What’s with this anti-directory structure movement?

Posted by Thomas Sat, 28 Jul 2012 00:08:47 +0000

What’s with this anti-directory structure movement?

His fundamentally flawed premise is that people can remember where they put things. They can’t.

People do fundamentally understand the concept of folders, but they:

  1. don’t know which folder something is in, and
  2. (assuming they can remember which folder it’s in) have a hard time navigating to that folder (how do I get to the “My Photos” directory from whichever directory I’m currently in)

For him, he can easily create, manipulate, and navigate a tailor-made structure of folders. Most users cannot, and I’d argue the average user just puts stuff on their Desktop (which I’d guess isn’t too far off from what Apple is offering).

He brings up a good point, though, which is that just as most people don’t like naming directories, they don’t like naming files either.

But I don’t buy his premise that people can’t be bothered to remember “parts of its content”. If you can’t remember some part of what you’re looking for, how can you ever hope to find it? Do you open every file in the directory until you find the one you’re looking for?

If so, then this is a fundamental problem going forward. If people aren’t inclined to search in general (or can’t remember to) and can’t remember distinguishing features to look for, then I have no idea how they will ever find anything.

What do people remember about what they’re looking for in this case if they can’t remember part of its content? Colors? Fonts? Dates?

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