With the latest Gnome releases, a lot of work has been done on Nautilus UI and more improvements are coming in the future. Below you can see how the current implementation looks like:
I believe that file managers have lost their importance in the last few years: modern interfaces and integrated search tools (such as Unity on Ubuntu and Finder on Mac) organize contents in a simple and intuitive way, avoiding in the majority of cases file manager usage. However, this couldn’t be an excuse for a poor designed file manager and that’s why gnome guys are paying attention to the outdated Nautilus interface. Current nautilus design direction doesn’t satisfy me. That’s why I decided to extend the original gnome team mockups and create my own concepts. This is the first of some posts where I’m going to present my works.
I would love to see Nautilus with these features implemented
Modern & Clean interfaceThe design of the main toolbar is minimal and contains only global elements: as you can see above, the “navigation bar” is placed under the contents section. The reason is simple: current position gives local information (it refers to the current directory). Moreover, in a multi tab environment navigation should be local for each tab.
A contextual menu has been introduced to avoid right clicks. The benefit of this menu is questionable and in a future post, I will present a new way to interact with files and folders.
Online integrationNothing about online integration has been said on the Nautilus roadmap. A modern file manager should be integrated with online services giving the ability to share files on the Web. Cloud support still needs improvements: Ubuntu One is the only Cloud Service which is well integrated on a Linux machine.
Search & tags
In the near future semantic file browsing could even replace the old file system hierarchy structure: in such a scenario, users may forget about directory organization. I think that tagging system, at least at the beginning, shouldn’t replace but integrate the hierarchical file system structure. A lot of users (and I’m one of them) are new to tags and feel comfortable with hierarchical directory design.
Unfortunately tags and semantic file browsing have never been successful on the linux desktop. The problem is not in the idea of tag (content related organization instead of hierarchy organization) but in the implementation: tagging system experiments under the linux desktop all sucks. In order to be used, tagging should be immediate, easy to discover and well integrated in your gnome desktop. Makes tag visible in the nautilus left panel together with drag & drop support (tag a file by moving it over the right label) could really bring semantic file browsing over the Nautilus filemanager and more general over the entire gnome desktop.
Inline search should be integrated with a powerful and unobtrusive advanced search like the one shown in the picture below (first one).
When a new search is started the left panel shows advanced search criteria in a clear and smart way.
That’s all. I hope you enjoyed the post and will be there again for the second part of my nautilus redesign.