[Usability] a Nautilus suggestion re path button

[I tried sending this out e-mail earlier, but had
neglected to sign up for the usability list, and it
got held for moderation.]


I have noticed that some people feel that the
"path" button on the lower left corner of a spatial
Nautilus is very useful, but not quite "right."  

perceived lack of "rightness" may simply be a visual
thing in making the  button look pleasing but
unobtrusive.  I was wondering, however, whether the
button's function has simply not been extended enough.

* What is the path button's function?

     A weakness in the current spatial Nautilus
appears to be the difficulty in knowing where to go to
find files in your filesystem. The places you reach
are where you left them and in the size and appearance
you left them, but you may forget exactly *where* you
left them while you are in Nautilus.  

For example, you may be in
/home/aigiskos/photos/trip_to_bali/day2/, which will
appear as "day2" in the window title.  You may want to
compare these day2 photos with you photos from your
trip to Spain.  But where did you put the pictures
from the trip to Spain? Did you put those pictures in
/home/aigiskos/photos/ or in
/home/aigiskos/vacations/ ?

     The "path" button seeks to help navigate your way
back up the folder/directory path, so that you can
find other folders more easily.

* Current limitation of the path button

     The path button only shows you, of course, the
current path you are on.  If you think a certain file
is on another path, but you've forgotten which one,
the path button will only serve to send you back up
the current folder path until you reach the place
where you think the new path branches off.  You may
have to do a lot of clicking of the mouse until you
find the place you're looking for.

* Possible ways to solve this problem

     1) Put a very visible search function in each
spatial window, so that you can search for the file or
directory without having to know where it is exactly. 
Technologies like Medusa or Beagle might be helpful
here (notwithstanding the political issues involved
with Beagle).

     2) Enhance the path button by making it a "map"
button.  The icon for the button could be a compass
rose or some other such symbol to show the user "this
will help you get unlost."  When the user clicks on
the button, a treeview (or some other more global type
of view) of the system pops up centered on the
currently viewed window, with the name of the current
window somehow emphasized in the "map."  (Perhaps
bold-faced?) The user can look around the map until
he/she finds the  place she is looking for and when
he/she clicks on it, a new spatial window opens up to
represent the clicked place.

If this is the incorrect list or if this has already
been discussed, I apologize, and I
thank for you for reading thus far.  Let me also
apologize that I am but a humble amateur Perl
and Ruby coder and cannot offer any help or patches in
C.  This is just my observation and idea as a GNOME
user who seeks to make spatial Nautilus a little
better, if possible.

Any feedback is welcome.

Very truly yours,


dissertus scribendo latine videri volo.

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