Re: [Usability] Faded File Extensions

[Cannot read both lists at once but I'll leave the CC intact.
Please try not to use Carbon Copies as it makes it extremely difficult to
follow dicussions.  I'm not on the nautilus list so CC me or the
usability list if you want me to see your reply]

On Sat, 24 Dec 2005, Nigel Tao wrote:

> Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 12:46:34 +1100
> From: Nigel Tao <nigel tao myrealbox com>
> To: usability gnome org, nautilus-list gnome org
> Subject: [Usability] Faded File Extensions
> When showing files, one theory is that you show the ".txt" and ".png"
> extensions, since they are the true filename, and another theory says
> that you should hide them, since they are 'scary technical details' that
> Joe User shouldn't have to deal with.

Take a step back, what is the real problem we are trying to solve?
Why does Microsoft hide the extensions?

I believe it is not because it is a "scary technical detail" (at least not
primarily) but rather that the extension is awkward when trying to rename
files.  Nautilus has already made efforts to address the awkward renaming
issue but perhaps more could be done.

Besides when it comes to scary techinical details we always have the
choice to (hide it ^W^W) use a better more user friendly abstraction
especially if it is a nitty gritty implementation detail users do not
really need to know about.  Alternatively we must sometimes recognise
there are details users need to know in the long run and 'grasp the
nettle' and try to explain it to them as best as possible (for example I
think hiding the Location behind the trail of breadcrumbs button feature
is counter-productive because, users will need to learn these locations to
make better use of the Web).

> I just had an idea - what if combined both ideas rather than either one
> or the other?  Nautilus already makes the distinction when renaming a
> file (it selects only the "foo" of "foo.txt"), so should we also make
> the same distinction when showing a file's name?
> I've made a mock-up - does anyone think that this is worth pursuing?

It certainly looks interesting but it seems like a solution in search
of a problem (and determining the faded colour probably has all kinds of
messy implications for accessibility).  If there was a patch or extension
available I'd be interested to try it but I'm sorry to say I am skeptical
it would actually help solve the underlying problems.


Alan Horkan

Open Clip Art

Alan's Diary

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