Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jul 2012 22:18 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The article I'm about to link to, by Oliver Reichenstein, is pretty terrible, but it's a good way for me to bring up something I've been meaning to talk about. First, the article: "Apple has been working on its file system and with iOS it had almost killed the concept of folders - before reintroducing them with a peculiar restriction: only one level! With Mountain Lion it brings its one folder level logic to OSX. What could be the reason for such a restrictive measure?" So, where does this crusade against directory structures (not file systems, as the article aggravatingly keeps stating) come from?
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No, it's not that obvious
by Tractor on Thu 26th Jul 2012 10:34 UTC
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Back in the 90's, when computer was just starting to make a real dent into all companies, i was working with a lot of older people for which fiddling with a computer was new.

And one of the most obvious concept that a lot of them couldn't grasp was ... directory structure.

It struck me because i considered it to be so simple. But the result was in front of my eyes : most of them would simply let their files be stored "anywhere" on the computer. That is, where the dialog/window would put it. They would only care about the file name.

The "default folder", quite often, was at the root of C:. Heck, this would even be the case of some IT people and computer teachers !

Later on, when searching for such file,
if, by any chance, it was not in the presented "default" folder, they could not find it, let alone search for it.

And then history repeated when my mother acquired a computer. Same problem : what are these "directories" ? It took her more than a full year to really understand and use them properly.

So, now, my understanding is :
NO, Directory structure is NOT obvious.
At least, certainly not to non-geekies, non-engineer, well, you know, "normal" people, >90% of planet.

Of course, normal people can still learn, and cope with it. There's a hell of complexity they can more or less manage in many areas, including computing.
But they really don't care. They would very much prefer a system which would "store these things somewhere" and "find them when they need it". The easier, the less "managing" they have to do, the better.

Sadly, us, computer guys, we are often the last people to ask for User Interaction Interface : we tend to reproduce what we already know perfectly, which itself was built around technical limitations of our early days.

Just take someone from "outside" to have a fresh look, and it becomes obvious : so many "features" we take for granted are in fact technical limitations pushed into user territory. We manage them. We're accustomed to. So it seems "the way it must be".

But the reasons have vanished...

Edited 2012-07-26 10:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2