Neil's Place

November 1, 2002

11:03 PM

Just fixing the update time in the RSS feed to be in the correct format.

Comments ( 1 )


10:36 PM On Saving Files

mpt suggests that documents should be saved automatically to the desktop, picking some filename for the user, instead of using a save dialog. Here are my thoughts.

I do think that saving files automatically is a good idea. In fact, some applications can do this already.

However, just sticking things on the desktop seems like a rather unorganized way to store them. He expects users to then move files manually to the folder that they wish them to be in. This is a multiple step process that requires one to switch to the file manager, open a pile of folder windows, move the folder windows because the saved file is on the desktop behind them, move the file to the appropriate place in the folder, move the folder windows back to where they were, close the folders again and then switch back to the application.

Most users won't bother and will end up with 2000 icons on their desktop. I remember him mentioning at some earlier time that this is fine, since people tend to just stick paper and other stuff on their real desk. True, but since computers are meant to do things that we're too lazy to do ourselves, they should try to do some of that for us.

The user will also have to do the same steps above if they want to keep an old version of a file, (which might be impossible if files are saved automatically).

He also suggests that filenames should be selected automatically. That would work in some cases, although anything that relies on guessing is going to be wrong some of the time. It might associate a filename with a document that the user wouldn't associate with a document, making it harder to locate once saved. It also wouldn't work with an audio file one had just recorded, since there isn't an obvious title for it.

And then, the interface would need to have a sophisticated search tool, because users wouldn't know the titles of documents, or where they were located. Of course, systems already do have such a thing, but it would need to be used much more frequently.

While removing file dialogs does allow users to not have to worry about saving things, I think more thought needs to be put into helping the user organize their stuff first.

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5:37 PM Here is a Halloween movie

Quicktime required.

Comments ( 5 )