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Re: Kill The Sort-By Button


On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 10:16 PM, Gregory Merchan
<gregory.merchan@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM, Ian Santopietro <isantop@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > What about moving the sort functionality to a menu? Then, it can be easily
> > accessed through HUD, preserving easy access fit who use the functionality
> > who use it, while decluttering the UI and keeping a simple appearance for
> > beginners.
> If the buttons being discussed are indeed the column headers, that's
> some nasty menu navigation to work with. The column headers allow both
> selection of a sort column and a direction. The way Nautilus does it,
> that's: open the menu with "Arrange Items >", open the sub-menu,
> select the sort criterion, re-open the menu, re-open the sub-menu,
> toggle the order. With column headers, it's two clicks.

I agree with the original poster that the column sort buttons are not easily
discoverable. I think that's the key reason why they would confuse
someone who clicks them by accident. That they _can_ be clicked by
accident strikes me as a non-issue. Anything can be clicked by

Might be worth thinking about ways to improve on them, making them
clearer and perhaps more useful in the process. I remember there was
some discussion about the arrows a while back, with one point being
that they are not always good at expressing what they do: it isn't
really self-evident which direction means ascending and which means
descending, and what that means in the first place. For example, when
you sort the Modified column in Nautilus, it actually sorts by a
different value that you don't see, and it doesn't really tell you
that it's going to do that.

I think Google Sheets does something very nice here. You get an arrow
button on each column header, and when you click it you get a menu
with search, filter and sorting options for the column. It doesn't do
very well at communicating what the current state is after you've
selected something, but as far as making a choice is concerned it's
excellent because you can tell exactly what it is you want. (And,
since it doesn't rely on a weird three-state button thing, they can
pack in all kinds of useful features).

As for making things simple, we generally do not have sortable tree
views by default. Nautilus defaults to an icon view, and you can
switch to a list view if you find it useful for the task at hand. I
think Rhythmbox is a rare exception, and I think in that case we're
better off designing a nicer way to list music. (Preferably one that
looks somewhat appealing). Tearing out a feature won't get us any
closer to that, especially when, for that tree view, vertical space is
not a concern.


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