Re: Killing Views Part 2 - The return of the Usabilty study

Alexander Larsson wrote:
On Mon, 2003-06-02 at 13:01, Mark Finlay wrote:

There are many opinions on this. Some people like it, some don't. I
personally like viewers for filetypes that are predominantly consumed,
as opposed to created/edited. This means things like html, images, text,
pdf documents, etc. However, some people like to open an editor to read
READMEs. That should of course be possible for the user to configure,
and it is (although the UI for this sucks ass).

Agreed - it would nice to be able to change between internal and
external viewers with a single preference instead of LOADS of
mine-types. But at the same time we should aim for a reasonable default
that will not cause usability problems.

But a change of default behaviour will instead cause "usability
problems" for the people who like the current setup. The sun test shows

You can get used to lot of things eventually, which doesn't mean that you should preserve the status quo indefinitely. Otherwise we'd still be stuck with Windows 3.1 ...

only that some people can be confused by the current way, not that
nobody will be confused or work more efficiently with another way.
Replies in this thread confirm that there are also people more
comfortable with the current design.

There sure are, but I wouldn't consider these replies as valuable as a proper usability study.

* When you use an internal viewer your file view is replaced. This means
that you have to go back to the file view to get to another file. Very
unforgiving/iritating if you want to keep that file open and keep
browsing files. To me this fits into the "unexpected behavior" catagory.
People are much more at home with different things being shown in
different apps. Would possibly be less iritating if files were opened in
a new window by default.

The other way always pops up new windows for each item, placing them
semingly randomly on screen having you micro-managing their position and
size, etc. That could also be seen as irritating and unexpected.

Is it? IMHO even unexperienced users expect a window to pop up when they click on an icon.

* It is not immediately obvious that files are read only and that to
edit them they need to be opened in an editor. Especailly the case with
text files. I see very little benefit to using the text view instead of
gedit. As for images and pdf, I think a universal previewer is better...

I don't see how you can be for a universal previewer when Nautilus is
designed to be that and you want to remove it. It would have all the
issues you bring up in yor mail. I do also think we can design the text
view so that its more obvious that it is a view.

The problem with Nautilus as an universal previewer is that internal views interfere with Nautilus as a file manager, I fully subscribe to what Mark is stating in the following paragraphs:

" "Every application should do one thing and do it well" - we already
have file viewers for a lot of different file types. Would it not be a
lot better to have the "universal preview" app that functions really
well as a file previewer and and a file manager that functions really
well as a file manager? I think that there are a lot of features that we
could have in a universal viewer app that we will never have in
nautilus. UI that is specific to it's task makes a lot more sense to me.

* To do internal viewers properly you need to change the menus and
toolbar of nautilus for each viewer. UI changing within the same window
is really confusing to the user and makes it really hard learn to use
the app. 2 sepporate apps with 2 unique uis is a lot easier to learn
than a single ui with a ui that changes.

Normally not that much changes when viewing the types of file I'm
talking about, so most of the UI is shared. But sure, we shouldn't be
totally rearranging everything.

Actually we should probably try to make application UIs similar anyway,
to make them easier to learn, so the apps would have unique but similar
UIs already.

The problem is not simply related to UI consistency, but is mainly the fact that when you preview a file in the same window where you were shown its content, icons pointing to files and directories, you break the desktop metaphor, forcing the user to switch from file browsing/management to file (pre)viewing and vice versa.

Add to it the facts that a) you have the UI consistency problems mentioned above; b) you can have one (or more, according to file types) file previewers doing file viewing in a much more confortable way than current implementation allows; c) you can continue file management activities while (pre)viewing files; and you will see why many people would like to have such a previewer opening files in a different window.


Roberto Rosselli Del Turco      e-mail:	rosselli at
Dipartimento di Scienze			rosselli at
del Linguaggio			Then spoke the thunder	DA
Universita' di Torino		Datta: what have we given?  (TSE)

  Hige sceal the heardra,     heorte the cenre,
  mod sceal the mare,       the ure maegen litlath.  (Maldon 312-3)

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