random background patterns in spatial view

I've been using the spatial view for a while now (since it was first
introduced, basically) and noticed some issues with it that make it less
than optimal.  Really, the point of the spatial view is that the user
learns to recognize a window by its position and size, making it
unnecessary to have to read the windows contents every time they use it.

However, I've noticed that a window's size and position is rarely
static, especially when actually *managing* files versus just *finding*
them.  Quite often I have two windows open that I wish to drag-n-drop
files between, but they overlap.  Naturally I move one window to one
side of the screen and the other window to the opposite side of the
screen.  This changes the position, and sometimes the size, of a window.
Open another window and now it must be repositioned based on the
previous window rearrangements.  This effect "cascades" to a point,
making window positions and sizes fairly dynamic, making it pretty
difficult to really take advantage of the spatial mode.

One thing I've thought that might assist is to provide additional
visual information to go along with a window, making it easier to
recognize at a glance even when its in an unfamiliar position or shape.
Specifically, I'm thinking of window backgrounds.

Currently a user can explicitly set a window background.  However, this
requires a lot of work during initial setup, is something very few users
are likely to do, and the default backgrounds available aren't
necessarily that great for this purpose.

I'm thinking more of something like providing a variety of very neutral,
greyscale, unobtrusive pattern images.  When a window is opened, if it
has no explicit background set, one of these pattern is selected (either
randomly, by a hash of the folder's full path, whatever, so long as it's
stored permanently so its doesn't change at random in the future).  The
background can be recolored according to the theme background color, and
the patterns themselves shouldn't be anything that make seeing the file
icons or names difficult or draw attention to itself.  The pattern would
provide a big visual indicator, a lot like the purpose of an icon.  User
sees the "triangles pointing right" before they ever really see the
files themselves, hopefully not even *noticing* that they're seeing it
(just like they don't notice that they are looking at the folder window
in the upper left about half the width and height of the screen), and
can react to that window even if its in a position they're unfamiliar

Additionally, this technique could even be useful in browser mode, since
it doesn't rely on the normal spatial semantics, but simply enhances
them.  It can also be combined with the "watermarking" of network shares
and such that has been proposed, as the watermark image would sit over
the pattern.

How does the idea sound to everyone else?
Sean Middleditch <elanthis awesomeplay com>

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]