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Spatial interface

This is an interface that leaves open views open. If applied to a web browser, it would mean that every link you clicked on would get a new window. Most folks wouldn't like that, but the designers of some file system interfaces, notable Gnome, insist that is how file system navigation should work. This has created some controversy, because at least so far, Gnome provides no way to adjust this behavior to replace the current window with what you are drilling into.

In the article that the link above refers to, it is argued (Radoslaw Sokol, Opinion: Why Users Blame the Spatial Nautilius):

So, people in fact love when the machine works in a way
resembling behaviour of real-life objects, but it seems
that only when the "spatial" application is a web browser:
they accept the book metaphor with web pages, but reject
the drawer metaphor with folders and files. Sometimes
they even abuse the physical metaphor of tabbed browsing
by opening multiple pages - not subpages of the same web
site! - in multiple tabs of a browser window. I even know
few people who never open more than one browser window,
viewing all pages in tabs; I hope they do not try to glue
a daily set of newspapers together before reading them...

But interface metaphors are just metaphors. Sometimes they work well, sometimes they don't. Obviously sometimes people like to open multiple browser windows - that's whay good browser interfaces let them! A good file system interface would let you choose how you want to see your files.

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© Tony Lawrence

Personally I use Gnome 2.6. I never liked the "file browser" metaphore, it always seemed akward and slow. The MS exploding tree thing seemed doubly useless.

I fired up 2.6 and it took 5-10 minutes seconds to orginize my folders and I never looked back. Now I know were to go to find stuff, and before I hated wasting my RAM on a bloated filing system. Never enjoyed using Gnome and used stuff like Fluxbox before that.

I'd always end up scanning each and every folder/icon caption in a screen, scrolling up and down, and back and forth. Waste of effort and time (and my eyes).

Here's the article that partially inspired the whole Gnome spatial movement thing. http://arstechnica.com/paedia/f/finder/finder-1.html


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