Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and drop file saving

Forum thread started by Qjimbo on Thu, 2009-10-29 00:14

It's one of the things that has bugged me about Windows since I started using it, the Open and Save dialog boxes. They're just unneeded. How do I know this? Both the ROX Desktop shell and Risc OS do without them.

Instead, when the user saves a file, they are shown a dialog box which allows them to type a file name. They then drag the file to an open folder window. An image of this is here: http://rox.sourceforge.net/screens/saving.png

This saves confusion and time. For one, if you are working on a project, it is very likely you have a folder window open showing the contents of it anyway. By dragging the file icon into this window, it is simply more human, you have a clearer memory of where it went and the shell doesn't have to try and guess where you want to save the file based on the last save.

When going to save the file a second time, you simply hit the OK button as the program remembered the previous path.

There's some discussion on this here: http://roscidus.com/desktop/node/318 and here: http://www.osnews.com/comments/15403

Haiku seems to be going beyond BeOS, a true fusion of *nix and human usability from the ground up, I think this feature could help it achieve this goal.

Comments

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

This is a perfect example, of how 2 people can see something in 2 extremely different ways
And how the basics should always be default and used

I looked at the picture you linked to, and the have used that before, and with no offense to the poster. I've never seen anything so confusing in my life

Having a window to the file system or drive open, waiting for a file to be dropped is incredibly backwards and wasteful

When I save or download a file, A save file window opening, set default to my documents or the desktop, with a drop down navigation menu is the most simplistic thing a human could ever do
The only thing that could ever be looked at as bad about it, is when people dont know their own file system, and even then, if the window defaults to my documents or the desktop, "maybe the user directory in Haiku", then all they have to do is click on "yes" And thats it, its all over.

While drag and drop makes life easier, in the situation your using, its ten times harder

This post should be a prime example, of how everyone see's things in their own way, and own point of view. And is exactly why Haiku should be released as unchanged as it can be

I'm not saying your wrong and I'm right
I'm saying we both see 2 things, in 2 totally different ways
The way you suggest they do it, would make me throw my computer out the window after a day
And you might feel the same way about mine

So the point I'm trying to make, is Haiku should strive for simple and basic, nothing changed, nothing out of the norm
Then let someone else make custom versions of the tracker, that every can customize any way they want to

That way Haiku would not have to support it or deal with it, but it would still be very simple for every person to get what they want

I myself would like the entire hard drive to cascade of the start / leaf menu
If the root is not cluttered, then it makes a perfect and good looking easy access menu to all the main drive directories

IE, you drop the menu, and see something like this
.
.
Applications
Documents
Media
System

If you want to run an application, you just choose it
If you want a document, you highlight it, and it opens to show you all your documents
If you want some music or movies, they should all be under media, etc etc etc

I had my old BeOS system set up this way, and it was the fastest easiest way to do everything you could ever want to do

One day I will have to take a screen shot, and start a thread on it
Everyone who has ever used my computer has asked me to set theirs up the same way

As long as the root is empty, and the folders are clean, its makes everything better

But again, that is my own point of view, and that does not make it worth putting it into code

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

I agree with tsteve, but I think in this situation there could be an easy compromise.
Why not have the ability to drag and drop the save icon? If you click the save icon it would bring up the usual dialog and if you drag and drop it onto a folder it will pop up confirming the action and filename.

This kind of behavior also opens up the window for more contextualized based actions such as dragging a print icon onto a printer map to print to different printers around an office.

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

DanielDevine:
I like the idea, but I wonder how it could be used consistently. Only a few of the icons are used for actions where it makes sense to drag & drop. To make it feasible, the draggable actions would need to be the standard system dialogs (like save/print), or they would need to be reimplemented or every button in every application.

How about a draggable icon in the standard save/print dialogs instead?

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

geon wrote:

How about a draggable icon in the standard save/print dialogs instead?

Bingo. Add an icon for drag&drop to the "Save As..." dialog like in the Find... panel. RMB-drag&drop offers a format menu on drop. Maybe add an expander to the file list, so it can be collapsed for people using drag&drop exclusively to save screen estate.

Drag&drop of tool bar icons also sounds nice. If the document is yet unnamed, the "Save As..." dialog opens on icon-drop with that location to supply a file name. Otherwise, it behaves like "Save", using the current file name, but saving into the drag&dropped location.

IMO a nice little improvement, that besides a little icon in the Save dialog, is totally unobtrusive and can be simply ignored by the steady-BeOS-staters.

Regards,
Humdinger

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

Why not have the ability to drag and drop the save icon? If you click the save icon it would bring up the usual dialog and if you drag and drop it onto a folder it will pop up confirming the action and filename.

This would be great, but I would make it more similar to RISC OS: It's not the save icon that should be draggable (not all apps have that icon in the first place), but rather an icon in the save panel. Once the icon has been dragged to its destination, the operation is done and the panel gone. It could have a collapse button so that users who use D'n'D saving can have the window look almost as minimal as the one in ROX/RISC OS.

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

Drag-save requires the target being visible to the user. It worked fine during the days of RISC OS as the target was typically a floppy disk which was always accessible via the panel. Today, we have huge disks with way too many nested folders below desktop. So, when I feel like typing something, I fire up Styled Edit and key in some sentences. I may like to work full-screen to hide all distractions. When I'm done, I hit save and get the (modal) dialog with icon and filename. Oh, I forgot unminimise the app and open my ~/stuff/papers/more/stuff/ beforehand... Using 'normal' save facilities i.e. a filing dialog, I don't need to care whether the target was visible before Cmd+S.

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

As I said, "IMO a nice little improvement, that besides a little icon in the Save dialog, is totally unobtrusive and can be simply ignored[...]".
What could possibly be lost from the current BeOS/Haiku experience by including another way of saving? It still works as well exactly like before, but now there's a shortcut if your target is already visible. Plus, there's always the drill-down menu to dig deeper into the file hierarchy.

Also, think of the "Sorting Chute" which could sort drag&dropped objects according to some rule. What about dragging directly into an open email?
Here's something to be won, not lost.

Regards,
Humdinger

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

Should a new enhancement ticket be opened for this idea?

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

The whole open/save dialog is IMO a very good candidate to deeply rethink and discuss on the CDT mailing list. Besides an icon for drag-saving, there should be a tighter integration with queries and editing attributes. It's a central point in the system; coming up with features and a design that's elegant and powerful and gets approved by (nearly) everyone will be a major endeavour. I'm currently not feeling up to it... :)

Regards,
Humdinger

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

Tracker already has a draggable icon in the menubar that represents the opened folder. i think using the same with other applications would be just fine, it doesn't get into your way if you don't want to use it, it's flashy (i would never think about trying to drag the save button, but instantly figured out what does that icon do in the corner), and it would keep Haiku's GUI consistent with tracker.

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

How about duplicate saving? I frequently have two copies of the same file, either one on a memory stick to take somewhere else, or in a different directory/on a separate drive, in case the original goes bust. It really annoys me to have to copy a file after each time I save it. I think that it would be good if a file could be saved to multiple places at once, or Tracker could automatically back-up certain files after a time interval. I imagine that the latter could be integrated into the idea of hard linking.

Re: Very overlooked yet powerful usability feature: Drag and ...

stellarpower wrote:

I imagine that the latter could be integrated into the idea of hard linking.

How exactly would you connect backup with hard linking? It only helps you if you accidentally delete a file.

Anyway, a backup tool would be great for Tracker.