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Re: Installer UI advices

From: Adrian Robert
Subject: Re: Installer UI advices
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2005 12:03:55 -0500

If this would be an imporvement over archives is open to discussion (and I must agree with you that I don't think that, again given appropriate support, DMG's hold any advantage over archives), but the concept itself is doable.

The key here is "given appropriate support" -- not just in practical usability (number of mouse clicks, disposal convenience, etc.), but in connecting with a *metaphor* the user understands. Disk images rely on the "disk" metaphor, which users know already from other computer experience, though there are some inconsistencies as pointed out, since there is no physical analog to the image. Archives whose desktop icons look like packages, and act like packages, can rely on the "package" metaphor, which all users are familiar with from the real world (you get a package, you open it, you find your new item inside, sometimes there is assembly required ;-). On the other hand "archives" in the abstract, such as a zip file, don't have any metaphor to rely on. Naive users I've talked with always have a hard time "getting" archives.

Thus, the incidentals of the desktop handling of archives, such as what icons are used, behavior on opening, etc., should be paid attention to. E.g., it is intuitive to open a "package" and get some special interface specific to packages, but it is not intuitive to open one and get a plain disk folder. At least, not as intuitive as opening a disk and getting a disk folder. Maybe representing an archive as a manila envelope or something like that would salvage the situation for archives. StuffIt used a "clamped" (i.e., compressed) folder..

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