Re: [Usability] spatial nautilus options (was spatial nautilus concerns)

 The main thing that you
one must remember when dealing with a spatial model, is that there
cannot be an ``up'' button, because there is no ``up'' to go to in a
spatial model.

But doesn't that seem a bit contrived? I mean, there's clearly an "up" in the filesystem. I think one thing that concerns me about a pure spatial model is that it attempts to hide the filesystem structure in some ways. This forces more of a barrier between novice and expert users. If a model exists that can make the filesystem structure plain and comfortable for users, that seems like it'd be better because it gives users a mental model of their filesystems that's accurate. This is one of my concerns with Windows: The Start Menu and desktop icons are fairly easy to navigate but once you hit the filesystem itself it's not only fairly difficult to get around, but completely unrelated to the Start Menu and desktop icons.

So for those of you that argue that the default behaviour, in a
spatial environment, should be to keep everything in one window, are
not craving a spatial model at all, but a navigational one, which has
already been pointed out by several other people in this thread.

But this is what I was getting at before: I don't think it's accurate to delineate a "spatial model" or a "navigational model" as two separate options. It's a continuum with a number of features that can be implemented either way. Open-in-same-window is an aspect of the navigational model but applying it in an otherwise spatial context doesn't have to invalidate the other benefits of that spatial context.

I haven't stated it outright but it's probably pretty clear that that's what I favor. I think the principle underlying spatial model is a good one. I also think there are some drawbacks (like tons of windows onscreen), and some may outweigh certain aspects of the spatial model. So, it seems like a carefully-considered hybrid is probably the way to go. I think Apple's got it mostly right. Try logging into a Mac OS X box without tweaking any preferences and you'll see it _almost_ follows the spatial model but that it's pretty easy to avoid the screen clutter without knowing modifier keys.

I disagree with the person you replied to here.  I don't believe that
the spatial desktop metaphor is about not thinking about how to get to
your file; it's about knowing where your file is contained, but not
always thinking about where the container is contained.  The file is
in the container, and that's that.  <snip>

As I said earlier, I think we should be cautious with our metaphors on both sides, because (a) in the end, the computer desktop is _not_ the same as the physical desktop and at times it may make sense for ease of use and/or efficiency to do something that doesn't reflect the physical world; and (b) we can all come up with metaphors that support our arguments. We don't know for sure that any one analogy is correct, though they can seem convincing. The simple fact that we have so many analogies to support both sides should make that clear.


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