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Re: Category-based app browsing, was Re: Some impressions about the current status of Unity


On Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 22:07, Thorsten Wilms <t_w_@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 02/25/2012 07:58 PM, Ian Santopietro wrote:
>> Directory based navigation is a bad concept for modern computing. Not
>> even Windows is holding on to that in Windows 8. Users don't care about
>> folders or files. They only want to interact with data.
> Segmenting data into chunks helps tremendously in dealing with it. A
> relation between a number of items, like their membership in a certain set,
> is data, too.
> Search-based access breaks down, if you have only a vague concept of what
> you are looking for and of what is actually available. It is not a good
> strategy for building an overview, to access the big picture.

Yes , that's the point .  With a classic apps menu it's super-easy to
see the big picture : see what applications are available .

> Browsing and searching are 2 approaches that both have their values and
> drawbacks. Often best to have both.

It's certainly possible to have an implementation that fulfills both usages .

> Large numbers of items need to be organized to become browseable. Be that
> directories, categories or sets, trees, graphs ...
> The scenario Adrian touches upon can be summed up as "I want to play – what
> games are available on the spot?". Understanding 'Games' as category is
> easy, if that label appears on screen.
> Another scenario that suggests a need for straightforward category-based
> browsing:
> "I vaguely recall that I installed some image-manipulation utility, but do
> not recall the name – lets look among apps in 'Graphics'"

One more scenario :    "I vaguely remember that 5 months ago i've
installed 25 audio apps in order to test them .  Then I've chosen 4
for everyday use.  Let's do some cleanup" .

With a classic apps menu the user sees the unused apps every time when
he starts an audio app.  He is aware that there are some unused
programs that waste space  .

With a search approach , the user will soon forget about uninstalling
the unused apps  .

> Categories can help with step by step narrowing down choices, changing
> something like a 1 out of 50 selection into a 1 out of 5 followed by 1 out
> of 10 selection.
>> The number of clicks in this case is completely irrelevant. If the user
>> is in a hurry, they will know what they want and use search or a
>> launcher shortcut. If they want to browse through the applications
>> installed, then the number of clicks doesn't matter. They aren't in a
>> hurry to get work done, and individual clicks aren't hard or time
>> consuming in this scenario.
> It always matters if the interface feels efficient and supportive, or
> needlessly complicated.

Exactly .

> Each added step reduces the likelihood that a user becomes aware and sure of
> the functionality and completes the task. Setting a "Filter" does not fit
> well into a browsing approach.
> If a user is looking for an application that is not on the Launcher and not
> among the most recent used of the first Dash page, the probability that they
> don't know or have forgotten details like the exact name increases.


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