User experience architecture

June 9, 2014

File navigation within applications

Filed under: Uncategorized — uxarchitecture @ 8:55 am

Many software tools offer a local interface to the file system. For example, my IDE, Latex environment, and photo editor all provide interfaces to list and create a subset of documents that are held in the file system. While they offer similar facilities, they do so through quite different user interfaces with some learning cost and a risk of mode errors. On the other hand, these interfaces offer may useful specialised services such as filtering, refactoring and a fast path to the depths of a folder hierarchy.

What does this mean for the design of desktop where documents (‘resources’) are seen as the things to be organised? Should a cluster of closely related files be seen as the thing to filed and be retrieved?  This might be convenient for a software project with many mutually-dependent source code files. The same may be true for a writing exercise where a complex paper has been divided into multiple Latex files for simplicity. On the other hand, this approach may deemphasise reuse of granular resources such as a an algorithm or a chapter.

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