Re: New dialog for handling file conflicts in Nautilus - UI review request

On 23 Apr 2008, at 22:03, Cosimo Cecchi wrote:

Hi everyone,

I wrote a dialog to improve the way Nautilus behaves when there's a
conflict between two files in a file operation.
Here you can find some screenshots:

Like most attempts at improving this dialog in the past, the main problem is that it's initially pretty overwhelming to look at IMHO. I'd like to see even more in the way of progressive disclosure, so by default it might look more like this quick mockup: < >

Note that in this version, the message states whether the file being replaced is older or newer (or neither). This is probably all the information that most users will need to make the decision most of the time.

I've moved the Compare section into an expander too. Otherwise I'd expect it to look much the same as yours, except I'd be inclined not to show the 'File type' information (if the filenames are the same, there will be very few cases where the file types are not). Also, using a simpler date format than you did, if possible, would probably make them easier to compare.

One big question is what to do if the files are not pictures, which are easy to visually compare. If they're sound files, should we allow them to preview the sounds? If they're text files, should there be a way to see the diffs? Even if they are pictures, the differences may well be too small to see at thumbnail size anyway. So I wonder how useful any visual preview will actually be in practice.

Most of my thoughts were around the Rename section, see < >. In this mockup:

- You get the choice to rename either the original file or the copy. Maybe this is overkill, but it doesn't affect the rest of my comments either way...

- When expanded, the text field is initially filled with the name of the conflicting file. The part before the prefix is pre-selected, ready for overtyping (not shown in my mockup).

- When user changes the text in the field, the Replace button becomes "Rename", and it becomes the default button for the dialog. (That is, will be activated when the user presses Enter.) The 'replace other files' checkbox becomes disabled.

- If user changes their mind, they can press Reset, which restores the original filename to the text field. "Rename" button becomes "Replace" again, "Skip" becomes the default button again, and 'replace other files' checkbox is re-enabled.

I certainly don't claim this is perfect either :) It'll be a hard dialog to get exactly right without some user testing. But it does have the advantage of only requiring three buttons at the bottom of the dialog, which is a bit less overwhelming.


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson sun com            GNOME Desktop Team             +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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