For user interfaces navigation, D. Berry distinguishes two paradigms: “go to” and “bring to me”. Which of these is the background for IE7 abolishing the old flyout favorites menu from the default settings, in favor of the favorites side bar? Apparently the side bar is supposed to be more “bring to me”, but when actually working with IE7, it is really just the annoying opposite.
Menus are now disreputable because they often contain a deep hierarchy of alien items that need to be explored by “go to” navigation. Integrated side bars (and ribbons, see my #119) , OTOH, seem to fulfill the promise of “bring to me” by forcing foreign elements into the narrow context of the current window (while eating up its real-estate).
But what does “bring to me” mean for favorites, i. e. internet shortcuts, whose very nature suggests “going to”, to some world-wide place? Obviously, diverging interpretations are possible.
- A few direct links to a final destination web page, like the weather page of a newspaper site, may allow the impression of “bring to me” when it is displayed within the current frame.
- Many favorites, however, are shortcuts that lead to intermediate stopovers on one’s path to the target information: a home page of a partner organisation where varying section pages are visited, or even start ramps like a search engine or dictionary page.
In the latter case, the shortcut serves as a tool, and “bring to me” means: I need this tool within my reach to blindly grab it (without thinking).
In IE6 (and Firefox :-), a dropdown favorites menu used to bring this “tool” right down to me. If it was contained in a folder, I only had to point to it, not to click, which seems to be a neglectable time saving but the resulting impression was immediacy.
Whereas clicking into the side bar of IE7, I need to watch for the system acknowledging my click, and I feel externally paced. And while navigating within the side bar, for folders of shortcuts to start ramps for world-wide resources, there is really no immediacy left, but “going to” this collection of means and tools is so much separate from my goal that I often forget what caused me to enter the side bar.