Deconstructing Nautilus and rebuilding it better

If you’re an avid user of the GNOME Desktop Environment and follow the development of it, you may well be aware of one of the hot topics currently doing the rounds on the internet, and that is: The User Interface Of The Nautilus File Manager And Why Is It So Awful?

There may well be some of you out there who are currently thinking, “It’s not that bad…” to which my response is: in terms of user interface, there are much better file managers available for GNOME than GNOME’s default file manager (two, off the top of my head: Thunar, default for the Xfce Desktop Environment and PCMan File Manager, or PCManFM). Plus, if you’ve ever used a Mac with OS X, then what you’ll be looking at there is the King Of The File Managers.

But we can make it better…


The Deconstruction of Nautilus

I’ve labelled each individual element that is problematic or, at least, up for questionning:

  1. So we have these little arrows either side of the forward/back navigation arrows. What are they? Well, clicking on either brings up a history of your progression through the file system. What’s the problem? I’ve never once used them. Never. You’ve already got an at-a-glance visual indication of your progress through the file system and it’s the pathbar/location bar, right there, at number 8. So it’s duplicated functionality and takes up valuable space. They can be removed easily. However, if it’s in some way necessary to keep that History Navigation function it would be more elegant, in my opinion, to merely right-click either the forward or back button to bring up a history pop-up.
  2. Another Navigation Arrow, this is the Parent Folder button. If you’ve jumped from your Documents folder to another folder called Wallpapers then the Back Arrow and Parent Folder have different purposes, but are usually confused for having similar behaviours. Clicking the Back Arrow would take you back to Documents; clicking the Parent Folder Arrow would make you climb up the folder structure by one level i.e. in my case, clicking the Parent Folder Arrow from Wallpapers takes me to Pictures because: /home/hex/Pictures/Wallpapers. See? However, even this button is up for debate. It’s duplicate functionality again. How? You can climb up the parent folder structure, once again, using the pathbar/location bar buttons (8), making the Parent Folder button redundant.
  3. The stop button. More useful in web browsers, if you want to stop the web browser from loading a page, completely useless in a file manager, where file accessing times are considerably quicker than web browsing times. You simply never have an opportunity to stop the file manager from loading a page. It’s an old relic. I’ve never used the stop button.
  4. This is the reload/refresh button, which again has similar properties for web browsers; you “refresh” the window you’re on to see any changes that have occured in the current directory. I think there still is a need for a refresh function, but I feel it can be executed more elegantly. See the pathbar/location bar (8) again? You’ll note how the button currently selected is “Season 2”, indicating where we currently are in the file system. Now imagine a little refresh symbol right next to the “Season 2” text on the button. Just clicking that button would refresh the page. This means we can remove the standalone refresh button. More toolbar space has been saved.
  5. Home Folder button. Duplicate functionality again. See the sidebar? See the folder called “sam”? That’s your home folder. Just click that. Seriously, it’ll be fine. There’s no need to have another button for it.
  6. The Computer Folder button. It has a necessary function: it gives you an overview of your system devices as well as the file system. But this button can be better represented in the sidebar. I’ll expand on this one later.
  7. Search button. Very necessary and a crucial part of the file manager. We need to keep this function but redesign it. I like the way that KDE4.x’s file manager, Dolphin, has rendered this. A text entry bar. It invites you to enter search terms.
  8. The pathbar/location bar. Crucial to a file manager, it gives an at-a-glance visual indication of where you are and where you’ve been. I feel, though, that the function of the pathbar/location bar can be enhanced without overcomplicating it, and for the design and new functionality of the pathbar/location bar I feel that Dan’s Elementary Nautilus Mockup is heading in the right direction. Check it out. The image really does speak a thousand words. And so does he.
  9. Icon Zoom: does what it says on the tin. This control adjusts the size of your icons displayed. Useful and necessary, so that it follows Human Interface Guidelines, but can definitely be redesigned more intuitively. Again, check out Dan’s Nautilus mockup to see how he’s implemented this.
  10. This button changes the view mode of your file manager, the options being “Icon View”, “Detailed List” and “Compact View”. We need to keep this, but again it can be redesigned in a way to provide an at-a-glance, more economical interaction. Apple got it right with OSX’s Finder; you’ll note the four icons next to the back/forward navigation icons? They allow the user to quickly switch between different view modes. Very simple, economical and intuitive. You’ll find that Dan implemented a similar spec in his mockup.

Let’s Rebuild a Better Nautilus

A Nautilus Mockup that aims to address the problems of its interface

So here we are – my reconstruction of the Nautilus File Manager, after addressing each of the problems above.

Firstly, please note that this is only a mockup. I’m no coder or programmer. I wish I had the coding skills, but all those letters and numbers whiz over my head. But perhaps what I can do is demonstrate a better interface through my skills as a GUI Designer. Let’s address the improvements here:

  • Single toolbar: the original Nautilus interface had two toolbars plus a menubar. It just takes up too much space that could be put to better use. This Nautilus has only one toolbar.
  • Hidden Menubar: I’m not going to take sides here on whether we should still be having a menubar in applications or not; it’s another minefield of opinions and flaming. I’m personally fine with a menubar inside the application, but I also happily use applications that tuck away the menubar under a single icon (think Google Chrome). But I do think that we should have the option here. In my mockup, all the menubar settings can be brought up with the settings icon (first icon after the pathbar). But if you would like to see the menubar permanently then this, too, should be an option.
  • Simpler Navigation: back/forward arrow buttons plus a location bar. That’s all you need. If you want a text editable pathbar displayed instead of a clickable location bar, then this should be an option in the settings. You can also see my implementation of the refresh function; a small refresh icon that sits itself inside the button that shows where you are. You just click the button and the directory refreshes.
  • Improved View Modes: after the settings icon, we have three view mode icons. A simple click allows you to instantly change from Icon View, Detailed List to Compact View. Just one click. That’s it.
  • Highly Visible Searchbar: there’s no denying what that bar on the right of the toolbar is, that’s where you enter text to search for. It even says “Search…”. Isn’t that handy?
  • Enhanced Sidebar: previously in Nautilus the sidebar was only used to display your “Places”, like your Home Folder, the Computer etc., and your bookmarks, or directories that you commonly view. We can do more with the sidebar without overloading it and keeping it very simple. The “Places” section displays our home folder plus bookmarks, and the “Devices” section clearly shows any devices on our system including the root filesystem (thus doing away with the Computer icon mentioned earlier). This section would also automatically update itself whenever new media is detected and mounted, such as inserting a CD or external HDD. There are two other sections in my Nautilus and they are “Recently Accessed” and “Commonly Accessed”. I will go into those later. Those are the really exciting features.
  • Icon Zoom: along with the usual status information in the status bar at the bottom we also have a highly visual and intuitive zoom slider on the bottom right. Simply sliding the slider from left to right increases or decreases the size of the icons. Much simpler but a more powerful way of interacting with icon sizes.

The keen of eye will note that this mockup of mine is not all that different from Dan’s Elementary Nautilus mockup and you’re right. In terms of user interface I think he’s got it bang on. Really, all that’s different in my version is a different theme, a separate search bar and a more enhanced sidebar. But now I’m going to present what I think are the really exciting features in this Nautilus mockup of mine…


Zeitgeist and GNOME Activity Journal Integration

Ok, what the hell did I just say there? Well, if you follow the active development of GNOME as much as I do, you may have heard of two recent technologies actively being developed. They are Zeitgeist and the GNOME Activity Journal. What are they? Well, Zeitgeist is a little, unobtrusive daemon that ticks quietly away in the background and records every file you access, every image you edit, essentially every event you perform on your computer and keeps a chronological Journal of this information for other applications to use. This is the core engine that runs quietly in the background. The frontend to this is the GNOME Activity Journal – an application that allows you to browse and search through Zeitgeist’s recordings of your activities and interact with that information. One of the developers of the GNOME Activity Journal posted a very handy video showing it in action. I use it myself and it is very handy. I also use Docky2 on my desktop that has Zeitgeist interaction. One of the options when you right-click on a launcher in Docky2 is the Journal entry, that allows you to browse through recent events and files accessed in that particular application. A stroke of genius. Again here’s a handy little video demonstrating Docky2 with Zeitgeist integration.

So… where am I going with this?

I personally think that having a separate application, the GNOME Activity Journal, to browse through your events and files chronologically is superfluous. What I’m advocating is that Zeitgeist and GNOME Activity Journal get integrated inside the Nautilus File Manager. Use just one application to browse in different ways!

An image speaks a thousand words, so…

Here we have it: my mockup of Zeitgeist and the GNOME Activity Journal integrated inside Nautilus. You should be able to do everything you can in the current GNOME Activity Journal inside Nautilus, same interface and everything. You can access this particular browsing function simply by clicking the “Recently Accessed” section in the sidebar. This particular section can also filter the journal results as well. So if you just want to see a window showing what you’ve accessed Today, then simply click that in the sidebar. This would then bring up your recorded events that occurred today, but in more detail. This is a function already possible in the GNOME Activity Journal.


Going One Step Beyond…

This is not all that I’m suggesting though. Oh no. This next feature, I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure is possible; I’d basically need to have a chat with the Zeitgeist and GAJ devs to see if this particular method of journalling and searching is possible, but I’m going to suggest it anyway…

As well as being able to browse and search through events and files chronologically, the purpose of Zeitgeist and GAJ, I also feel that you should be able to perform a search of events that occur often. Consider: all good application/start menus usually have a “Favourites” section, essentially a list of applications you commonly use on your system (Windows Start Menu has it, KDE’s Kickoff and Lancelot also have it among others). But I feel we should be able to view a list of files, documents, images, websites etc. that get accessed frequently and present that information to the user in a simple way.

Case Study: let’s see that you’re a student studying for a PhD in a particular subject. Over the time of your study you’ll be creating a thesis that will be accessed, edited and updated over of the course of several years. Sometimes, it may be that you won’t touch your thesis for weeks at a time, but nevertheless it is the document that you access the most. It should be possible for the student to access a fast search showing the files that have been accessed and the events that have occurred frequently. In a Zeitgeist chronological search, your thesis may need some searching as you’ve not accessed it in a few weeks, due to research or whatever. In a Commonly Accessed search, the thesis would be the number one result.

Have I made a mockup? Of course I have!

In this mockup example of mine, clicking the “Commonly Accessed” section performs a search showing all the files, image, documents, websites or whatever that have been accessed the most. It would run from left to right, top to bottom and display immediately that which has been accessed the most. This is a mockup of what I would estimate a Commonly Accessed search on my system would bring up. Previews of images and music should be available for at-a-glance functionality. Again, like the “Recently Accessed” section, the “Commonly Accessed” section would have a couple of filters built into the sidebar, so that we can filter for images commonly accessed, documents commonly accessed or whatever. These filters should be set by the user.


That’s All For Now, Folks…

So there we have it. My critique of the current user interface state of the Nautilus File Manager, my solution and a way we can make Nautilus a much more powerful file manager using new and existing journalling technologies.

I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and criticisms. I truly hope this has given you food for thought. Pass this around the net, let’s get it seen by people and hopefully someone in the right place, with the relevant skills may one day make these mockups a reality.

Ian Cylkowski aka Izo

Logo & Brand Identity Design, GUI/UX Design

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76 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
    Yes Zeitgeist provides “COMMONLY USED” as in “Most popular filetypes/mimetypes/events/uris/name_it within any timeframe. Look at Docky they use it here…
    Please contact us at irc or subscribe to our list
    Thank you for seeing the potential of Zeitgeist

    • Izo,

      Seif, I am VERY happy that you, of all people, have commented on this post. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! I am also extremely happy that a “Commonly Used” search is possible. This means, then, that this Nautilus mockup, in terms of Zeitgeist integration, is entirely possible! Hell yeah! Thank you for Zeitgeist and for Docky. I don’t know how to chat on IRC, so how would you like me to keep in touch?


  2. Stephen,

    Can I go all fanboy on you and say ZOMG I love this and I see no menus… Please explain? what will you do with that?

    • Izo,

      Firstly, thanks! Haha! I don’t mind a bit of fanboyism. Secondly, what do you mean “see no menus”? Do you mean the lack of a menubar? If so, that has been thoroughly explained in the post. :)

  3. about The Deconstruction of Nautilus section.

    your points are valid only if you use that layout, but what about if you change to location as is the address bar in browser? I usually prefer that type over this layout.

    • Izo,

      @Ionut Biru: You mean if you change the clickable pathbar to the text editable location bar? To a large extent, the problems are still there. There’s still too many duplicated functions that can be better redesigned. The text editable location bar may very well still need the Parent Folder button, for example. But that’s all it would need. Thanks for your comment! This is very interesting.

  4. Tom,

    This is really cool work.(and it makes it painfully obvious that Nautilus needs a makeover. At the moment it is “The Homer” of file managers)
    What I really like is that with Zeitgeist you go beyond Dolphin and create something truely amazing.


  5. I just recently switched to Linux–Ubuntu, specifically–and one of my favorite things so far has been the two-mode pathbar/location bar. I might never have found it if it was buried as a non-default option, but really makes Nautilus much easier to get around in.

    It’s especially important for doing things that make Nautilus powerful, like using ssh to view the filesystem of another computer.

    • Izo,

      @Sage Ross: thank you very much for your comment, that’s an interesting thought actually. Considering, then, that there still very much seems to be a need for an easily-switchable location bar/pathbar, perhaps DanRabbit’s UI Design for Nautilus would be better suited, as you can easily switch between either in his design. The nice thing is: this isn’t concrete! And I’m a humble, open-minded GUI Designer, always willing to listen to the opinions of others.

  6. Tom,

    You are welcome.
    I really think you hit it out of the park. I hope the key Gnome people see this.(Hello Stormy?) Maybe Gnome should start an outreach program for designers so that maybe more applications get a treatment like this.

    Rock on

  7. Also, you’re not really comparing apples to apples theme-wise. ClearLooks, to me, is garish, and it makes the current Nautilus look much worse than it needs to. Human is the theme I use, and it’s much closer to the style of your mockups.

  8. Jimbo,

    IMO you need the breadcrumbs to have arrows between the different folders, Ala the Elementary Nautilus Mockup.

    I’ve long thought the current way Nautilus shows the breadcrumbs as if they are just buttons on the tool bar is a usability disaster. Your mockups are better but still lack the arrows.

    • Izo,

      @Jimbo: that’s a fair point and would be easy enough to implement. I do think Dan’s breadcrumb idea is superb. Much better than mine.

  9. (The mockups look great, overall, by the way. I like the coloring and button styling quite a bit.)

    • Izo,

      @Sage Ross: regarding themes, sure the original Nautilus screenshot used doesn’t really compare style-wise to my desktop, but I just needed a very “default” screenshot of Nautilus, not to say, “Hey, isn’t my theme better! NARF!” but more to show what GNOME users have been presented with for a long time. Also, thank you! The theme design of the mockup is based on a GTK that I’m currently making, a sort of “New Human” if you will.

  10. I think nautilus looks like a piece of shit atm, nothing close to Dolphin. God, it’s so fucking awful.

    Looking forward to see your mock-ups implemented! Great job!


    P.S.: Sorry for the flaming, too much frustration gathered inside me that needed out.

  11. Oh and yeah, arrows for the breadcrumb like in elementary please…

  12. Leolas,

    Are there possibilities this is REALLY going to happen?

    I see too oft wonderful ideas/mockups like yours being forgotten after some weeks, in the linux world.

    And this MUST NOT be forgotten, because the nautilus looks fantastic, and the implementation with zeitgeist is perfect

    • Izo,

      @Leolas: firstly thank you very much for the nice words! Regarding the possibility of these becoming reality… well, consider that my user interface idea isn’t all that different to Dan Rabbit’s and HIS Nautilus redesign is currently being developed in his Elementary Project PPA, so in terms of User Interface it’s very possible, to a large extent. In terms of Zeitgeist integration, well Seif Lofty, first comment in this post, is one of the key developers of Docky and Zeitgeist and he’s already provided positive feedback about Zeitgeist integration. So, all I can say is, KEEP AN EYE OPEN, keep this post alive and keep reminding the right people because it could well happen!

  13. Glad to see some other people share the same opinion about nautilus. It’s a perfect analysis and the zeitgeist functionalities would just bring nautilus to a next level. This is exactly what i am heading in nautilus-elementary development. I hope more people who’ll join us. All of that has already being discussed in nautilus mailing list, some patch submited for years… but sadly nothing move, it’s time for a change.

    • Izo,

      @ammonkey: thank you very much for your comment! I love the work you’re doing with Nautilus-Elementary; we need more people like you that can make ideas a reality. Keep up the god work! Let’s hope Zeitgeist can get integrated into Nautilus!

  14. @Izo please contact me :)

  15. @Izo: BTW I am not one of the key devs of Docky 😛
    I just maintain the zeitgeist integration… But I just need some1 to hook me up with the API so i can plugin the most used stuff in nautilus :)

    lets keep in touch over jabber/gmail

  16. Phrodo_00,

    While I certainly agree with a lot of the stuff in the deconstruction of nautilus, I have only a gripe: the stop button.

    sure, accessing a hard drive is pretty fast, but what about a folder with over 2GB of wallpapers? the thumbnailers certainly take their time, and perhaps, you know what you’re looking for, so you just hit the stop button, write some of the letters in the filename and off you go. However, the most important case are non-local filesystems. Maybe smb or nfs don’t take long enough to grant a stop button, but what about mounting ftp, sshfs or webdav folders over the internet in a crappy connection, and you did a wrong turn somewhere? definitely you’d want a stop button now wouldn’t you?

    Anyway, I really liked the recent stuff, but maybe I’d like a system based on “hotness” too(as in reddit, where not only points, or accesses are counted, but also, how long has it been since the last time)

    Any way, pretty interested, well thought post, and is definitely in the direction I’d like nautilus to move.

    • Izo,

      @Phrodo_00: thanks very much for your comment. That’s an interesting case study for the stop button that I hadn’t considered. This again is where DanRabbit’s design of Nautilus beats mine as he implements the stop button inside the pathbar. Thanks for giving me food for thought!

  17. Praveen,

    this is what ubuntu should be helping nautilus do. instead of wasting their time with a music store.

    • Izo,

      @Praveen: I think the Ubuntu One Music Store is an ace idea. I mean, I’ll never use it, but I still think it’s ace. Thanks for the comment! 😀

  18. Vadim P.,

    “I’ve never used the stop button.”

    I have, because Nautilus has a great feature to connect to websites and etc so you can work with files remotely without using a special tool. Since connections over the internet are definitely slower than to your HD, the stop button does have it’s place.

    • Izo,

      @Vadim P.: thanks for your comment, looks like another vote for the Stop button, another case where DanRabbit’s Nautilus design is better than mine. Thanks for providing a good argument!

  19. blankthemuffin,

    I second that about the stop button, however I don’t see how it cannot be integrated with your current mockup. Simply replace the refresh button with a stop button as something is loading.

    Or even have a separate refresh button and merge the ‘go’ and ‘stop’ buttons like chrome does.

    • Izo,

      @blankthemuffin: you make a very valid point. Dan has implemented a similar spec regarding the refresh and stop button in his mockup.

  20. blankthemuffin,

    And actually another thing to note, I’d like proper searching in Nautilus too. Like on top of normal incremental search, hit a button and get a fully featured search with find in files, etc, etc settings. It seems insane to have to open a separate application (dubbed ‘Search for Files…’ in my install) in order to go and search for text in files of a folder I already have open in Nautilus.

  21. ethana2,

    Have you used gnome-globalmenu? It takes out the confusion and noise, but leaves the functionality.

    ..sure, Apple did it two decades earlier, but it’s never too late.

    • Izo,

      @ethana2: Yeah, I’ve used GlobalMenu… sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t. It’s OK, but it’ll never be consistent since it can’t grab the menu from applications like Firefox, for example. Thanks for the comment!

  22. Mike,

    No fucking up button?

    Fuck you.

  23. andi,

    I love your mock ups!
    Personally I always hide the toolbar in Nautilus. I like the idea of consistent UI design in GNOME, but GNOME should also have the courage to move on and recognize that the GUI world has been facing the introduction of some new usability ideas in the last few years.

    • Izo,

      @andi: Thanks for the comment! It would seem that opinions are extremely divided about the GUI design of Nautilus; I’m just glad that people feel so passionately about it!

  24. Randal,

    Dirty dirty hacks, but it can be done as a nautilus extension. I would rather approach it from the nautilus side, but I would hate to have to require a patched version of nautilus.

    • Izo,

      @Randal: I am astounded at how fast the internet moves sometimes… that is brilliant! Like you say, it would be better if Zeitgeist could be integrated into more Nautilus more naturally, but this is a good start!

  25. George Marselis,

    So, basically, you’re not adding something new to the UI, you just want to make nautilus look like Folder on a mac. Classy.

    Forgive my bitter comments, but I am not happy with the direction the gnome UI is taking.
    and NO, Folder is NOT king of file managers. it’s quite horrible for me.

    • Izo,

      @George Marselis: Thanks for the comment! I don’t wish to make Nautilus a direct copy of Finder, I want to Nautilus to be better than Finder. If a UI idea from another piece of software from another OS works then I’ll use it. If we look past the UI, the Zeitgeist integration is what will help Nautilus become an even better file manager.

  26. Theo,

    Nice ideas! Please add a queue manager for copy/move…

  27. Beau,

    What app did you use to make this?

    It’s inspired me to get into GUI design and such.

    Any pointers you could offer?

    • Izo,

      @Beau: Thank you very much! I tend to do most of my work in Inkscape, it’s very powerful and obviously everything being in SVG is an enormous benefactor.

  28. Tom,

    OK, the “I love The Homer” people came out of the woodwork.

    A stop button is utterly useless. If you turn on tumbnails over the network you are a moron. No stop button will change that. Nautilus’ actions should always be interruptible and that effectively is a stop button. You can just go back or turn off whatever takes so long.

    And the Up button? Your reasons for dropping it were perfectly valid, don’t let these “Get off my lawn”-types hinder progress.

  29. Harper,

    How about removing the edges left and right from the side panel and the directory view?

    Because of the Stop Button,
    i dont know but mayby the stop button is the false approach, like bad programming style…
    The building of the directory view should be in another thread so it doesn’t block the UI (for example when looking for network shares), and when we change to another dir the thread would be killed

  30. Beautiful.
    I think that toolbar should be fully customizable, just like in Firefox. Since some users (including me) don’t use buttons at all and rely on hotkeys, pathbar and searchbar are all they need.
    Also, entire content of menubar placed in one menu summoned by single icon is a way to go (IMO), most apps should have this (not necessarily as default).
    One think that some people may find cool, is integrated quick preview in Nautilus – this would be quicker than calling external apps for this. Also, sidebar would display previewed file info, like resolution, file size, bit rate etc.

    PS: I know that it’s just a mockup, but is it real GTK/Metacity theme? If not, then it should be made :)

    • Izo,

      @weakhead: Hey man, welcome aboard! Thanks for the comment! It would indeed be excellent if Nautilus had customisable toolbars like Firefox. Regarding the theme used: it IS sort of based on a GTK that I’m currently modding. I may well release it.

  31. Beautiful. Seriously. I’ve hated how much space nautilus uses up ever since I got a Netbook, and I’ve been pining for change. There have been numerous attempts at changing nautilus’ layout, but none have been put upstream. But god, someone should make this.

    • Izo,

      @wilsonliam: Thank you very much and thanks for the comment! I don’t own a netbook myself but I can imagine that Nautilus takes a large chunk of real estate.

  32. David,

    Brilliant! If Nautilus *were* redesigned in this fashion, I’d even use it. As it is, I use Dolphin even with the Gnome desktop. I’ve tried a number of file managers, and Nautilus at present is likely the very worst. Let’s hope the Gnome programmers are listening.

  33. Xake,

    Abou the stop button: I have used it.

    Try connect to a server over ssh/sftp/whatever, then by accident enter the wrong directory when you are using a slow connection.
    Believe me, you really want the stop button then!

    However, you may place it in the mockup maybe so while loading the stop button takes the place of the “refresh” button? You do not really need refresh while the directory is still loading, and if you want to refresh a loading directory, you may as well stop the previous loading first.

    • Izo,

      @Xake: thanks for the comment! I do think it’s entirely possible that, if a stop is required, then we can use the reload/stop button configuration. Dan implements a similar spec in his mockup.

  34. Xake,

    I have used the stop button.

    An example: connect to an server with the help of gvfs/nautilus over an slow connection.
    Then by accident enter the wrong directory.
    While the directory is loading you really want a stop-button!

    However as long as the directory is loading, you do not really need the refresh button, right?
    Why not have them occupy the same space, so as long as the directory is loading, then there is a stop button, and as soon as the listing/thumbnailing/whatever is done, then the stop button turns into a refresh button?

  35. This is really beautiful and I hope that you work on that further. My suggestion would be to change the three buttons on the right so that they look as rounded as the address bar. Or maybe look at homosapien/ehomosapine theme to get an impression.

  36. redapple,

    You really should release theme.

    And speaking of Nautilus… dont you afraid that people will said, that all changes makes whole Gnome more OSX like, and distros using it – “OSX for poor”?

    Anyway, i like it but i would change breadcrumb shape to one used in Lucid Lynxs Software Center – more squared.

    • Izo,

      @redapple: Thanks for the comment! Regarding the “GNOME is a poor man’s OS X”: if people want to make that comparison then go ahead, but I think it misses the point. GNOME can practically look like any user interface you see elsewhere. I’m not ashamed to borrow UI elements from other OSs if I think it will produce a better usability experience. Regarding the breadcrumb style, it does seem to be the consensus that I should redesign the breadcrumb style. Duly noted.

  37. Is the Metacity in your mockups a custom Homosapien theme you created with the “Customizer” of mine… it looks very very close :-)

    Either way I’m happy to see it (hopefully) been used.

    • Izo,

      @Zac Barton: hey man, welcome aboard and thanks for the comment! Indeed, my metacity mockup is a kind of homage to your excellent metacity theme and customiser. Should I release the GTK and Metacity themes I’m modding, I’ll be using your theme. And giving appropriate credit.

  38. Tom,

    @Xake and other stop button users:

    The stop button is a big fat sign that the code in Nautilus sucks. If you cannot interrupt an action with Back or switching to another view then it is Nautilus’ bad design. Don’t provide UI for buggy implementations, just fix them.

  39. codebeard,

    I don’t feel that you’ve clearly explained the interaction between the pathbar and the sidebar buttons. For example, in your mockups, you will have “Pictures” or “Commonly/Recently Accessed” active in your sidebar, but have “DeviantART” active in your pathbar.

    This is how I think it should work:
    1) When browsing a location that is not available directly from the sidebar (such as your “DeviantART” folder), the last used entry in the sidebar should be highlighted but not active (e.g. grey background not orange).

    2) When you click any place or device in the sidebar, the user will expect to be taken away from “DeviantART” and to the new location. If the new location is a parent of the last used location (e.g. if you clicked ‘Home’ or ‘Pictures’ from the Places list) the breadcrumbs up to and including “DeviantART” should remain if there is space, but the new location should become highlighted in both the sidebar and the pathbar.

    This last rule should also apply to ‘Recently/Commonly Used’. The pathbar should be replaced with a similarly themed ‘ Recently Accessed’ or ‘ Commonly Accessed’. If a document type or a specific date is selected within these parameters, it can be shown in the pathbar with a kind of “breadcrumb” e.g. ‘ Recently Accessed > Today > Images’.

    I just had another idea too, which I haven’t thought through a lot but it could be really useful. Instead of only being able to click on a breadcrumb, what if you could hold down the mouse button for slightly longer (or drag the mouse vertically, or press up/down if navigating with the keyboard) and instead be presented with an in-place list of other folders at the same level. As an example, let’s say you’re in ‘DeviantART’ and you want to go to another folder ‘Sunsets’ that is also in the ‘Wallpapers’ folder. Instead of having to press back or press the breadcrumb for Wallpapers then scroll around to find ‘Sunsets’, you could just click on the ‘DeviantART’ breadcrumb and start dragging down (a scrollable list of other folders will appear directly above and below the ‘DeviantART’ breadcrumb) until you get to ‘Sunsets’ and release the mouse. This could also work for the Date/filetype “breadcrumbs” in the “Recently/Commonly Accessed” view; drag down on ‘Today’ to access ‘Yesterday’ or ‘Last week’, or drag down on ‘PDFs’ to quickly change to ‘Images’ etc. Does this feature idea make sense?

    PS: If you are working with a limited display area, having a way to disable the side panel might be welcome.

    PPS: Don’t forget to have a place for network locations — they don’t really belong in ‘Places’ or ‘Devices’. You could have a title in the sidebar like ‘NETWORK’ and beneath it a button “Connect to location…” which would enhance discoverability.

    • Izo,

      @codebeard: firstly, awesome username, secondly, thanks for the comment, and thirdly, this is an excellent post and you make some very sound suggestions. Indeed, when I was designing the Zeitgeist integration mockup, I overlooked how this would be reflected in the breadcrumb location bar, but your suggestion is a very good way to go. You’ve made some excellent suggestions that I’ve duly noted. Perhaps an updated mockup is needed in the future.

  40. Dual Pane,

    Hey there, I totally miss the dual pane function!

    As far as I now it will be part of Nautilus und 10.04, so don’t skip it in your mockup.

    In my opinion it is a very important function of a file manager…

    • Izo,

      @Dual Pane: thanks for the comment! If the dual pane function is a commonly used view mode, then I don’t see why that can’t be added to the view mode section of icons. I personally don’t use it myself, but I’m always open to suggestions.

  41. 6205,

    BTW the “King Of The File Managers” is not Finder, but Windows Explorer :)

    • Izo,

      @6205: thanks for the comment. If you read my post, you’ll see that I’ve credited Dan’s nautilus redesign many times. I think his design is better than mine. Regarding “King of the File Managers”, well, that’s up for debate, isn’t it? ^_^

  42. @izo: No problems at all mate. I’m glad you like it enough to use it :-)

  43. Izo, your mockup is awesome!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!