[RFC] "Documents Folder" icon in "system:/"

Kévin Ottens ervin at ipsquad.net
Tue Aug 2 13:42:36 BST 2005

Le Mardi 2 Août 2005 13:26, James Richard Tyrer a écrit :
> We do need to separate these two classes of files.  Nothing is gained by
> mixing the user's files and the computer's files.  This has been an
> issue since DOS 2.x

Let me disagree here. Having separation because one class is hidden and not 
the other is enough for me.

> Well, most systems are not "properly setup" then.

Sorry, but most systems are properly setup. I rarely see non-hidden 
configuration files in home folders...

> Actually, in addition 
> to those configuration files that are supposed to be hidden (some are
> NOT), there is also a "bin" directory.  I also have an Install directory
> with some misc. stuff in it, but on a real multi-user system (where you
> don't have root privilege), if you install software for a single user,
> you are going to have a lot of stuff that isn't hidden.  You are going
> to have source files in "src" and when you install with a prefix of
> $HOME, you are going to have a lot of stuff that isn't hidden.

It really depends how you work. If you're able to install software yourself by 
hand (and from source even), you should be able to have it hidden with little 

> Other people told me that this confused users.  The example was that the
> user that saved their video files in HOME rather than Documents because
> they didn't think that they were documents.

And how is it a problem? If it doesn't convey a particular information to the 
user it seems rather sane to put it somewhere else.

> Not good from a usability 
> standpoint.  If Documents isn't HOME, when they open their video viewer,
> the default directory isn't the correct place.

I'm a strong believer that people starts there video by browsing their files 
first (fire up konqui, locate the file, click on it, it reads it). But I 
could be wrong on this.

Btw, I'm not sure to understand your point correctly. Do you mean that if 
Documents!=Home, then the default place is Documents?

> I simply took what it said: "Your personal files" and used the
> "personal" icon.  Try to see this from the engineering perspective.

The method makes sense. But I still dislike the result. ;-)
As Thiago pointed out it could be mixed with home too easily and I agree with 

> Don't say that the icon is good or bad, but if you think that you have a
> better idea, by all means come up with one.

Well, I'm not an artist I doubt that I can make something correct.

> I thought that it was 
> better than "folder_important", but perhaps that was only temporary.

I never considered "folder_important" like the best solution, and I'm open to 
a better one of course.

> Yes, but perhaps a better term would be better for the "Joe User" types.

I'm not against another term. But in this case, the discussion must be broader 
IMHO, because it'll surely modify the current semantic of the "document 

> It would probably avoid the person putting the video files somewhere
> else.  If we call it "<something> Data" they will say that it is too
> technical.  "Personal Files" is OK with me -- I chose "User Files only
> because it was shorter.

I slightly prefer "Personal Files", but once again it means modifying the 
"document path" semantic and must be discussed first (and I don't consider 
myself as able to take the decision for the whole group).

> I'm not sure that we are misusing the term since in the broad sense,
> anything that conveys information is a document
> http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=Document&x=0&y=0

And it's not really easy, considering something contains information needs an 
interpretative process (so each user has the right to consider that something 
is not conveying information to him).

> Remember, I am good at splitting hairs on the definition of arrogant.
> :-) It wasn't my intention to make a presumptuous claim, but your point
> is taken what I said can easily be taken the wrong way.

Well, mentioning usability by itself was not arrogant (it looks like a valid 
point), but the way the sentence was worded was arrogant IMHO. ;-)

> Really, I was just being blunt (probably too blunt).  But, I wasn't
> being disingenuous.  Some developers say that they aren't good at
> usability so we have usability experts at Open Usability to ask for
> advice.  I am suggesting that this might be a good idea.

Indeed that could be a good idea... The point being do we need to fix the 
"document path" semantic prior to involve usability people? I'm not sure it's 
productive to ask them advices if we're not sure of the meaning we want to 
give to the "document path".

> I'm sort of 
> out of ideas.  I like my ideas -- they look nice on my system, but I
> can't say what Joe User would like.

That's the nice advantage about having around 10 Joe Users at hand. ;-)

Kévin 'ervin' Ottens, http://ervin.ipsquad.net
"Ni le maître sans disciple, Ni le disciple sans maître,
Ne font reculer l'ignorance."
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