Re: Spatial Mode Window Cluttering and Possible Solutions

Although tabbed interfaces are popular, they violate the spatial paradigm. This is not such a big problem for browsers, since people often associate folders with real life folders and tabbed interface will make it confusing for them.

I think it's better if we keep the folder-to-window association.

Having said this, your design can be made more usable if the tabs are changed to location bar similar to the one found in the new GTK+ filechooser widget.

Have a look at XFCE's upcoming file manager thunar for some inspirations:

Michael Favia wrote:
Hash: SHA1

Yuan Qi wrote:

Ubuntu Bugzilla Entry:

Nautilus spatial is a very user friendly way to navigate files, however, it
creates window clutter for users who use deep folder trees. I think a
needs to be made on how to improve the spatial mode, especially when we
considering all the controversies created by

Extra spatial window flotsam that occurs on your way to /foo/bar/baz
(namely "foo" and "bar").

1. Shift navigate. Automatically closes parents as you descend. Less
than optimum to make users hold hotkeys to perform the arguably most
desired functionality.
2. Close all parent folders. Automatically closes all folders above your
destination. (retroactively fixes a problem that need not exist)
3. Implement tabbed browsing. (Description below)

A folder is opened and it gets a new spatial window. When users drive
down into sub folders the position and size of the window will remain
the same and the new spatial folders will show themselves as tabs in the
original window (with custom emblems and backgrounds intact). The
position and size of the window is remembered for the topmost folder
(leftmost tab). At any juncture the user can open a folder in a new tab
or undock a tab and create a new window (by rt clicking or dragging).
This gives the user the control over what constitutes a "new
navigational task".

This also means that when users place launchers/symlinks for folders on
their desktops they will correctly position themselves from the last
time they used that folder.

It works just like people use mozilla/firefox windows to separate tasks
(check mail, read news) and use tabs to expand on particular areas of a
task (read news, load a couple of the articles).

 This means that there is less "random window position and size" and
that the spatial metaphor stays intact but uses "navigational entry
points" instead of all folders as the basis from which to derive the
size and position aspects of the spatial metaphor. The structured nature
of a hard drive makes this a great way to increase the efficiency of
file navigation and the popularity of tabbed browsing means that we dont
have to reexplain the wheel to the user base. Any comments?

- --
Michael Favia          michael favia insitesinc com
Insites Incorporated
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