Re: more thoughts on compact view

On Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:39 AM, Jürg Billeter <j bitron ch> wrote:
Hi Adam,

On Wed, 2012-07-18 at 15:05 -0004, Adam Dingle wrote:
> 2. As an experiment, I've turned off compact view on all my machines
> for the last couple of weeks; I've been using the list view by default
> instead. I've done this since I want to see whether I can get used to
> list view as a replacement for compact view. Unfortunately so far I
> still miss the compact view every day. Most directories I visit have
> more than one screenful of files (in the list view) and I'm finding
> the extra scrolling to be a significant burden. I'll continue the

It may be useful to describe the reason(s) for visiting these somewhat
large directories. Are you looking for a particular file where you know
the full name already? I'd use type-ahead in that case. Or are you
looking for a file whose name you don't know or recall and due to this
you have to visually scan the whole directory?

There may be many other use cases, of course. In my experience it helps
to talk about one or multiple very specific case(s). Maybe also describe
the file types in that directory, e.g., source code, documents, or


I'm happy to give an example.  I just downloaded the tarball for the Vala 0.17.3 release that just came out, and I wanted to extract it and look at it.  I did this, using Nautilus's list view:

1. Open a Nautilus window on my home directory, which has 41 folders and files.
2. Scroll down.
3. Double click the "src" directory (where I saved the tarball from my browser), which has 60 folders and files (I store all source downloads here).
4. Scroll down.
5. Right click the tarball (vala-0.17.3.tar.xz) and choose Extract Here.
6. Scroll up.
7. Double click the vala-0.17.3 directory to enter it.  This directory has 30 subdirectories and files.
8. Scroll down.
9. Double click the NEWS file to read what's new.

In list view, about 23 items fit comfortably vertically in a wi ndow on my laptop, which is why I needed to scroll in all of the above cases.  The scrolling slows me down: it effectively doubles the number of steps needed to perform the tasks above.  In compact view I can see about 3 times as many items, and so in that view I wouldn't have needed to scroll at all here.  I suppose I could have typed the beginning of the filename I wanted in each case, but that requires more thought and effort - I'd rather just point at something I can see and click it.  In this example, typing the name of the source tarball would be especially awkward - I'd need to type 11 characters ("vala-0.17.3") to jump to the tarball (whose full name is "vala-0.17.3.tar.xz"), since I had subdirectories in the same directory whose names begin with the same initial 10 characters (e.g. "vala-0.17.2").

This example may seem mundane, but that's sort of the point - I do file browsing like this all the time.  On the aestheti c front, I also find it distracting to see all the extra information displayed in list view - most of the time I just don't care how large files are or when they were last modified.  I just want to navigate to where I want to go.


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