Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:32 am
Warning: long read ahead. If you have any ideas for dolphin go ahead and post them even if you don't read all of this.
I really like dolphin as a file browser. It is definitely the best I have used. However, I think there are improvements that can be made.
We don't want Dolphin to turn into another Konqueror, with too many features for many users to deal with. We already have Konqueror, having a second one would be redundant. So I set out with five goals in mind:
1. Make existing dolphin features easier to find and use
2. Make it harder for common user mistakes (that is mistakes I make) to occur
3. Bring it up to feature parity with other common file managers, like Windows Explorer.
4. Add additional features without making Dolphin any harder to use
5. Make sure all the features are independent of each other, so Dolphin developers can pick and choose which they like
I looked through the Dolphin wishlists, mockups on KDE-files.org, and looked at other window managers. I then combined those ideas I thought were good with ideas of my own and made what I hope is an easy and consistent interface. I have also incorporated the suggestions and ideas discussed in the rest of this thread. You can see the end result below (click the thumbnails to get a full view):
It should be fairly familiar, there are no really radical changes. To make it easier to see where things have changed I have highlighted my ideas below:
For some of these ideas just these pictures should be enough. Others need additional mockups. Others are simple enough that no mockup is needed. All the mockups and descriptions of mine later in this thread are located here, but other people have presented their own ideas and suggestions about these ideas so reading the rest of the thread (excluding my later mockups) is worthwhile.
So here is the list of features. Each of these features is entirely independent of the other features, so developers can implement one of them, all of them, or any number in-between. They have all been added to the brainstorming forum. The link for each idea takes you to the brainstorming thread for that idea.
I. Toolbar and Menu Bar
1. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-menu-buttons-t-38858.html]Menu Buttons[/url]
2. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-hierarchal-sorting-t-38863.html]Hierarchal Sorting[/url]
3. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-horizontal-split-view-t-38864.html]Horizontal Split View[/url]
4. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-saved-views-t-38865.html]Saved Views[/url]
II. Address Bar
5. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-breadcrumb-subfolders-t-38866.html]Breadcrumb Subfolders[/url]
6. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-breadcrumb-tree-t-38867.html]Breadcrumb tree[/url]
[s]7. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-drag-and-drop-breadcrumbs-t-38868.html]Drag-and-Drop Breadcrumbs[/url][/s] [i]Implemented[/i]
8. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-automatically-return-to-breadcrumb-mode-t-38869.html]Automatically Return to Breadcrumb Mode[/url]
9. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-middle-click-on-breadcrumb-open-as-t-38870.html]Middle-Click on Breadcrumb to Open as Tab[/url]
III. Miscellaneous Panel Changes
10. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-actions-panel-t-38872.html]Actions panel[/url]
11. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-recursive-folder-information-t-38874.html]Recursive Folder Information[/url]
12. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-collapsible-panels-t-38875.html]Collapsible Panels[/url]
13. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-collapsible-sidebar-t-38882.html]Collapsible Sidebar[/url]
IV. Places Panel
14. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-place-groups-t-38879.html]Place Groups[/url]
15. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-hierarchal-places-t-38881.html]Hierarchal Places[/url]
16. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-hover-information-for-places-t-38883.html]Hover Information[/url]
17. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-places-actions-t-38884.html]Places Actions[/url]
V. Status Bar and Filter Bar
18. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-draggable-zoom-and-capacity-bars-t-38885.html]Draggable Zoom and Capacity Bars[/url]
19. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-statusbar-filter-button-t-38886.html]Statusbar Filter Button[/url]
20. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-filter-and-search-buttons-t-38887.html]Filter and Search Buttons[/url]
21. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-filter-bar-label-t-38898.html]Filter Bar Label[/url]
22. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-special-filters-t-38890.html]Special Filters[/url]
VI. File Browser Area
23. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-color-coded-file-browser-t-38891.html]Color-coded File Browser[/url]
24. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-group-counts-t-38893.html]Group Counts[/url]
25. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-collapsible-groups-t-38894.html]Collapsible Groups[/url]
26. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-folder-contents-in-icon-t-38896.html]Folder Contents in Icon[/url]
27. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-file-progress-in-icon-t-38897.html]File Progress in Icon[/url]
28. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-text-beside-icon-t-38899.html]Text Beside Icon[/url]
29. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-column-view-range-t-38900.html]Column View Range[/url]
30. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-active-icon-corners-t-38901.html]Active Icon Corners[/url]
31. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-easy-file-preview-t-38913.html]Easy File Preview[/url]
32. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-pinned-file-selection-t-38914.html]Pinned File Selection[/url]
33. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-linked-split-view-t-38903.html]Linked Split View[/url]
34. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-single-file-view-t-38915.html]Single-File View[/url]
35. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-pictureflow-view-apple-coverflow-improvement-t-38916.html]Pictureflow View[/url]
36. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-drag-drop-tabs-split-views-t-38904.html]Drag and Drop Tabs and Split Views[/url]
37. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-drop-folder-next-tab-open-as-t-38905.html]Drop Folder Next to Tab to Open as Tab[/url]
38. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-dropping-an-icon-on-tab-opens-t-38906.html]Dropping Icon on Tab Opens Move Menu[/url]
39. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-custom-hidden-file-rules-t-38907.html]Custom Hidden File Rules[/url]
40. [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-idea-per-mimetype-thumbnails-t-38909.html]Per-Mimetype Thumbnails[/url]
VII. Not for Dolphin but Related
41. [url=http://forum.kde.org/default-folder-metadata-for-nepomuk-t-38910.html]Default Folder Metadata for Nepomuk[/url]
42. [url=http://forum.kde.org/file-already-exists-dialog-box-overhaul-t-38911.html]“File Already Exists” Dialog Box Overhaul[/url]
[u][b]I. Toolbar and Menu Bar[/b][/u]
These ideas affect the toolbar and/ the menu bar. The toolbar is the button near the top of Dolphin with all of the buttons for various tasks, like going forward and backwards in your history. The menu bar is above that, and includes drop-down menus like “File”, “Edit”, and “View”.
[b]1. Menu Buttons[/b]
The first idea is what I call "menu buttons". These are toolbar buttons that, when clicked, pop up a menu. Currently Konqueror has back and forward buttons that pop up a built-in history list if you click and hold on them. I think it would be great if Dolphin's back and forward buttons provided this sort of list as well, so I have added them to the mockup.
More generally, I think buttons of this sort can be useful in other roles in Dolphin as well. As a convention, buttons that execute a function when you click on it but pop up a menu when you click and hold have a big arrow off to the side. Clicking the arrow will bring up the menu immediately. This seems to already be the way things work in KDE, I am just trying to follow it for the sake of consistency.
There is also another sort of button used for the KGet Konqueror button. This button has a smaller arrow touching the icon, and it pops up a menu immediately when pressed. Just pressing the button does nothing, in order to do something you have to click one of the menu entires. I also make use of this sort of button, using the same small arrow right next to the icon. The four buttons immediately to the right of the back and forward button are of these type. I will only include the first three in this section, since the fourth one is an independent idea.
I created these buttons to fix what I perceive as a difficult in quickly and easily configuring the dolphin view. There are a huge number of options for configuring your view in Dolphin. The problem is that there is limited space in the toolbar. You obviously do not want to confuse and overwhelm users, that is what Konqueror is for. This means that, by default, there are only a few view property buttons on the toolbar. The rest of the options are all stuck in a single “view” menu in the menu bar, which is crammed and relatively slow to find stuff in. Most of the options, in fact, are in sub-menus of the view menu, which are even slower to access. This makes major changes to the view a relatively slow affair. These menus buttons are designed to group view properties into units with a consistent theme and organization, much fewer entries, and no sub-menus. The exact organization is open, what I describe below is simply one possible layout, one that appeals to me.
I personally think it is best having these buttons as part pf the default toolbar layout and having advanced users who do not like them be able to switch them out for the old buttons. I think this layout will be easier for new users to understand and expose more functionality to them without confusing or overwhelming them. Whether the developers agree with that perspective or not, I think it is important that buttons like these at least be available.
The first button of this sort, the button just to the right of back and forward buttons, is the “view mode” button. This button is equivalent to the “view mode” sub-menu in Dolphin, along with some options related to the view mode:
As you can see, this menu includes radio buttons to select the view you want, as well as check boxes to show file previews, show files in groups, and show hidden files. These are all currently present in the view menu and available as buttons. Notice that there are two views not currently available in Dolphin. These are placed here for consistency, the menu would work just fine if you decide not to implement either of these views (they are covered in more detail later on).
The next button to the right is the “Additional Information” button:
Once again this is the same as the corresponding sub-menu in the view menu, with a few added options that I felt were related. Notice that these are all check boxes, since you can have as many of these as you want. Also notice the “text beside icon” check box. This is another new feature I will cover later one, if Dolphin developers do not implement it then it can just be left out of the menu. The I should also point out the icons I am using were just scavenged from the Dolphin icons, these particular icons do not have to be used.
The next button is the “Sort By” button:
This has the standard sorting options. It also allows you to sort it descending. The “Columns” button allows you to organize the view by columns instead of rows. For some reason this is buried in the Dolphin configuration dialog box. I thought it was pretty useful so I made it more easily accessible.
Changing view, sorting, showing additional information, these are all pretty basic tasks that people will want to do all the time. Yet to have all of them at your fingertips would currently require nearly two dozen separate icons, and most of them are two levels deep in the existing view menu. So they are either difficult to find and cumbersome to use or require a huge cluttered toolbar. This way, I feel is a good compromise between having them at your fingertips and not having them in the way. I think having a setup like this is a fairly good default layout for dolphin. More advanced users who want to have the separate buttons for any of these can just add them.
Vista solves this last problem a bit differently. It keeps the column headings normally used to sort the details view even when explorer is not in details view. Although this is an option and as such I thought I should point it out, in my opinion this wastes screen real estate. I think my solution is better without being very much more difficult to use.
[b]2. Hierarchal Sorting[/b]
This next idea, which I called “hierarchal sorting”, is implemented as part of the “Sort By” menu button above, but could work just as well with the corresponding view sub-menu. The “Sort By” menu would also work just fine without this idea, so I have put it in its own category. The picture is below, but it probably will not make much sense without an explanation:
Presently, it is only possible to set the first item to sort your view by. So if you sort by type, for instance, you can't tell Dolphin how to sort files that are all of the same type. For instance, if you sort by type, but you have a lot of JPEGs, how will all the JPEG files be sorted? Unfortunately, I could not come up with an easy, simple, and intuitive method to accomplish this, so I had to break me own rules slightly. This idea is a possible solution to What this menu allows you to do is set how otherwise identical files are sorted. So if, as in this case, you have the first sort level set to type, it will sort all files by type. However, if you have multiple files of the same type, it will sort those by name. Then, if you have multiple files of the same name, it sorts by size (I know you can't do that, this is just an example).
So what happens is if you press the “Sort By” button or sub-menu normally, it behaves as it currently does with radio buttons. However, if you hold the ctrl button and press it, or press it and then hold ctrl, you get this. This look like check boxes, but when you click on them you do not get checks, you get numbers. The first item you click when holding the ctrl button gets the number one, which is the same as the normal sort system. This is “Type” in the mockup. The second item you click gets the number two, and it is what you sort items by that are the same under the first sort. So in the mockup, for items that are of the same type you then sort them by name. This continues for as many levels as you want.
When you click outside of the menu, or release the ctrl button, the menu disappears. If you click any of the items in the menu without holding ctrl, it reverts to its original behavior and sorts just by that item. If you hold ctrl and click something that already has a number, it loses its number and the lowered-number items move up one rank. So in the mockup if you ctrl-click “name”, it would lose its number and “size” would become number 2.
This should also probably be implemented for details view. It would work basically the same, ctrl-clicking on column headings in details view would allow you to set a sort hierarchy with numbers next to the column name.
[b]3. Horizontal Split View[/b]
The 6th button in the toolbar controls the splitting of the window. By default it acts like the normal split view button, splitting horizontally. However, if you click and hold the split view button it will pop up a menu that allows you to switch between horizontal and vertical split views. You can only have one at a time, the old Konqueror "infinite splits" is probably not a good idea for Dolphin, and I know it has already been vetoed by Dolphin developers. If you switch from one mode to the other and the view is already split it will also switch. You can see a mockup of the menu below:
Splitting vertically is useful for things like column view and details view with a lot of details since it allows you to spread the view out over a wide area, while with a horizontal split you have a tall area but it is fairly narrow.
[b]4. Saved Views[/b]
Saved views are a way to take the entire current view, everything you can set under “view properties” as well as panels and panel locations, splits, etc., and store it for later use on other folders. This would most likely take the form of a submenu in the “view” menu and/or a menu button. It would show a list of all current saved views, as well as a button at the end for “create new..” that would allow you to name the view and store it to the list. That way you can then use it wherever you want. This is based on SeaJey's suggestion in [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-ideas-with-mockups-t-28472.html#pid38713]post 12[/url].
[u][b]II. Address Bar[/b][/u]
These ideas affect the address bar, the bar near the top of a dolphin window that tells you what folder you are currently in. This includes both the “breadcrumb” address bar, which is the default view that lists each folder in the hierarchy as a button you can click to go back, as well as the “text” address bar, the address bar used by Konqueror that you can type in
[b]5. Breadcrumb Subfolders[/b]
If you look at the right end of the address bar, you will see is a final arrow that is not present in the current Dolphin address bar. Clicking this button shows all of the subfolders of the current folder (if there are any, if there aren't the arrow doesn't appear), allowing you to go right to them. This is useful in and of itself, since it allows you to go to a folder even if it is not visible in the file browser right now (either because it is filtered or because it is above or below where you have scrolled to). It becomes even more useful with the "tree" breadcrumbs system that I will show a mockup of next.
[b]6. Breadcrumb tree[/b]
This next mockup is an extension of the existing Dolphin breadcrumb address bar:
The first one is an improvement on the breadcrumb navigation bar:
In this, as you can see, the list of folders you get by clicking the arrows between each folder in the bar has been expanded into a full tree-style navigation system, allowing you to navigate up to any folder in the hierarchy. If there were subfolders in the mythtv folder, you would be able to navigate to those, and subfolders of those subfolders, etc. You can see that not every folder has an arrow. That is because the arrow only appears when there is a subfolder you can navigate to.
[s][b]7. Drag-and-Drop Breadcrumbs[/b][/s] [i]Implemented[/i]
I think it would be very useful if dragging and dropping of files works with the folder lists in the breadcrumb address bar. So if you grab a file and drag it to one of the arrows between folders in the address bar and then hold it there for a few moments, the arrow will open the folder list. You can then drop the file on any of those folders to get the standard "Move, Copy, Link" menu. This will make moving a single block of files between distant folders much easier, and moving individual files between nearby folders easier as well.
Although the above idea is something I really want just on its own, it works even better if combined with the breadcrumb tree idea above. If instead of dropping the file you hover it over a folder with subfolders, you will get the list of subfolders that you can then either drop on or expand in turn. This allows you to move any file or block of files anywhere in the filesystem easily.
[b]8. Automatically Return to Breadcrumb Mode[/b]
This is an option for people who prefer the breadcrumb bar but use the text-based address bar occasionally to make it easier to go back to breadcrumb mode:
Here, at first glance the text-style address bar is similar to what you see normally. The difference is that the circular arrow button that currently returns you to the breadcrumb mode now has an arrow to pop up a menu. Clicking normally does the same thing as it currently does, but clicking and holding brings up a menu. The menu has one entry that returns to the breadcrumb mode, which is what just normally clicking the button does. However, it also has a check box that allows you to switch it so that clicking away from the address bar causes it to automatically return to breadcrumb mode. That way, for people who much prefer the breadcrumb mode and only use the text mode occasionally and briefly, it allows them to easily go back to the breadcrumb mode. However, it does not get in the way of people who prefer the current system, nor does it make the toolbar look any busier or more crowded. And for people who want to use it one way some times and the other way other times, it allows them to easily switch back and forth without having to pull up the dolphin configuration dialog box or delving through multiple layers of sub-menus in the menu bar. This is an implementation of Hans' idea in [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-ideas-with-mockups-t-28472.html#pid47886]post 36[/url]:
[b]9. Middle-Click on Breadcrumb to Open as Tab[/b]
Currently, middle-clicking on any folder opens that folder in a new tab, be it in the file browser, places panel, or folders panel. The only exception is the breadcrumb address bar. There, middle-clicking pastes. I understand that middle-clicking on a text box in KDE pastes into that text box. The issue is that when the address bar is in breadcrumb mode, it is not a text box it is a series of buttons. I would guess that pasting when middle-clicking on a button is unexpected behavior for most users, especially considering the otherwise consistent use of middle-clicking in Dolphin.
Further, it would only take two clicks to switch the address bar to text mode and then paste the text into it there, plus you can do the two clicks without moving your mouse. On the other hand, to open a folder in the breadcrumb bar as a tab requires at least three clicks, perhaps many more, and moving your mouse a long distance, since you have to click to the folder above the one you want, find the folder you want in the file browser, middle-click it, then go back to the toolbar and press the back button. So I think that middle-clicking on the breadcrumb-style address bar should open the folder you middle-clicked as a new tab, while middle-clicking on the text-style address bar should paste text into the address bar.
Also, being able to middle-click on the folders in the menus you get when you click the arrows in the breadcrumb bar would be useful as well, currently middle-clicking on them does nothing as far as I can see.
[u][b]III. Miscellaneous Panel Changes[/b][/u]
These ideas affect all panels, are about a new panel, and/or affect a specific panel other than the places panel (which is dealt with later).
[b]10. Actions Panel[/b]
The next thing I want you to look at is the "actions" panel in the lower right, since this is a fairly basic idea that it looks like several people (including me) have come up with independently. It shows actions you can take with the currently-selected file (or the displayed folder if nothing is selected). On other words it is basically a trimmed-down version right-click menu, minus things like cut, copy, and paste. One key difference is with "actions" which should be displayed right there instead of placed in a sub-menu. This is an example of discoverability. I want it so if there is something you can do with an object it should be obvious, not hidden in right-click menus.
[b]11. Recursive Folder Information[/b]
Directly above the actions panel in the middle right is something labeled "recursive folder info". This just means that the information panel should show information for folder, including their subfolders. So for instance it should show the size of all files in a folder and all of its subfolders. The same should be true for the "details" view in dolphin, the "size" column should show the total size of all items within a folder, including the contents of subfolders not just the size of the folder "file". This is infeasible right now but should be possible with Nepomuk down the road.
[b]12. Collapsible Panels[/b]
You might have noticed an additional icon at the top of each panel, a thin line. This allows you to temporarily collapse a panel. The folder view here (in the lower left-hand corner) is collapsed to keep it out of the way. The line (actually a minus) then becomes a plus, if you click the plus it returns to its previous size. I did not come up with any ideas for the folder view so I used it as an example:
[b]13. Collapsible Sidebar[/b]
It would also be nice if you could quickly and temporarily hide all the panels on side of the screen, giving you more screen real estate briefly without requiring the panels be re-added from the view menu. One way this might work is that if you collapse all the panels on one side of the screen, as described above, then the side bar changes to a think strip and panel labels are rotated so they are sideway. Another way is that there is a vertical strip next to the panel, either on the inside or outside edge, and if you click on that the panel shrinks.
[u][b]IV. Places Panel[/b][/u]
These idea affect the places panel, which by default appears on the left side of Dolphin and displays commonly-visited places and removable media.
[b]14. Place Groups[/b]
There are a bunch of changes to the places panel on the left. The first, and probably most obvious, is the addition of groups to the places panel. This would probably be optional, but I think it is good as a default. With this your different places are organized into groups by category. Places you set are "My Places", there is a group for removable drives, a category for CDs and DVDs, a group for network drives, a group for saved searches (Strigi searches you want to access again). Group for which there are no places do not appear, there would probably be categories for cameras and music players for instance but since there are none plugged in those groups are hidden. Also notice that these have the plus and minus signs. This allows you yo collapse group as well, like the Network Drives group in this example.
[b]15. Hierarchal Places[/b]
Another new idea with the places are hierarchal places, where there are places that are contained within other places. This is only applicable to certain sorts of places. So for instance if you attach an external hard drive containing two partitions, it will display one entry for the entire device, then below that it will show two entries, one for each partition. You can mount and unmount the two partitions independently in the normal manner, but you can also mount and unmount the entire device. This allows you to be sure your device has been fully unmounted before you disconnect it, and makes it easier to unmount all of its partitions.
This also applies to encrypted volumes, which can contain multiple sub-volumes. In the case of encrypted volumes, if there is only sub-volumes the encrypted volumes will be replaced with the sub-volumes. Mounting the encrypted volumes automatically mounts the sub-volumes as well, unmounting the sub-volumes unmounts the encrypted volume. There is only ever one icon. Presently you end up with two places, one essentially useless place for the encrypted volume and a second for the single sub-volume. They both have to be mounted and unmounted separately. If there are more than one sub-partition they are displayed as sub-volumes of the encrypted volume (which itself can be a sub-volume of a device). They can be mounted or unmounted individually or as a group.
There is also applies to network folders. If you set a place that is a subfolder of a network drive, the network drive is added to your places and the subfolder is added as a subfolder of that network drive in your places.
[b]16. Hover Information[/b]
There has been some talk of displaying things like the used space on a removable disk in the places view. However, if you have a lot of discs this could take up a lot of space. It also doesn't include non-removable devices like partitions and the trash bing. So, as an alternative I think it would be a good idea if this information is there, but is only displayed when you hover your mouse over each place, as you see below:
The light blue highlighted area should smoothly expand and then the information should fade in. In this case it is the "trash" area, displaying the number of items in the trash and the amount of space the trash takes up (with the bar being relative to the maximum capacity you set for the trash). If it is a removable disk or partition it will show how much of its space is used. It can also show quotas on local or network drives. Within the right-click menu you can set an option to permanently show this additional information.
[b]17. Places Actions[/b]
This is the same mockup as the previous idea, but these two ideas do not have to be used together:
The thing to notice this time is the small arrow at the far right of the highlighted area. It is darker here than in the first mockup image because it has been clicked on by the user. If you click this arrow it pops up a menu, probably the same as the right-click menu but easier to find. From this menu you can unmount removable drives, empty the recycling bin, or open the place in a new folder or a new tab.
Also, it should display other programs that you can open it with. In the Plasma new device notifier, for certain sorts of devices you are given options to open the device in another program. So for instance you can open a DVD in Dragon Player or open a camera in Digikam. The menu you see in the mockup will display the same information, allowing you to open places directly in an appropriate program other than dolphin. The ability to do this should also be in the right-click menu, but with the arrow appearing to the side it should be obvious there is something you can do with the device besides just left-clicking on it. This goes back to discoverability, people should not have to right-click on everything to do stuff, if you can interact with something in anything other than the default, left-click manner this should be clear. That doesn't mean getting rid of the right-click menu, this just provides an alternative way to access it.
Note that despite using the word "actions", this has nothing to do with the "actions" panel I mentioned before. The actions here show up in a menu that appears right next to the button, as you can see in the mockup. They do not appear in the actions panel, which only reflects actions associated with the currently selected item or items in the file browser.
[u][b]V. Status Bar and Filter Bar[/b][/u]
These ideas affect the status bar and filter bar. The status bar is the bar at the very bottom of the screen with the current file information, the zoom slider, and/or the free space on the current partition.
[b]18. Draggable Zoom and Capacity Bars[/b]
You probably cannot see it but the drag handles you see on toolbars have been added to the zoom slider and partition size items. This means you can drag them to re-order them. They are basically treated the same as toolbars.
[b]19. Statusbar Search Button[/b]
On the left side at the bottom you can see a magnifying glass.
This is a toggle for the filter/search system. Instead of people having to remember a keyboard shortcut, open up a menu, or manually place a button at the top as far from the filter bar as possible, you just click the magnifying glass right next to where the filter bar will be and the filter bar appears. Click it again and the filter bar disappears. In its present state someone wouldn't even know the filter was there if they didn't make a point to browse through all the menus. This button should make it immediately obvious the filter is there and make it quicker to launch it and quicker to get to it once it is launched.
[b]20. Filter and Search Buttons[/b]
Just above the magnifying glass, when the filter bar is present, are two buttons, “Filter” and “Search”
“Filter” is currently depressed, because the bar is in filter mode (which is the same as the existing filter). By default when you click the magnifying glass it opens up a filter, so the filter button will already be depressed. But if you click the search button it switches to search mode, which uses the Strigi index to search your hard drive for files. To switch back to filter mode click the filter button again. Since these are related tasks putting them together seems logical. This is opposed to having separate search and filter boxes like Firefox has.
I think this is a better solution for several reasons. One is that filtering and searching are conceptually related tasks, filtering is essentially just searching non-recursively in a given folder. Second, it saves space, you only need one bar instead of two. Third, it ties into the special filters I will describe later. To put it simply, the special filters allow you to filter by things like date, owner, type, etc. You would also want to be able to search using such criteria, so I think having a consistent and unified UI for both filtering and searching would be much more intuitive for users.
The search button has an arrow next to it. This is because it is a menu button like I discussed in the first section. If you click and hold, you are given a menu that allows you to select the specific sort of search you want. The options I cam up with are: “Search Subfolders”, “Search Home Folder”, “Search Indexed Folders”, “Search Entire Hard Drive”, and “Advanced...” (which launches kfind).
[b]21. Filter Bar Label[/b]
Notice the “Enter Filter Here...” text in the filter bar.
This is to make it more obvious to users that this is a filter bar. If Dolphin developers decide to go with the Filter and Search buttons above, when in search mode this would be changed to “Enter Search Here...”. Also notice that the filter bar is blue, this has to do with color-coding which I will deal with in more detail later on.
[b]22. Special Filters[/b]
Currently in Dolphin it is easy to filter by specific text, or regular expressions that novice users won't be able to use, but to search by other criteria like date, file type (without regular expressions), permissions, and other such characteristics is not as easy. So one of my major goals was to come up with a way to accomplish this. As I said earlier, this method should also work equally well if you combine the filter and search bars, but even if you decide to make a separate search bar these special filters would still be just as useful. My proposed solution is below. This is probably the longest idea, so please bear with me.
The important part is the “More” text on the far right. This is a button, but a unique button that I have not seen elsewhere in KDE or Qt. It has a double arrow on the left side and an up arrow on the right. This is the result you get when you click the “More” text or click the up arrow on the right:
This menu shows the various special filters that are available. Each entry allows you to filter a folder by that specific criteria. Clicking one expands a sub-menu that allows you to set that filter. The “Advanced...” entry at the top, which is from bcooksley's recommendation, opens a dialog box that allows you to implement even more sophisticated filters (there is no mockup of this). I will cover the specific filter sub-menus in more detail later.
Also notice the two arrows pointing to the left. These cause the button to expand as if it were a collapsible toolbar. It expands into something like this:
These are three different ways that it could expand. These are not all meant to be implemented, I just could not figure out for certain which one would be best so I made mockups of them all. If the Dolphin developers decide to implement this they would also have to decide which one they prefer. The buttons all open the same submenu you would get by clicking the corresponding entry in the menu you would get by clicking the up arrow.
The first mockup causes the button to expand to the left into a small toolbar, shrinking the filter bar as it goes. The left arrow then switches to a right arrow, and the toolbar will remain in place until you click that button again. This is probably my favorite, since it allows you to set multiple filter more easily and allows people who prefer to keep the special filters available all the time can do so. This is also similar to my original mockup, which had a non-collapsible special filter toolbar. bcooksley rightly pointed out that this was too crowded.
The second mockup is similar, except that clicking outside of the toolbar causes it to automatically retract again. As such the arrow button does not change.
The third mockup saves horizontal space while having the drawback that it expands into the file browser area and covers part of the scroll bar. Like the previous mockup, clicking outside of the toolbar causes it to collapse. This is my least favorite.
Although the up button and side button are combined in this mockup, there is no reason they would have to be in the final program. I know they are redundant, I combined them here to make my work a bit easier. If the Dolphin developers like this idea they could implement just the expanding toolbar, just the menu, or both.
Next, take a look at the filter bar itself in this picture:
Notice that the “clear” button has moved to the left and “Folder” and “html” have appeared to the right of it, along with a small “x” next to each. This is how the user is told which special filters are currently in place. Any special filter you add will be included here. Clicking on the “x” button allows you to remove individual special filters without going into the special filter sub-menus and randomly resetting them. The "clear" button has moved to the left of the special filters because clicking that button will only clear typed filters, not special filters. They have those x buttons so I thought having the clear button clear the special filters, which are harder to set up, would increase the risk of frustrating errors while not significantly increasing the efficiency of the interface. Also notice that the file browser area is now blue. This is because of color-coding, I will go into more detail on it later.
Next, I will discuss the specific filters:
In this example you can see that someone has clicked the “Type” entry. This allows the user to only see the file types they want. With all of these filters, the filter will be restricted to only those options that are actually present in the folder. So this folder has a subfolder, html documents, and PDF documents. The “text” at the top is a mimetype category. It allows you to show or hide all text files, including PDFs and html files (since they are considered part of the text mimetype category). By default, all file types and mime types are checked. A filter is only applied if you uncheck one. If you uncheck on file of a certain mimetype category, that mimetype category becomes unchecked (as here, where PDF is unchecked but html is checked). If the text mimetype were checked and you clicked it, it would also uncheck all of the file types that are a member of that mimetype category (in this case it would uncheck PDF and html). If the text mimetype were unchecked and you clicked it, it would also check all of its member file types (in this case it would re-check the PDF type while leaving the html type checked).
Here is the one fore file sizes:
It defines a range of file sizes, so it uses the Plasma right and left limit sliders used for setting the width or height of a panel. It goes up to 2 TB here, which is the limit for Ext3 filesystems. The real limit would depend on the largest and smallest files in the folder. Notice that it has evenly spaced 1B, 1KB, 1MB, 1GB, and 1T points. This is because the slider is actually on a logarithmic scale. This is invisible to users, but 1B, 10B, 100B, 1KB, 10KB, 100KB, 1MB, 10MB, 100MB, 1GB, 10GB, 100GB, and 1TB are all evenly spaced along the length of the slider, as opposed to 1B, 11B, 21B, 31B, etc being evenly spaced (at least in decimal mode, more on that later). All the user will see is that as he or she moves the slider from left to right, the amount of increase in file size that moving the slider one pixel will cause gets larger. There is no way that I can tell to cover the whole range of possible file sizes on a linear scale, and once again the user does not have to know that it is using a logarithmic scale or even what a logarithmic scale is, it should be intuitively obvious after a using it for few moments that the scale shifts. The text boxes reflect the exact value for the slider, and are natural language (i.e. 1000, 1000B, 1000 B, 1KB, 1 kilobyte, 1 KB, .001 MB are all the same). The drop down has two option, Binary and decimal. In decimal mode it uses the same units as SI, so 1KB=1000B, 1MB=1000KB, etc. This is the method used by hard drive manufacturers. In binary mode, it uses base-2 numbers, so 1KB=1024B, 1MB=1024KB, etc. This is how many filesystems do it natively. I do not know which is better as a default. This also works with the natural-language function. If use, for example, 1 KiB, 1 kibibyte, 1KB binary, or binary 1KB, it will always use binary mode no matter what the drop down says. If you use, for example, 1 decimal KB, decimal 1KB, or 1 KB decimal, it will use decimal mode no matter what the drop down says. If you use 1KiB binary or 1 KB decimal binary, it will return an error because you are contradicting yourself. The up and down arrows also work with the natural language function, and they change the smallest significant figure that is actually typed out. So if the text box says 1000, pressing the up arrow will change it to 1001. But if you have 1KB, pressing the up arrow will change it to 2KB. If you have 2.00 KB, pressing the up arrow will change it to 2.01 KB.
The next one is the permissions filter:
This one is pretty straightforward, it just checks the different permission bits of each file. The first is for the user access permissions, the next is for the group access permissions, and the final is the permissions for everyone. This uses the same terminology in the file properties dialog box. "Yes" only shows files that have that permission bit on, "No" only shows files that have that permission bit off, and "either" ignore that permission bit when doing filtering. The default (i.e. no filter) is to have them all set to "either".
These next two are the date and time filters. The first is what you get when you first open it (if today were February 4, 2009):
The next assumes a later date, and show how you set a range of dates:
The first thing to notice is the check boxes at the top and the bottom. These allow you to filter everything after a certain date, before a certain date, or between two dates. So as you can see in the first picture, if you have "From" checked but not "To", it will show all files created after the date specified in the "From" box. The "To" box is grayed out and shows "Now" to tell the user it filters everything after the specified date, and the area highlighted in the calendar is green to show that it goes on forever. It is green because "From" is where the search starts. Similarly, if you check the "To" box and uncheck the "From" box (not shown), it filters everything before the specified date, the "From" box is grayed out and shows "Forever", and the area filtered is red since the To box is where the filter stops. If you have box the "From" and "To" check boxes set it filters all files between the specified date. That is inclusive, it includes that date specified on both end. The area highlighted is blue, to signify it is a range. If you uncheck both boxes (not shown) it highlights the entire calendar in gray and says "From Forever" and "To Now". If you start using tags for filtering, which could potentially have dates set in the future, it might bet better to use "From Any Time" and "To Any Time". You can click on one of the text boxes and then click on a date on the calendar to set the date for that check box. If only one check box is set then you don't even need to click the text box, it will automatically be selected.
The text boxes deserve some further explanation. They are nature-language searches, like the file size boxes. So for instance if you have your short date formate set to m/d/y, then Feb 4 2009, Feb--4---2009, 4--Feb--2009, 2009-4-Feb, 2/4/2009, 2, 4+2009, 2009/2/4 2/4/9, day 4 month 2 year 9, and 35/2009 are all the same. There are a few separate issues at work here.
First, in cases where there are ambiguity the date format set in your personal settings is assumed. So for 2/4/9, it knows you have set the first number to the month, the second to the day, and the third to the year, so it uses that. For years it is assumed that you are talking about the current century or millennium when there is ambiguity, up to the present day, and if that doesn't work go with the most recent past century or millennium. So year 9 is treated as 2009, while 11 is treated as 1911 because we have not reached 2011 yet. If you want to specify 11 AD, you need to use 0011. If you want to specify 2011, you need to write it out completely because 011 will be treated as 1011.
The next thing is that any number greater than 365 is assumed to be a date. So if you set 2009/2/4 it first sees that 2009 is a year, and sets the year to that. Next, it compares 2/4 to your short date format and sees month comes before day, so it sets 2 to the month and 4 to the date. This would work even if your short date format is m/y/d since month still comes before day. This is NOT the case with dates larger than 12 being counted as days. The reason is as follows. Lets say that is how it works and you use 18/2/2009 even though your short date format is m/d/y. That would seem clear enough, since there is no month 18. But now lets say someone thinks "oops, it was really the 7th I was looking for" and, without thinking it through, sets it to 7/2/2009. Now suddenly it changes to July 2 2009, since there is a month 7. I think this would lead to too many users errors, errors that are less likely with the year but very likely with the month and day. So if you set an invalid month it will return an error.
Next, that the delimiter is completely ignored, it doesn't matter whether you use a dash, comma, space, slash, &, or any combination therefore. The only things you cannot use is a colon, which is reserved for times (more on that later), and alphanumerics (which would be infeasible for the program to deal with).
Next, when there are only two numbers, both less than or equal to 365, it is treated as the month and day of the present year if it is from today or before, and if it is for a date that has not yet happened in the present year it is treated as that date from the previous year. If there are only two numbers one greater than 365, it is treated as the absolute date of that year, so for instance 35/2009 will be day 35 of the year 2009, or February 4 2009.
Next, you can spell out what you mean explicitly. So for instance you can say "day 4, month 2, year 2009" to force it to use certain numbers for certain values. As another example "day 4 2009" would be the 4th day of 2009, or January 4 2009. AD, BC, CE, and BCE are also acceptable when specifying dates, with or without periods. It also follows the proper rules for your calendar.
As for the time, you can also specify a time before or after the date using colons as delimiters. Similar rules apply, if you set h:m:s, then "10:" is treated as 10 AM, ":5: PM" is treated as 12:05 PM, and so on.
A "hidden" feature is the "Ago" function, which searches for events a certain amount of time in the past. So, for example, if you type "2/4/9 ago" it will set that as 4 days, 2 months, and 9 years in the past. Note that in this mode there is no assumption about the year, so 9 is not interpreted as 2009, 11 is not interpreted as 1911. The year is used literally as it is written.
Like all of the filters, the clickable areas of the calendar will be restricted only to date present in the folder you are looking. You can manually set the date outside this range in the text box, but the calendar will not let you click it.
The final thing is the radio buttons on the bottom. Those tell it whether you are searching for the date the file was created, the date it was modified, or a date present in its metadata tags (once Nepomuk is working properly).
[u][b]VI. File Browser Area[/b][/u]
These ideas that affect the file browser area, the big white area in the center of Dolphin that contains the files and folders you are working with.
[b]23. Color-coded File Browser[/b]
Notice that in this mockup, the file browser area, the area where you can actually see and interact with files, is blue, like the filter bar. It is a lighter shade, but still the same color:
This is because there is currently a filter in place. Whenever you turn on a filter, the file browser gets a blue tinge. I know there is a common issue, one that has happened to me on numerous occasions, where you set a filter and then forget it there. You then cannot find files you know are present until you clear the filter. It is quite annoying. This color-coding is a way to avoid that confusion. You will always know there is a filter because the file browser is no longer white. And you know exactly what has changed because it is the same color as the filter bar itself.
Although there are no mockups of them, this same principle can be applied to other similar situations. The colors listed here are only suggestions, you could use any combination of colors you want. But I felt these colors are different enough that they shouldn't be easily mistaken (at least for people who aren't color-blind). So for instance if you are doing a search, for instance, browsing a saved search, the file browser would turn green. If you are in a read-only folder, it would turn red. If you are in a network or web folder, it would turn gray. And if you are using pinned selections, which I will cover later on, it will turn tan.
If you have multiple of these applying to the same folder, I think there are two options. One is stripes, which I think would look awful. The other is to have the most important color apply to the file browser (I am not sure which are most important), and all the others have their colors applied as concentric borders lining the inner edge of the file browser area.
[b]24. Group Counts[/b]
In the file browser area, you can see a small number next to each group. This number shows the number of items in a group, which I think is a nice touch I ripped off from Vista. This, of course, only applies when you have the file browser set up to show files in groups as I have in this mockup.
[b]25. Collapsible Groups[/b]
On the left side of each group is a small arrow. Clicking this will cause the group to collapse, hiding its contents (although the label will still be there as will the count). To prevent people from getting confused the group should undergo a pretty drastic graphical change to make it obvious it is not just an empty group (which I know is impossible, but it might still confuse some people). Clicking the arrow again makes the group visible. This is particularly useful if you have a large number of files and you want to hide some of them, you can use a filter but that requires you typing something in. This just requires a single mouse click. Vista has this as well but I came up with it on my own.
[b]26. Folder Contents[/b]
This idea is something that Vista has, and I think it is important that Dolphin has it as well because it adds a bit of polish to the program:
When you have thumbnails enabled for a folder, and that folder has subfolders, dolphin will go through the subfolders and grab thumbnails for a handful of files from each subfolder (just a few, there are three shown here). These are then placed inside of the folder as examples of the contents of that folder. If you have no files in the subfolder, you get something like this:
Notice that not only are there no icons shown, there is a big "Zero" on the folder. This is because it may be ambiguous whether the folder is not showing any previews because previews are turned off, or because there are no files to show previews of. The other thing that may not be apparent at first glance is that the icon for this folder is different than the normal one, even excluding the zero. The folder is closed tightly, in contrast to the normal icon that has the folder open somewhat. This is once again to show there is nothing there, but it is not as obvious as the zero. I do not believe Vista has this, but I think it is a nice touch.
[b]27. File Progress[/b]
This idea I readily admit I stole from someone else who posted it KDE-apps.org, I think, but it was such a great idea I felt I needed to include it. These mockups are mine, though:
In this mockup, folders or files in dolphin will show progress bars when there is something happening to them. In this specific case, the folder is being downloaded using KGet. So you see there is a KGet icon on the folder, the amount of data that has been downloaded in the lower left, and the progress percent in the lower right. The green area is a progress bar that will grow vertically as the file is downloaded. This next one is essentially the opposite:
In this case the file is being deleted. The progress bar is red, to show the file is going away rather than coming in, and the progress bar will shrink until it is completely gone as the file is deleted. Normally deleting is quick, although it can take longer for large files and depends on the filesystem a great deal. However, this is just an example. If you are, for instance, moving a file, the source file will show this progress bar as it is moved while the destination file will show the green progress bar. It can also be used, for instance, for erasing a rewritable CD or DVD.
These two examples show two different levels of progress for the "Details" view. The "Columns" view would look similar to this:
Notice that in the first one the text and KGet icon are both to the right of the folder, while in the second one the text is inside the progress bar. The text stays outside the progress bar until the progress bar is far enough past the name of the folder that the text won't overlap. The icon stays outside.
This sort of thing could be used for a large number of different tasks, copying to a somewhere, cutting to a somewhere, cutting from somewhere, downloading, uploading, backing up, restoring, compressing, uncompressing, even ripping from a CD or DVD. If you go into your "media" folder it can show the progress of a CD or DVD being burnt. The places bar can show similar things, burning or ripping disks, backing up to a disk, etc. I would guess that the same principles that allow the notification system in the 4.2 plasma system tray could be used to notify dolphin which files are being worked on and by what program. Something similar could be used for taskbar icons (windows 7 has that already).
[b]28. Text Beside Icon[/b]
Currently dolphin has two ways of orienting the icon view, by rows or by columns. Rows puts text below icons and put
Last edited by TheBlackCat on Mon May 18, 2009 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.
-NASA in 1965
Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:07 am
Looks awesome. But I don't care to have the middle view looking like that. And don't care to have the action part. But I love everything else. ^_^ I especially love the places and the thing with the trash.
KDE Version: 4.6 (Beta 2) | Qt Version: 4.7.1
Aki IRC Developer http://www.akiirc.org/
Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:25 am
Continued from [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-ideas-with-mockups-t-28472.html#pid38182]Post 1[/url] in this thread.
[b]31. Easy File Preview[/b]
The ability to quickly and easily open a preview of any file or folder is a great feature. However, currently it is buried in the “actions
submenu of the right-click menu, hardly a convenient place to access it from. I think it should be very easy to pull this up, either through a mouse button combination, right menu-button entry (not in a submenu), or keyboard hotkey combination. I also think it would be ideal for the active desktop borders I mentioned above. In this mockup the eye in the lower left-hand corner is a previewer, clicking on it pops up a large preview of the file or folder using the plasma previewer widget (identical to "right-click->actions->Preview This File" action that is already in Dolphin).
[b]32. Pinned File Selection[/b]
The button in the upper right-hand corner is more complicated. It is designed to solve a common problem I have. Because the + button is kind of small, and even if I use ctrl, I often miss where I intend to click or accidentally let off the ctrl button for a moment. Either way, what I end up with is deselecting all of my files, or opening a file and deselecting all of my files. This can be very annoying when I am trying to highlight a number of non-adjacent files. What this icon does is what I called "pinning" the file. It is essentially an alternative group of selected items that you don't lose if you click on a blank area or open another file. You can click on the icon for multiple files to pin them all. This way, if you accidentally open a file or click on a white area, you won't lose you selection. Pinning the file will highlight it in an orange box instead of a blue one. If you click on a pinned file, it will open all of pinned files. Dragging and dropping a single pinned file will drag and drop all of them. However, clicking on a blue-highlighted file, that is one that was selected normally, or an unhighlighted file, will [i]not[/i] open any of the pinned files. That way you can set a group of files aside you know you want to work with later, and then work with other files without affecting them. When you do this, the entire dolphin file browser area turns tan to let you know that files have been selected this way.
Another example of a use-case for this is if you are trying to find certain pictures that are too similar to other pictures to differentiate based on just the thumbnail. You click through pictures that might be the ones you want in order to open them Gwenview so you can see them more closely. You find one of them, close Gwenview, then pin it. Then you continue. You can open other possible files just by clicking them, it won't affect the pinned files in any way nor will it open them. As you find more files, you pin them as well. If you make a mistake and pin the wrong file, you just click the pin icon again and it is back to normal. When you are done, you can then do the action on the entire group, like moving them to a different folder. Then you can right-click on the file browser and select (unpin all files). The files go back to normal and the file browser goes back to its normal white color.
[b]33. Linked Split View[/b]
This first mockup looks like a fairly standard split view:
You might notice two seemingly minor differences. The first is that the breadcrumb for the right split is right-aligned instead of left-aligned as it normally is. This is to give room for the important part, the chain link between the two split folders. Clicking that chain will link those two split views, giving something like this (once the left view is zoomed out):
The first thing you will probably notice is that the left side is no longer grayed out. Further, there is only one breadcrumb navigation bar, only one filter bar, and only one set of file information. This is because the two split views are now linked. Moving to a new folder moves both views to that folder. Selecting one or more files selects the same files in both views. Scrolling one view scrolls both, sorting one folder sorts both, etc. Anything you do to one affects both. This way, as an example, you can have the details view showing detailed file information and at the same time have a very zoomed-in icon mode showing large previews.
[b]34. Single-File View[/b]
This is the an entire new view for the file browser. I first alluded to it in the very first section, where I showed a list of views for dolphin and this once was included. This particular view, single-file view, is essentially a large preview of a single file (or the first page of a file if it has multiple pages):
This isn't like Konqueror's embedded file editors, it only shows a non-interactive preview. You can navigate back and forth through the files using the left and right arrow buttons or the scroll wheel.
Although somewhat useful on its own, this gets more interesting, however, if you have a linked split view I mentioned above where one split is a normal file browser and the other is a single-file view:
Here you can see that three files were selected in the details view. In the single file view, the previews of these three files are arranged so you can see them. If you only have a single file selected, only that file is shown in the preview view, allowing you to move through the file list to see large versions of the files. But if you have more than one file selected, they will be scaled and arranged so you can see all of their previews in the same view. These previews are replaced temporarily with an individual preview of a file as you mouse over it. This would be much more efficient than click the preview button on every single one. When combined with the pinned selections above, normally selected files have precedence of pinned files. So there is a hierarchy to which preview it show. It alway shows the preview of the file your mouse is over. If your mouse is not over a file, it will show the previews of all files you have currently in a rubber-band selection box. If there is no rubber-band selection box, it shows the files that are selected normally. If there are no files selected normally, it shows the files that are pinned. If there are no files pinned, it shows nothing.
This idea is, frankly, of limited use without the linked split view. However, the linked split view as we currently see it does not necessarily have to be implemented in that way for this to work. There are two alternatives that I can think of. One, this view automatically brings up a second pane. The specific view for that pane is flexible, you can click the view and then change the pane to whatever other view you want (besides single file mode or picture flow mentioned below). The functionality would not change. If combined with the split view menu button I mentioned earlier, you could use that to change between horizontal and vertical layout (but you could not use it to turn off the split). The other idea is to implement this view as a panel instead of a file browser view. That panel could then be placed anywhere and resized however you wanted. Currently panels cannot be placed above or below the file browser, but this one would need to be able to do that.
[b]35. Pictureflow View[/b]
This idea is an improved (I hope) variant of Apple's coverflow:
For the implementation here the Pictureflow view is only the top pane, with the actual pictures. The lower pane is a normal icon view. They are combined using the "linked split view" I mentioned above. Pictureflow is pretty useless on its own, it is primarily intended to be used in a linked split view. This is not necessary to the idea, it is possible to have the pictureflow view automatically have a second view below it. The problem is, which one? I can imagine situations where each of the three existing views would be useful. So rather than force people to use pictureflow in combination with one of the three views in particular, this allows users to pick which other view they want.
An alternative is that when you select pictureflow view, it automatically creates a linked split view with a particular view below that can be easily changed by clicking on the lower pane and then changing the view. To get away from pictureflow view you click on the pictureflow pane and then changing the view. That would also work well in my opinion. Either way, your position in the pictureflow view is controlled by your scrolling in either that view or the lower pane. So if you scroll the lower pane pictureflow centers itself on where you have scrolled to. If you scroll pictureflow the lower pane scrolls as well to keep itself centered on the file in pictureflow. In this mockup pictureflow has a scroll bar because it cannot show as many files as the lower pane shows. I should point out that the link for the linked split view is left out here, and that horizontal slider does not have the correct position and size. That was merely to save time on my part.
A third option would be to implement this as a panel that you could resize and place wherever you want. It would have to be able to go above or below the file browser, above or below existing panels, or between the file browser and other panels.
The big change is in the next mockup:
Here you see what happens when you select files in either pictureflow view or the lower pane. What happens is pictureflow shifts down and shrinks to create space above. It then positions an image of the selected file at the top above the main pictureflow area. If you select more than one file, they are all placed above. If there are too many to all fit, they form a second pictureflow thing at the top, with only the selected files that are currently visible in the lower pictureflow area laid out flat in the upper area and the rest rotated and placed off to the side. This could just as easily be done by putting the selected files to the left or right.
What happens when a selected file comes into view in the lower view is that a blue box is drawn around the file in both view and they are connected with a line, showing you where the file appears in the overall view. This would likely all be animated in the real thing, with an animation of the file being pulled out of the pictureflow, rotated to face you if it isn't already, and stuck up above. You can see the far right file does not have a blue box. That is because that file is not currently visible in the lower pictureflow view.
There should be more files visible off to the sides in this view because all the thumbnails have shrunk, but if I did that I could not show the how the blue box is present in some cases and not present in others. That is why I didn't include them here. I also did not reproduce the reflections here because it was too much work.
The name for this view is taken from an optimized Qt clone of Apple's coverflow called [url=http://code.google.com/p/pictureflow/]Pictureflow[/url]. I assume that such a view in Dolphin would be based off of this program, but I do not know if it would be able to do the things I described here or not.
[b]36. Drag and Drop Tabs and Split Views[/b]
This idea is an alternative way to get a split view. Instead of creating a split view and the navigating one or both panes to a particular folder, you would have both folders open as tabs. Then you grab one tab and drag and drop it on the other tab. This would combine the two tabs into a split view (probably keeping the original dropped tab open). Similarly, you can drag a split view next to a tab to open it as a new tab.
[b]37. Drop Folder Next to Tab to Open as Tab[/b]
This idea is that when you grab a folder, drag it to the tab bar, and then drop it next to an existing tab, it opens that folder as a new tab. This would work with the file browser or places panel.
[b]38. Dropping Icon on Tab Opens Move Menu[/b]
Presently, when you drag a file or folder icon to any folder, be it in the file browser, places panel, address bar, or folders panel, it always opens up a menu to move, copy, or link the file. The only exception is the tab bar. If you drag a file and hover it there for a while, it will switch to that tab. But if you drag a file to the tab bar and then drop it on a tab, nothing happens. I think it would be extremely useful and much more consistent if dropping a file on a tab had the same result as dropping a file anywhere else.
[b]39. Custom Hidden File Rules[/b]
Currently, dolphin automatically hides files and folders beginning with a dot (.), as is the normal rule with Linux. However, it is quite possible that people might want to hide other files as well. For instance there is an extremely old bug for konqueror asking for the ability to hide backup files (files ending in ~). This idea actually comes from that bug report.
So in the settings there should be an option to set your own rules for which files are considered "hidden". There should probably be four different types of hidden items you can set. One is "begins with", a file that beings with a certain string (the .files will be included here, if someone really wants to change or remove them). The second is "ends with", a file that ends with a certain string. The third is "mimetype", which means you always hide certain mimetypes. And the fourth is "regular expression".
To avoid the need for another menu item or toolbar button, I think these should be handled the same way .files are now. That, is, if you click "show hidden files" they appear, otherwise they are hidden. They would basically be treated as though they were .files. That should avoid any additional complexity or confusion for end users.
[b]40. Per-Mimetype Thumbnails[/b]
This idea is that users should be able to turn thumbnails on and off on a per-mimetype basis. The Folderview plasmoid already has this, but Dolphin does not for some reason. A good example of the usefulness of this is *.desktop files used for shortcuts, which, when preview is on, show the contents of the text file instead of the shortcut it is supposed to be. So instead of seeing, say, an icon of a folder for your shortcut, you see a preview of a text file. This should be in the normal dolphin configuration dialog. It would work with the existing show/hide preview option. If you choose to show previews, it will only show the previews you allow it to show.
[b][u]VII. Not for Dolphin But Related[/u][/b]
These ideas are for programs other than Dolphin, but will have an effect on users' experience with Dolphin.
[b]41. Default Folder Metadata for Nepomuk[/b]
This idea is that, when you first install KDE, certain folders (and files perhaps as well) will automatically have Nepomuk metadata assigned to them (comments certainly, maybe tags as well). Examples include the root folders, which should have comments saying what each of them is used for in Linux systems, and your Documents, Desktop, and .kde4 folders, which similarly should have comments saying what they are for. It should be easy for distributions to add their own initial metadat for folders they add.
Similarly, default pictures the system comes with, for instance wallpapers, should already have informative tags.
This is inspired by a discussion with Primoz (see [url=http://forum.kde.org/dolphin-ideas-with-mockups-t-28472-2.html#pid52274]Post 55[/url]).
[b]42. “File Already Exists” Dialog Box Overhaul[/b]
In the "File Already Exists" dialog in Dolphin, there are currently 6 options, "Rename", "Skip", "Auto Skip", "Overwrite", "Overwrite All", and "Cancel". There is also a button to "Suggest New Name", which will automatically generate a new name by adding a number on to the end.. After clicking this you then have to click the "Rename" button for anything to actually happen. This is a problem in and of itself since "Suggest New Name" and "Rename" buttons are at opposite ends of the fairly large dialog box, requiring moving the mouse a long way to click both. Having the buttons close together would seem logical, since "Suggest New Name" requires that you click on "Rename" for it to do anything.
But even without this issue, there is no way to automatically generate new names for all the files you are moving. So if you are moving, say, 100 files from one folder to another folder with the same file names, you have to click 200 buttons, moving back and forth across as much as half the width of your screen for each button click. This is a serious problem with, for instance, a program that generates files with the same names automatically in a new folder every time it is run. If you want to consolidate the files there is no way to easily just drag them over and then have it automatically add an incremental number to the end of every conflicting filename. It makes moving large numbers of files around extremely difficult. There is already an option to automatically skip all conflicting files, and an option to automatically overwrite all conflicting files, but no way to avoid the conflict entirely by renaming them all automatically. It shouldn't be an issue with the rename leading to conflicts, if there is already a file with, say, _1 added to the end the "Suggest New Name" button will just add _2 to the end of the conflicting file. So the rename system must be set up to automatically check if it is causing a new conflict.
I know this is getting to be a lot of options for one dialog, but at least for me this is a very common problem and it makes it extremely tedious to do any sort of large movement of files between folders. Perhaps a general improvement of the dialog box would be in order. For instance an "apply to all" check box would allow you to have just "Suggest" "Rename" "Skip" and "Overwrite" buttons. If you want it to apply any of these options to all files, you check the box.
I also cannot think of a use case where someone would want to click "Suggest New Name" more than once, nor is it possible to click the "Rename" button without the name first being changed in same way, so perhaps combining the "Suggest New Name" and "Rename" buttons would work. You start out with a "Suggest New Name" button. If someone presses that button, it adds the counter to the name in the dialog box and turns into a "Rename" button, which can then be clicked to apply the change. If someone types their own name in the text box it also changes to "Rename", allowing you to apply that change. If someone deletes the changes they made to the filename (or hits Ctrl-z to undo) it goes back to "Suggest New Name". If someone checks the "Apply to All" check box it also changes to "Rename" (since "apply to all" implies that a new name will be automatically generated). Clicking "Apply to All" should also gray out the filename edit text box, to prevent people from editing that name and then being surprised by it not doing anything.
Having the buttons change when the "Apply to all" check box is clicked may also be worthwhile, although I do not know if this violates standards or rules of interface design. If it is an acceptable way to do things, check the box will change the text in the "Overwrite" button to "Overwrite All", the text in the "Skip" button to "Skip All", and the text in the "Suggest New Name/Rename" button to "Auto Rename All".
With this setup you would have four buttons, "Cancel", "Skip", "Overwrite", and "Suggest New Name/Rename", plus one check box "Apply to all". This is considerably less complicated than the existing 7 buttons without a major increase in complexity or any increase in difficulty for the user. As for locations, I would put the "Suggest New Name/Rename" button where the "Suggest New Name" button currently is, and the rest at the bottom.
Further, currently it is not very clear which file is being moved and which one is already there. It would be good, as someone suggested to me, if there was a clear way to know which file is the one being moved. I think the best way would be an arrow pointing from the file being moved to the existing file. This would probably be localization-dependent, moving from left to right in left-to-right languages and moving from right to left in right-to-left languages.
This is what you would see when the "file already exists" dialog box first opens:
Clicking the "skip" button would skip this file. Clicking the "overwrite" button would overwrite the existing file. Clicking "Suggest New Name" and the "Apply to All" check box have more significant effects and will appear in the second and third mockups (respectively). If there is only one file being copied then the "Apply to All" checkbox and "Skip" button should be either grayed out or absent entirely, since neither has any meaning when only working with one file.
This is how the dialog box would look after either typing in a new name:
Either way, since suggesting a new name is no longer relevant that button has become a "Rename" button. Putting the name back as it was originally would make the button revert to "Suggest New Name".
This is what would happen if you checked the "Apply to All" checkbox:
First, the "Overwrite" button changes to "Overwrite All", to make it clear that this task will apply to all subsequent files. Similarly "Skip" is replaced with "Skip All". The file name dialog box is grayed out since changing the file name manually is no longer a reasonable thing to do (since it would only apply to the current file). The "Suggest New Name" button then becomes "Rename All". Since suggesting a new name is required for a batch renaming, having the "Suggest New Name" button would be redundant. Another thing to notice is that none of the shortcuts have changed.
This is cross-posted from [url=https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=177121]Bug 177121[/url].
And those are the ideas. I hope that the Dolphin developers find at least a few of them useful and implement them. I know many of them might be very hard to do, and some may be too complicated to suit Dolphin's role in KDE, but I personally think they would all be very useful and go a long way to making an already great file browser even better.
I apologize if I didn't give appropriate credit to anyone who gave me a suggestion. Please let me know if I missed anyone.
Last edited by TheBlackCat on Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.
-NASA in 1965
Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:00 am
I would like a Action Panel, I commonly access functions and usually have to use a combination of Mouse + Keyboard actions. this would allow me to use only the mouse.
I am not too keen on the Places categories however. Maybe a slim divider, but not a tree based collapsing system.
Also, the User does not need to know information such as two Encrypted disks are on the same physical medium. This confuses them, and does not offer additional usability even for experts. The extra information shown on Mouse hover is a good idea, although the actions should be left to the right click menu.
Also the bottom taskbar is way too busy and is overwhelming. It is reminiscant of KDE 3 design. I would move advanced filtering off to a seperate dialog, where even more advanced options can be provided in a simplistic manner because more space is available. I am not keen on the "Filter" button either. This is confusing functionality. If the bar is shown then what it controls is done. The find button is a nice idea, but it should be on the main taskbar, which would permit a11y.
The ability to collapse groups of files however in the main file pane is fine however ( it lets the user do their work )
Last edited by bcooksley on Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:17 am
When you open Dolphin, it displays 'Places' and shows you your partition (and home directory) as well as your other partitions and 'drives' (including NTFS, EXT3, USB connections etc.). Basically, your file systems. Is there any way, that there could be a setting for displaying the device nodes? Something similar to 'fdisk -l?' I would like the option of using a GUI file manager that also shows me what my partitions and drives were assigned.
Kwikdisk can do something like this so I gather it is just a question of whether Dolphin developers would want that function?
I suppose few people would care about that feature but I would like it. I think it would set it apart from Konqueror, too.
Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:21 am
I do not know if the underlying Solid architecture supports this type of functionality. If it does not, then you would need to get it added to Solid before the Dolphin developers would even think about considering this feature request.
Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:23 pm
One point: you can't collapse the trees, there is no reason to. The root device does not actually do anything if you click on it since it is not actually a filesystem. It is also only present if there is more than one partition on the same device, if there is only one then only that partition is shown and handles mounting and unmounting of the entire device.
I think it is important to temporarily hide places you are not using (the "hide" right-click functionality would be far too tedious with a lot of places). Not all screens are huge, and you could get a lot of places pretty quickly if we start using saved searches and such. The whole point is to be able to streamline your workflow by moving things out of the way that you are not using right now. It should be optional whether it is the default or not, changed in config or just with a right-click on a blank area, but I personally think that lumping everything together in no apparent order like it is right now makes it harder to find what I am looking for and just seems less polished then when things are categorized. That may just be my personal preference, but I think having it as an option is important.
First, it does offer additional functionality. It allows you to unmount an entire device with two clicks, instead of having to individually unmount each sub-partition (which would be two clicks per partition). If your goal to outright unplug the device, unmounting just one thing is a lot quicker than unmounting many.
Second, it also provides safety for less experienced users. They click on an icon and click "Safely Remove", then they unplug the device. What they didn't realize is that it is NOT actually safe to remove the device because other partitions are still mounted. So their data gets corrupted. Currently, despite what the name implies the "Safely Remove" does not guarantee it is actually safe to remove something.
And currently there seems to be little rhyme or reason to where icons go, two partitions on the same device are not necessarily adjacent to each other, so it can be hard to tell which partitions have to be unmounted before you can safely remove the entire thing. This way makes it perfectly clear when the whole thing is safe to remove. Further, there would not be a "safely remove" button on the sub-volumes, only "unmount" and "safely remove entire device". That way you know when it is safe to remove something and if it isn't you know exactly what you have to do to make it safe.
Why? By that logic we shouldn't have the actions panel either, since those can just be stuck in a right-click menu. This way seems to offer an obvious indication there is something to do, an easier way to do it, has absolutely no cost to users, and makes small and unobtrusive use of currently wasted space that allows quick access to very common tasks. I am not suggesting we get rid of the right-click menu, this is just an alternative way of accessing it.
The whole point of this mockup is to avoid is this "stick everything in a dialog or menu" that dolphin currently seems to be doing. I feel it makes things hard to find and harder to use. I agree, however, that this design is too busy, I have an idea for an alternative that is not as busy. But forcing people to open a dialog just to do simple tasks really seems to break up the workflow, requires much larger mouse movements (since dialog boxes appear in the center of the screen as oppose to right where you click), plus require things like clicking on okay button.
I am trying to get these sorts of things smoothly integrated into dolphin, dialogs pop up in a separate window in some distant place and just don't feel like part of the program. This may just be my personal bias, but I feel dialogs are for tasks that you don't do very often, like change the configuration. Things that you do often should be integrated into the program itself. Hiding certain file types, for instance, seems like something common enough that it should be integrated directly into dolphin and not hidden in a dialog box. I do like the idea of having a dialog box for more advanced filtering, though. But I don't think it should be at the exclusion of having more basic specialized filters at your fingertips.
It allows you to switch between "filter" and "search". There is currently no integrated way to search in dolphin. You wouldn't push the filter button normally, when you open the filter bar for the first time it will already be depressed. If you click the "Search" button, the filter bar switches to a search bar (and the color changes to green to make it obvious a change has happened) and then you can type in what was the filter bar to do a search. To go back to filter mode you click the now undepressed filter button and it switches back. This way you don't need two separate text boxes at opposite ends of the window to do very similar tasks (from a user standpoint, I think the implementation is very different).
I will make some changes to the mockup of that part to make it more obvious and less cluttered, but it may take a few days.
If you are talking about the magnifying glass button I have that already. The problem is that when I click the button I then have to move my mouse across the entire screen to actually use the filter. I was trying to minimize mouse movement by putting sequences of tasks close to each other.
What about the toolbar menu buttons? That is what originally prompted me to make this mockup in the first place.
Last edited by TheBlackCat on Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.
-NASA in 1965
Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:07 am
I will await your new mockup, however the actions panel should show actions for that folder or what is selected inside that folder, not for items that are part of the interface ( such as the places panel ) The click out actions for the places bar is good, as long as right click is still available.
Also searching should not re-use something which is already for something else ( creates confusion ). When Joe average users searches, they may also know that it is a MP3 file for instance, and part of the name. They may not know how to enter this in, but if a full search interface was provided, then they wouldn't have this issue.
Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:09 pm
Looks pretty spiffy. Have you thought about approaching some KDE-devels with your ideas?
Freedom is not a destination, it's a journey
Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:23 pm
I think dolphin is developed on kfm-devel
Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:04 pm
I will submit it elsewhere once I finish all the mockups and get suggestions. I've already gotten some good feedback, and that is what I was counting on. That is why I am doing this in a piecemeal manner. It is easier to get suggestions and change something before I do the detailed mockup rather than after.
Remember, please post any additional ideas you have for Dolphin. Even if the idea seems silly, obvious, infeasible and/or too "out-there" please still post it. Ideas are the raw materials here, the more raw materials I have to work with the better the end result will likely be.
Last edited by TheBlackCat on Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-NASA in 1965
Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:50 pm
Ability to create, manage and fast switch View Profiles in Dolphin, profile keeps different sets of panels and their location.
For example, Basic Filemanager, Advanced Filemanager - with two panels, without preview panel, with more additional information under file icons, different sort order and etc , Picture manager - Tree view instead of Places, file preview in main view by default, Preview sidepanel with maximum information about selected file + tags and rating ...
kubuntu 10.04 AMD64 - KDE 4.4
AMD - radeonHD - M-Audio revolution 5.1
Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:48 pm
Very good idea. I'll add it somehow.
-NASA in 1965
Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:02 am
The file manager "FreeCommander" for Windows has some interesting features.
For example, tabs can be 'locked'. There are three options:
"lock - navigation enabled"
"lock - navigation to subfolders"
"lock - no navigation"
If you try to navigate from a locked folder then a new tab gets opened instead of navigating in the current tab.
FreeCommander also allows me to re-order tabs by drag-n-drop.
Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:33 am
What is lock - navigation enabled. Is that unlocked?
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