Tabs and Styles Inventory

There are many learning/ personality styles inventories out there, but what seems still missing are profiles for personal information management styles.

After filling out this nice little survey (via Tammy and Jack), I know now that my profile includes more visual and aural traits than verbal ones. But how can this be applied to my everyday personal desktop environment? I think the required choices are not yet reasonably profiled.

Consider for instance the question if tabbed browsing should be default/opt-out or opt-in (which is currently relevant since Internet Explorer 7 will probably have it as default).

  • I belong to the camp that doesn’t like it. I want direct control, via my (Windows) task bar handles, over the individual content pages represented by the individual browser windows on a one-to-one basis, and I don’t want to have to think first about which application is concerned and then use their nested button system (since thinking in applications should be replaceable by semantic thinking, see the discussion quoted in my last post #83).

But I suspect that this preference is somehow correlated with similar ones:

  • Likewise, I don’t like the “Group similar taskbar buttons” default, since I don’t want another layer of hierarchy here.
    One might argue that these advanced features for the so-called “power users”, like tabbed browsing or grouping of task buttons, should never be default because they confuse some users, and the power users find out how to switch them on, anyway. But, understandably, fancy new features are always placed into focus to make them seen. If you happen to read German you may look at the more detailed advice for our end-users from 2002).
  • Also, I rarely tolerate maximized windows that claim the role of my desktop, exposing a sovereignty posture (Cooper, About Face, p. 483) and thus competing for the desktop’s role as a cental place of context (again see the discussion quoted in my last post) where all my current drafts, reminders, and shortcuts are lying.

    If you are wondering why I am so keen on my narrow little desktop margin around my browser windows: at least this is because I don’t know how to otherwise drag url’s from the address bar to the desktop, and I don’t want to always use the deep favorites’ hierarchy for every reminder shortcut (although I’m not a hierarchy hater). Furthermore, I bemoan each millimeter of wasted real-estate on the top of my 1024×768 screen, and for reading window panes, everybody agrees that they should optimally be as narrow as a newspaper column.
    For a similar (albeit reversed)struggle about sovereignty posture, see this picture concerning elearning desktops.

All these preferences seem to simultaneously result from a certain low tolerance level about how much context may be hidden and how much of it may be put downwards in the click hierarchy. And I would love to personalize an application just by selecting some option like “I am a type 4711 user, please adjust my default settings accordingly”.

Is this a too distant vision for a modern PIM tool?

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