feel it's reached enough maturity,
i'll post the patches and we can all comment on what
could be done different/better/etc.

--- Murray Cumming Comneon com wrote:
> Calum wrote:
> > > I'd love to hear about some user studies. If
> Apple did them then I 
> > > hope there is some information about them out
> there. Personally, I 
> > > don't believe that Apple do user studies
> anymore, or they don't do 
> > > them like they used to.
> > 
> > About ten years back when I was working on a
> styleguide for 
> > Reuters, we did a study of trees v. column views
> for 
> > navigating hierarchical geographic information 
> > (continent->country->city, more or less).
> > 
> > Our target audience (stock traders and fund
> managers) found 
> > the browsers easier to use, but we only tested
> hierarchies 
> > that were three or four levels deep (hence no
> horizontal 
> > scrolling), since that's all they ever had to deal
> with.  
> > Unfortunately I've long since lost contact with
> any report we 
> > wrote about it though. It's probably also true
> that tree 
> > controls were fairly novel in those days compared
> to flat 
> > lists, regular computer users will likely have had
> much more 
> > exposure to trees nowadays, although they're not
> inherently 
> > any easier to use than they were in those days.
> In case it's interesting, I remembered the other
> thing that confused me - I
> didn't see the connection between the selected item
> in one column and the
> consequent extra columns to the right of it. I was
> particularly confused
> when everything seemed to change and shift around
> completely when I selected
> a different item in one of the columns in the
> middle. I might have figured
> it out more quickly if I had been familiar with the
> default MacOS X file
> structure.
> For me, the connection is clearer in a tree because
> the child folders are
> under the parent.
> Murray Cumming
> murrayc usa net

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