Re: Killing Views Part 2 - The return of the Usabilty study

On Sat, 2003-05-31 at 00:08, Mark Finlay wrote:
> We recently had a discussion about killing nautilus internal file
> views. And it was one of those issues that I wished I had some
> usability statistics to back it up.
> Today I've been reading the usability review that sun did of
> Gnome 1.2 and came accross this page:
> Users were confused by the read only view of a text file and 
> said things like:
> "I was expecting a word processing app to open [the file]...weird."
> "I was confused when the text file opened in a browser type thing."
> The sun reccomendation was to make it more clear that the file is
> read only, but I would say that it makes more sense to remove the
> internal viewing of files in nautilus all together, now that nautilus is
> no longer used as a web browser.
> There is no real benefit to viewing a text file or image in nautilus
> AFAICT, but there are definately drawbacks, and as that usability
> study shows, it causes user frustration and confusion.
> I don't want to start another holy war. But I would love to get a
> response from the nautilus maints for or against this. The rest of us
> can argue to we go blue in the face, but if the maints aren't listening
> then there is no point.

The original vision of Nautilus was as the universal viewer that would
let you browse not only directories but all sorts of files. This idea is
a large part of Nautilus both design-wise and ui-wise. 

There are many opinions on this. Some people like it, some don't. I
personally like viewers for filetypes that are predominantly consumed,
as opposed to created/edited. This means things like html, images, text,
pdf documents, etc. However, some people like to open an editor to read
READMEs. That should of course be possible for the user to configure,
and it is (although the UI for this sucks ass).

The comments you mention from the report can have any number of causes
other than views being inherently hard to understand:
* Gnome didn't behave exactly like what they used before (windows)
* We haven't spent enough time polishing the views to make them easy to
use and understand
* We're not internally consistant within gnome, so the user had other
expectations on what was gonna happen.
* The UI for our mime preferences and mime handling is a nightmare
My personal goal for gnome is to continue to work towards a polishes
system based on the navigation methaphor + universal viewer (for some
types files) idea. I think we still haven't seen the fruits of this idea
in its finished polished state, and I think its stupid to drop it when
we've gotten halfway there. Especially when there is no proof that any
other way is better.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl redhat com    alla lysator liu se 
He's an oversexed hunchbacked dwarf on a search for his missing sister. She's 
a warm-hearted communist detective from beyond the grave. They fight crime! 

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