Ubuntu

"Archive Manager" doesn't mean anything if you don't know what an "archive" is

Reported by Stuart Langridge on 2005-04-13
90
This bug affects 11 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Archive Behavior Research
Undecided
Unassigned
Ayatana Design
Undecided
Unassigned
File Roller
New
Wishlist
One Hundred Papercuts
Wishlist
Nick Tait
file-roller (Ubuntu)
Wishlist
Unassigned

Bug Description

A new user thinks "I need to create a zip file", and doesn't know how to do it.
If you don't know that a zip file is an "archive", which many new users do not,
then it's very difficult to tell how to create one. "Create archive" on the
Nautilus context menu, "Archive Manager" in the Applications menu, etc, are all
meaningless. (This happened to me today when someone I know rang me for
technical support to ask how to create a zip file, and when I explained how, he
said "what's an archive?")

Suggested fixes (to be taken with a very large pinch of salt and replaced with
better suggestions):
Change "Create archive" to "Create compressed file" on the context menu
Change "Archive Manager" to "Compressed Files" on the Applications menu (with
tooltip "Create and edit compressed files")

http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=300655: http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=300655

Then won't you get questions like: "What's a compressed file"? Perhaps some other wording may help such as: "Create a safe copy of a file".

Proposed solution:
* In context menu rename "Create Archive" to "Compress..."
* The subsequent dialog box should be re-titled to read: "Create compressed file"
* The input box on the dialog box should be re-labelled from 'Archive' to 'Filename'
* Change "Archive Manager" to "Compressed Files" on the Applications menu (with tooltip "Create and edit compressed files")

More data and discussion can be found here:
* http://www.designintheopen.org/profiles/blogs/zip-archive-package-or and
* http://www.ivankamajic.com/?p=143#comment-23493

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

I've opened a bug upstream about this:
http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=300655

There has been LOTS of discussion about this on the GNOME bug page, and I can confirm that this is still a live issue on recent GNOME packages.

Changed in file-roller:
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
Changed in file-roller:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Steven McCoy (fnjordy) wrote :

Archive has been in the English language since at least 1603:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archive

Zip isn't even in the dictionary as referring to a collection:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zip

Zip is only knowledgeable to WinZip users of old. Noting that Windows XP built in support is labelled "Compressed (zipped) Folders". The litmus test should be whether a new computer user would understand the terminology "zip" or "archive", and quite clearly they will have no knowledge of the former and reasonable English education would be aware of the latter.

Transpose the title if you need further clarification: "ZIP Manager" doesn't mean anything if you don't know what a "zip" is.

Changed in file-roller:
assignee: seb128 → desktop-bugs
gib (gib-juno) on 2009-02-23
description: updated
Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) on 2009-06-04
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Could the design team come with wording suggestion there?

IMO i thing that entire archive manager desktop file is anyway BS. Everybody compress/uncompress files by right clicking on 'Add to archive' or 'Extract files' command. Nobody needs any 'Archive manager'

@Laco: I disagree, I regularly have to check which files are in an archive without having to extract them, or add some files to an existing archive. Having an archive manager is great for this.

Yeah, I wonder where is he coming from. I for one create archives and mail
them out often, its part of my normal workflow with a computer.

Scott Ritchie (scottritchie) wrote :

There is a general problem here that we insist on having "Open with foo" rather than actual application-defined verbs. The top four entries on the right click menu shouldn't be "Open with Archive Manager" but rather something like "Open archive"

Scott Ritchie wrote:
> There is a general problem here that we insist on having "Open with foo"
> rather than actual application-defined verbs. The top four entries on
> the right click menu shouldn't be "Open with Archive Manager" but rather
> something like "Open archive"
>

That's a *really* interesting idea.

Takmadeus (takmadeus) wrote :

I agree with Mark, hope this gets retranslated ;)

Although this looks minimal, well, for a novice linux user this can be misleading (no way for them to guess what archive manager does), better to talk about compressed files, it is more understandable ;)

Ivanka Majic (ivanka) wrote :

Getting some input here: http://www.ivankamajic.com/?p=143

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
assignee: nobody → Ivanka Majic (ivanka)
status: Confirmed → In Progress

DanielV@ OK, not problem.

But in that case, if you double-click on archive it will anyway open archive manager to view files, not directly extract them. And in this case there should be on windows decoration insted of 'Archive manager' banner written something generic like 'Content of "whatever" archive file' this sound good to me..

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: none → round-1
Peter VandeHaar (pjvandehaar) wrote :

I think those users need to learn how to use a search engine or reference manual. Assuming that an archive is always for compressing a file, thought, "compressed file" could replace it.

Ivanka Majic (ivanka) wrote :

Proposed solution:
* In context menu rename "Create Archive" to "Compress..."
* The subsequent dialog box should be re-titled to read: "Create compressed file"
* The input box on the dialog box should be re-labelled from 'Archive' to 'Filename'
* Change "Archive Manager" to "Compressed Files" on the Applications menu (with tooltip "Create and edit compressed files")

More data and discussion can be found here:
* http://www.designintheopen.org/profiles/blogs/zip-archive-package-or and
* http://www.ivankamajic.com/?p=143#comment-23493

description: updated
Ivanka Majic (ivanka) on 2009-06-23
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
assignee: Ivanka Majic (ivanka) → nobody
status: In Progress → Confirmed
Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) on 2009-06-23
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Ryan Thompson (rct86) wrote :

On a related note, it might be prudent to add a "How do I open ...?" section to the help, which would list how to open common types of files and provide places to search for information on uncommon ones.

Martin Owens (doctormo) wrote :

What I find interesting about this design bug is that the very concepts are clashing with the way it works. If you talk of compressed files then you could easily be talking about a directory of txt.gz files, which would technically each be compressed with gzip compression.

On the other hand the reason tar was separated from gzip and bz2 was because it performs a different function, it collects files together into a virtual folder that can also be compressed.

What would be nice (and kind of out of scope for this bug) would be to remove the file-roller and integrate into the OS the ability to treat a tar as a folder and treat compression as a file / folder access filter. I don't know if you'd just want to do it in nautilus or if you'd want to do it lower down the stack, but it'd certainly be much clearer if you 'Compressed a Folder' and you could still access the contents and such, selecting folders in file dialogs for attachments and uploads could be filtered to other way and converted to tars on the way out.

All things we could do to make the bug disappear and have the wording 'compressed file/folder' make sense.

Franck (alci) wrote :

I quite desagree with compress... archives are not necessarly compressed, and compressed files are not necessarly included in an archive.

Radoslav Georgiev (valsodarg) wrote :

I agree with Franck.
A tar file is an *archive* but its not a compress file. So by renaming all Create Archive (the fits all scenario) to compress files will cause confusion on how to create tar files. Perhaps a joined venture such as "Compress/Archive" will be much appropriate in the gnome menu.
Here is what I propose:
Proposed solution:
* In context menu rename "Create Archive" to "Compress/Archive"
* The subsequent dialog box should be re-titled to read: "Create Compressed File/Archive"
* The input box on the dialog box should be re-labelled from 'Archive' to 'Filename'
* Change "Archive Manager" to "Archive Manager" on the Applications menu (with tooltip "Create and edit compressed files/Archives")

I believe the name Archive Manager should remain, just like people are used to WinZip, WinRaR, 7-Zip. None of the commercial/popular windows software have "Compress" in their name and in fact they are even more confusing than Archive Manager

Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) wrote :

Mac OS (tiger) uses "Create archive of [whatever was selected]". It is very difficult to understand for new users as well as for people coming from the Windows "Compressed (zipped) files" world. So the problem we're facing is that "Archive" is the only correct way of describing the general category of files that have been... archived :)

A common understanding is that archive = compressed zip file. That is not true. But on the other hand, there should be an easy and intuitive was of creating zip files, immediately discoverable. The question is, should we use a wrong name, just because that's what people have learned using Windows, or should we try and teach users correct name instead, showing that "Archive" simply means "a zip file or equivalent". The only issue is to make the initial connection between their mental model (I want a zip file) and the correct menu option (Create Archive).

Reassuming: "Compress..." does not sound optimal, because:

- it's not necessarily going to be compressed

and, more importantly:

- it may not be enough guidance for people trying to create ".zip" files.

The more I think about it, the more I can't see any easy solution. One way could be to have an additional menu option saying "Add to .zip file", that would simply create .zip archive without any prompts. And that's quite ugly. The other would be to somehow suggest that "Create Archive" has something to do with creating .zip files. This is also non-trivial - "Create Archive (.zip)" would be incorrect, since there are other options available and the default selection is tar.gz.

Stuart Langridge (sil) wrote :

To reiterate the point I made (in the attached Gnome bug) when I filed this originally, a reasonable proportion of computer users do not recognise the word "archive" as referring to a file containing other files. I asked the original user who prompted me to file this bug, and I also surveyed around ten other people (members of my family, non-technical computer users in my office, and one guy at a bus stop), and every one of them (all native English speakers) thought that an "archive" was a big dusty room full of books and folders, like a library. None of them recognised the term "archive" as being anything to do with computer files, and after I explained the meaning to (most of) them, they said that it didn't really make sense as a word.

Whether "Archive Manager" is a technically "correct" term is rather beside the point, I feel; if users don't understand what the word means then it's not useful to them. My friend (who originally asked the question which caused me to file this bug) was looking for a way to create a Zip file; when I explained that "Archive Manager" was the way to do that, he said that he'd seen that in the menus but hadn't tried using it because he didn't want to manage an archive (because an archive is a big dusty room full of books).

Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) wrote :

Stuart, great example. The issue is then - if "archive" is not a good name for "files that contain other files, but it can also be one file, just compressed to a smaller size", what name should we use?

Stuart Langridge (sil) wrote :

Mat, that's why my original set of suggestions ("Create Compressed File" and so on) were to be taken with a large pinch of salt, because I couldn't think of anything better :)

However, there are, I think, three possible cases:

1. collecting many files together into one file and compressing that one file (zip, rar, tar.gz)
2. taking one file and compressing it (gz)
3. collecting many files together into one file and not compressing it (tar)

I don't have any user data on this (and some would be useful), but I suspect that case (1) is the most common, and case (2) trivially collapses into case 1 (since there's not much difference between a gzipped file and a zip file with one file in it, and I would imagine that anyone who understands the difference can handle the difference manually).

Hence "Create Compressed File": that caters for cases (1) and (2), and use-cases for case (3) are relatively uncommon (and I believe that people who need uncompressed tarballs know enough to know that file-roller will do it anyway, even though the name is a bit wrong).

 "Create Compressed File" isn't far different from "Compress...", although
'create' might make it clearer to the user that the file selected itself
won't be compressed.

We might use 'Compress (.zip)...' where .zip becomes whichever was the last
format used in the dialog. So it could read "Compress (.tar.gz)...".

Does it matter that 'compress' isn't entirely accurate, just because an
archive doesn't have to be compressed? As Stuart points out, #3 is the least
common need for an average user.

On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 12:39 AM, Mat Tomaszewski <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Stuart, great example. The issue is then - if "archive" is not a good
> name for "files that contain other files, but it can also be one file,
> just compressed to a smaller size", what name should we use?
>
> --
> "Archive Manager" doesn't mean anything if you don't know what an "archive"
> is
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/15495
> You received this bug notification because you are a direct subscriber
> of the bug.
>
> Status in The FileRoller Archive Manager: New
> Status in One Hundred Paper Cuts: Triaged
> Status in “file-roller” package in Ubuntu: Triaged
>
> Bug description:
> A new user thinks "I need to create a zip file", and doesn't know how to do
> it.
> If you don't know that a zip file is an "archive", which many new users do
> not,
> then it's very difficult to tell how to create one. "Create archive" on the
> Nautilus context menu, "Archive Manager" in the Applications menu, etc, are
> all
> meaningless. (This happened to me today when someone I know rang me for
> technical support to ask how to create a zip file, and when I explained
> how, he
> said "what's an archive?")
>
> Suggested fixes (to be taken with a very large pinch of salt and replaced
> with
> better suggestions):
> Change "Create archive" to "Create compressed file" on the context menu
> Change "Archive Manager" to "Compressed Files" on the Applications menu
> (with
> tooltip "Create and edit compressed files")
>
> http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=300655:
> http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=300655
>
> Then won't you get questions like: "What's a compressed file"? Perhaps
> some other wording may help such as: "Create a safe copy of a file".
>
> Proposed solution:
> * In context menu rename "Create Archive" to "Compress..."
> * The subsequent dialog box should be re-titled to read: "Create compressed
> file"
> * The input box on the dialog box should be re-labelled from 'Archive' to
> 'Filename'
> * Change "Archive Manager" to "Compressed Files" on the Applications menu
> (with tooltip "Create and edit compressed files")
>
> More data and discussion can be found here:
> * http://www.designintheopen.org/profiles/blogs/zip-archive-package-or and
> * http://www.ivankamajic.com/?p=143#comment-23493
>
>

Radoslav Georgiev (valsodarg) wrote :

@Stuart:
Changing the name of the application is pointless and rather silly. Most other archive managers have different names [WinZip, WinRaR, 7Zip].

Changing the menu entry to as I have proposed earlier might seem more appropriate (I don't think user will care the name of the application or that changing it will make it any better). And most users don't create empty archives, they right click the file and compress it - which eliminates the need to even know the name of the archiver. Think about it: when was the last time when you needed to create an empty archive by launching the application?

---------
Proposition:
* In context menu rename "Create Archive" to "Compress/Archive"
* The subsequent dialog box should be re-titled to read: "Create Compressed File/Archive"
* The input box on the dialog box should be re-labelled from 'Archive' to 'Filename'
* Change "Archive Manager" to "Archive Manager" on the Applications menu (with tooltip "Create and edit compressed files/Archives")

Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) wrote :

Lightbreeze – I think it's acceptable for "Compress..." to be not entirely accurate. I also agree that people who know what an Archive is should not be affected by it. Will they find it acceptable though? Are we not going to get flooded with "Compress... is incorrect" bugs? :)

Maybe there is a better solution, but if not, I think "Compress..." is indeed a lot better than "Create Archive" for most users.

Martin Owens (doctormo) wrote :

After giving this some more thought, I think I'd like to see the existing wording kept as is. this is because we are trying to change the wording to better suite users who have had alternative education and not because the wording accurately describes or make the process immediately obvious. We are confusing usability with familiarity.

I'd also like to point out that most of the users I teach don't want to 'zip things up' because they need compression, but because they need to combine files together into a virtual folder. Calling it compress actually detracts from the thought pattern of what users want to do.

Useful Words: Pack, Package, Combine, Box, Cabinet, Store, Wrap, Collect, Basket, Archive...

tags: added: needs-design
deanm (cubeist) wrote :

I think Marting Owens is absolutely correct. The current term "Archive" is the most descriptively prudent term that encompasses all the tasks the Archive Manager accomplishes.

The term zip, and its derivatives is not an accurate description of the underlying computer action...it is accurate when you are closing your jacket or pants.

My two cents, the term Archive is perfect, it should not be changed, other terms such as compress are ok, but not better, perhaps the final wording should be:

Manage Archives

or just plain Archive

pt123 (pt123) wrote :

Archive is the correct term in English.
Next you will have to change "Search" to "Google" in the menus.
If there is a need to be more verbose it could be Archive (incl. Compress) , where "(incl. Compress)" can be in a less contrast text.

Ivanka Majic (ivanka) wrote :

The aim of the paper cuts project is to improve the usability of the Ubuntu desktop. What this debate reflects is that there are many ways to solve this problem; what the design team aims to do is resolve these discussions by conducting research with a broader audience.

In order to use something a person does not need to have an accurate picture of how it works, they need to be able to predict the effect a particular action will have. Mental models don't need to be correct to be useful.

I recommend Compress because all the participants could predict what that might do and why they might use it and terms like Archive and Zip were less clear to people. To quote one participant: "I know what a zip is on my jacket?"

Based on research, the solution from the design team is:
* In the context menu rename "Create Archive" to "Compress..."
* The subsequent dialog box should be re-titled to read: "Create compressed file"
* The input box on the dialog box should be re-labelled from 'Archive' to 'Filename'

What I would really like to do is heal 100 paper cuts for Karmic - let's try this now and, if usability testing shows this is not the optimum solution we can improve it in Karmic +1.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

I've added the suggested changes upstream with a comment and wait for them to reply now

Jordan (jordanu) wrote :

> I recommend Compress because all the participants could predict what that might do and why they might use it.

Was one of the understood reasons why they might use it to group many files into one to send as an attachment, or to create a single file backup of a directory? That seems to be the primary use for archives, not to save space but to include many files in one. Also, in the future ( if / when btrfs is the default file system ) compression may be built into the file system so you could compress a file or directory without creating a separate file. What should a user look for to send multiple files in an attachment when "compressing" them doesn't make that any easier? I am not disagreeing with making the change for Karmic, just noting some possible issues / questions.

Jeffrey Flaker (jflaker) wrote :

Terminology encyclopedia?
I scanned this threaded discussion and I was thinking....why not have a terminology encyclopedia?

I am not sure how it would be implemented, but possibly have a help context from the menu? When right clicking on things, in such the case of "create archive" have something right under that that says, "help, what's an archive" or a bubble showing the selected language's definition in the simplest terms possible.

just my $0.02.

Terminology is the novice killer and is why people think that Linux is a CLI environment

appi2012 (appi2012) wrote :

The word "Package" or "Box" would accurately describe the purpose of Archives, to combine files and/or to compress them. It gives a more intuitive name, which a new user could understand.

Radoslav Georgiev (valsodarg) wrote :

Box is a too generic word that means almost anything and new users might have trouble understanding the concept of "Box this items..." or "Box files and folders". Package is reserved for deb files (which are still archives). I wonder if users will be able to distinguish package and archives differently. For example: when you double click a package: an installer pops up, while when you double click and archive - the archive manager opens it to show its contents.

Tom Wright (twright-tdw) wrote :

I think that moving away from the term archive is a great idea as whilst in the past people may have used archiving to store old files these days it is mainly used for email attachments and similar. I think that we should definetly include an imperitive verb such as create as it gives users a clear idea about what the menu item actually does (creates a file not changes the folder compression as the same menu icon would in XP). Create compressed file... is best as it gives users maximum knowledge about the action. We should also look at changing zip to the default archive format as people who care about compression enough to use tar.gz or tar.bz2 rather than simply wanting to email files to a friend with windows will know about it (I will submit a bug report depending on the responce from this).

Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

I think the problem with saying "compress" is that creating a tar archive is most typical use case and tar archives are not compressed.

Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

How about "enclose within a file"

Loïc Martin (loic-martin3) wrote :

I've asked a few non-technical users (mostly Windows users), all were confused by the term "compress". They can grasp the "extract" idea, but unless you're technical or learned to used "zip" at a time were space was dear (floppies, small hard drives) you'll have no idea what compression can mean on a computer. People I asked had ideas of physically compressing stuff, like hydraulic presses and the stuff, and it never related to any "space-saving" idea, even less on anything that could make sense in a computer.

One also has to note that zip has long been supplanted by RAR on the Windows side (other OS users never really favored zip, which has bad compression ratio). RAR labels the files it produces as _archives_ , not any other term.

There's also self-extracting archives on the Windows side, they end by .exe and are called self-extracting _archives_

So my guess is we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot in order to appease a small fraction of our userbase. There might be a better word than archives, but up now that's the only descriptive name people are used to, including on Windows (discarding the ones that only know the files by their extensions in Windows, which we can't do much about, since zip isn't really used any more on the Internet, and RAR, like zip, doesn't mean much for people that don't know those extensions). As for "compress", it's far more confusing (you're focusing on the not-so-simple compression process, while for archives people can far more easily grasp the idea that some files are grouped inside a "wrapping"). Also, when people extract a file, they can clearly see the idea that some files are inside another one - have fun explaining the idea that the same files were also "compressed" ;)

appi2012 (appi2012) wrote :

If the word Package is reserved for .debs, why don't we call an archive a "parcel" or something similar. Also, it would make more sense to call .debs "Applications," as that is more specific than packages, and call archives, which may or may not be applications "packages."

Tom Wright (twright-tdw) wrote :

I agree, a package sounds much more like an "archive" than what is essential (from a new users perspective) an installer. On the other hand package is established with more knowlegable users as is (to a lesser extent) archive so unless we can think of a name which is actually unambiguously better wouldn't looking at the workflow for common uses of archives be better (e.g. offering to "combine" files on upload or similar).

This bug appears to be stuck. We have reports of user testing that produced data completely contradicting the design decision. Together, we have spent more than a day on this so I am marking incomplete and will look for a replacement paper cut.

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: Triaged → Incomplete
Elonoir (hopkaboutertje) wrote :

Although I am a new user I wanted to add my thoughts to this bug. It might help to get this papercut completed.

To get back on to the subject; As Martin Owens said above, I think it is a good idea to look at how people use Archives. People, as I know, don't use archives to store something or to compress files together. The way those people use an archive is as an package, something they can send with their emails or upload to a webhost. If they use it as an package; Why shouldn't you just call it package?

What about the current ?
Call applications what they are, Applications. When I want an application I don't think of 'a wrapped or boxed object;'.

Alternate suggestions...?

I hope I don't repeat things to much, I just wanted to say what I think.

Phylum (metus-m) wrote :

Yes. I agree. This could be very useful.

Jess Miller (kaitwospirit) wrote :

Package makes sense conceptually but we're already using that, and it would only be more confusing to use that term for two completely different things.

"Envelope" makes sense, but doesn't make a good verb. You could also say you were creating a "packet" or maybe a "collection."

The concept behind the archive is really something that needs to be taught to be understood and there's no non-digital analogue that's a really close fit, in my opinion. Perhaps a discoverable method of explaining what things do would be better than changing the terminology to something that would not necessarily improve understanding.

David Stansby (dstansby) wrote :

If this is marked incomplete, and someone is looking for a replacement cut, shouldn't the milestone be moved back to a later date or removed?

Vish (vish) wrote :

Just an FYI to all: The context[right-click] menu ,in Karmic, is now "Compress".

Vish (vish) wrote :

But the Subsequent dialogue, Is also "Compress" , that still needs to be changed.

So this bug has actually been partially fixed.

Remco (remco47) wrote :

I have a few suggestions:

Pack into / as file...
Store in / as file...
Combine into / as file...
Create (zip) archive...
Pack for web or email...

Vish (vish) wrote :

Proposed solution:
* Change "Archive Manager" to "Compressed Files" on the Applications menu

The proposed solution is not right. "Compressed Files" is not a app name, but rather end-result of the app.

/As an application menu/ , it is better as *File Compressor* , or something of the sort.

Aaron Plattner (aplattner) wrote :

If we're looking for synonyms, how about "bundle"? From dict.org:
  bundle
       n 1: a collection of things wrapped or boxed together [syn: {package},
             {packet}, {parcel}]
       2: a package of several things tied together for carrying or
          storing [syn: {sheaf}]
  [...]
       v 1: make into a bundle; "he bundled up his few possessions"
            [syn: {bundle up}, {roll up}]
It has less of the "room full of dusty books" connotation than "archive".

Tom Wright (twright-tdw) wrote :

I think that now it is time to stop looking at synonyms and accept that there is not always a perfect answer - the problem is that users are required to know what this technical term/operation is non-transparently during every day tasks, not what term is used.

sub.mesa (sub-mesa) wrote :

I may have a different solution, that addresses the needs of most points addressed here.

In the Gnome menu, for example Applications > Accessories, each application should have both a title name and a description beneath it, preferably with a small font size and silver-grey coloured text.

For example, the "Terminal" option in the Accessories menu has the same problem as the Archive Manager; if people don't know what a terminal is they don't know what it does. With a small description beneath it saying "Opens a command prompt" would clarify the use of the application instantly to new users, and would make new users to ubuntu find equivalent applications quicker without having to choose a very generic name for each application.

Conveying this idea to the Archive Manager dilemma, i propose:

1. In the Applications menu the original "Archive Manager" title, with a description labeled "Let's you create and edit compressed files" would both be correct and still most users would recognise this as an equivalent to WinZIP/WinRAR.

2. In the file manager (nautilus), users should just be able to doubleclick archives as if they were folders, but they should be folders with a very specific colour to indicate these are compressed. While looking inside the archive, users should be able to copy/paste files in and out to edit the archive.

3. When right-clicking the archive, users should see:
- "Open zip archive" (if its a tar archive it should say tar archive)
- "Extract archive" (would "remove the colour" of the archive-folder, so basically it gets extracted to a folder of the same name and the archive file itself is removed afterwards)
- "Extract archive leaving a copy" (does the same bus leaves the archive intact, with a slightly different name i guess)
- "Extract to other location" (opens a dialog to select a folder to extract to)

This would attract both novice and advanced users who are very attached to apps like WinRAR and find Linux-alternatives not very appealing, although their motivations vary. Key here is they attract the user with something specific, such as the colours used in WinRAR archives, and the right click menu had these colours too. I think we shouldn't focus too much on the exact words, by using visual elements you can let users make the proper connection to their windows counterpart without having read a word.

I realise this may not be the ideal place to present this idea. As implementing it would changing both Nautilus and Gnome. Could anyone direct me to where i should file this? Still wanted to post it here, as i think it would solve alot of issues addressed here.

Vish (vish) wrote :

removing milestone as per comment > https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/file-roller/+bug/15495/comments/42

And this is not incomplete [doesnt need more info from the bug reporter] , but rather a triaged bug.

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
importance: Low → High
milestone: round-1 → none
status: Incomplete → Triaged

This isn't even close to a paper cut. Archive Manager handles more than zipfiles. The overall name of these files are archives. What do you want to call it? "Zip-rar-tar-and-a-lot- more-manager", huh? Fix PPTP instead so people can use VPN under Ubuntu. I don't believe som of you people. Archive Manager is just fine. People who don't know that zip-files are archive stick by Windows. I'd hate to see Ubuntu turn into Linux for dumb*ss*s.

Lunis Neko (lunis) wrote :

@Nils-Werner, This actually is a picture perfect paper cut. It's small, easy to fix, and actually is very confusing.

My opinion is this:

The technical side: These files are archives, whether or not they're compressed. I don't think that we should stop using the terminology of an Archive. To start using Compressed File, Compress..., etc would be counter-productive. While I believe that Nils-Werner's comment is way off base and quite immature, I do believe that no one wants to see Ubuntu over-simplified. The solution here is actually quite simple.

The bigger picture: The reason people use archives is for the sake of the Internet. Once upon a time archives were used to save space on floppies and zip disks, but those were far enough back that they can be put out of our minds. The current convention of an archive is that of the Internet. By that I mean that people needed a means of transferring sets of files over slow Internet. This was two problems in one: the archiving of many files (say for a Windows theme) and then sending that data compressed over a slow connection. We no longer need to compress (generally) to send a file, but we still need to archive. Seperating those two actions a bit, however, would most likely only cause more problems. I think it's obvious that the word `zip' and the word `extract' are the most commonly known ones for archiving and unarchiving (or compressing and uncompressing) files. WinZIP helped make this the case. Even now on a Windows computer zip is the most common archiving method. Now to say that this only applies in Windows is silly. When we want to compress in Linux we do what? gZIP. bZIP2. The zip convention is still around, but we don't want it to be. Archiving is the correct term, compression is just an option.

tldr;
"Archive (zip) files..."
"Add to new archive (zip)..."

Also, the Macintosh method of "disk images" is clever. When you download an archive Gnome should (optionally) automatically open that file. The idea of treating an archive as a normal folder the way one would mount an iso to loop is genius, and treating archive compression the way Windows would treat compression on an NTFS filesystem (in short: transparently) is even better. However, I believe that is certainly beyond the scope of a paper cut. I only reiterate that idea because when it was first mentioned by Martin (#16 above) it didn't seem to get much love, and it deserves it.

Alex Bruce (alexbruce7) wrote :

Interesting Paper Cut

I just thought I would add something in regards to the "windows" world that is mentioned throughout

I think its slightly incorrect to think of the "Send To --> Compressed (zipped) folder" dialog as universally used under windows. Ever since zip files were handled by XP released in 2002-2003, I still run across people who still think they need to install Winzip\Winrar or whatever app to create\open zip files.

It is not very well advertised in the OS and people are most still using windows as if its windows 98 and nothing has changed. eg still need Winzip (shareware woot!) installed.. still need Nero installed to create a simple data CD

So using this as the "standard" for how things should be implemented is not entirely correct. I do think the windows way is more seamless than a separate application though and ill usually just install 7zip on windows (for myself and other users) to handle other archive formats (and more advanced zip file creation) but leave windows as the associated app for zip and cab files.

Still how it is implemented at the moment in Ubuntu is great. I do think there should be less abstraction involved with dealing with archive files (eg make them look like a folder with all the same operations as mentioned above) BUT they still need to be recognized as files to the user and it needs to be obvious that they are archive files so the user can make decisions based on that

on the topic at hand.. I think "Compress file\s..." is only slightly better than "Create Archive". Most people would think that one "zip file" will be created when clicking this... I doubt a majority of people will think if they click this they will create many compressed files or something silly like that

Alex Bruce (alexbruce7) wrote :

Another quick thought

are the words "zip" "zipped" "unzip" etc patented but Winzip in some way?

so to use these words as a generic term for all compression, as apposed to just referring to a zip file (compressed in zip format etc), may mean its possible for Ubuntu to be sued for patent\brand usage etc (I'm not a lawyer but yeah that bollocks stuff).

Windows has obviously paid out over these patent issues so can use "zipped" in there dialogs

What I am missing in this whole discussion is the concept of "Education".

Ubuntu is a different operating system. It's okay for users to learn new ways of performing tasks they may or may not have performed in other operating systems. Using wording that is familiar or unfamiliar to them.

The bests comments have been so far the ones that educate the users as to what they are trying to do through tool tips or through use of active verbs.

Playing to peoples ignorance just leaves everyone dumb.

Stephan Fabel (sfabel) wrote :

A compressed file archive isn't really an archive at all. I put things into an archive that I don't want to see on my desk anymore, but might need it again in the future. Really, when talking about an archive, you're talking about it because we used to only be using tar (T ape AR chive ).[*]

A zip file obviously doesn't work because we are creating a myriad of archives here, possibly tar.gz, tar.bz2, .rar, .7z, etc.

While having no clear answer, possible candidates that describe better what is happening here, could be:

- aggregate
- collect
- combine

when looking for terminology in terms of an "archive", how about:

instead of "add to..."
- "aggregate in file"
- "create collection"
- "combine to single compressed file"

  => popup "choose format" dropdown with zip, tar.gz, etc.

Just putting some thoughts out there from a pure English point of view.

[*] http://www.gnu.org/software/tar/#introduction

Beni Cherniavsky (cben) wrote :
Download full text (3.3 KiB)

+ Another word: "pack" seems to capture both meaning, while not exactly stepping on "package" reserved for .debs?

+ What about expanding the vague meaning of the operation by labeling the menu "Combine / Compress..."?

+ What about letting the option explain itself in a submenu? Something like:
  - Create <file>.tar.bz2
  - Create <file>.zip
  - Other / help me choose...

  Benefits:

  - A submenu header is less threatening than a "Compress..." button,
    so it helps dicovery.

  - A submenu allows including the familiar "ZIP".

  - A submenu allows fast access to common functionality. (Perhaps it
    should grow to include formats you have used, a-la "Open With"?)

In any case, I think the real bug is that users don't understand these operations, and playing with the wording can only help users stumble upon the functionality. But will they successfully compelete their task? With , will they understand what it does and whether they want it? Will they choose the best format?

The current dialog looks like this:

    <ICON> Filename: __<file>____ [ .tar.gz | ▽ ]
            Location: [ <places> | ▽ ]
            ▷ Other Options
    [Help] [Cancel] [Create]

(where Other Options expands to Password, Encrypt, Split - greyed out most of the time!)

The harder part of the fix is re-designing the dialog to be educational!
It's a hard task, and I don't have a polished proposal, only a starting-point suggestion:

  Save result as: __<file>____ Format:
  Location: [ <places> | ▽ ] ┌───────────────────────────
                                           │ .zip - cross-platform │
  [x] Combine many files into one. │ .tar.bz2 - compress well │
                                           │ ... │
  [x] Compress - create a smaller file(s). └───────────────────────────
      Without compression, Tar + BZip2 - very good
      the files take <5.2 MB>. compression, somewhat slow,
                                            easy to open on Linux & Mac.

   ▷ Other Options

  [Help] [Cancel] [Create]

[x] Combine would be greyed out if only one file is seleted. (Or entirely omitted? I think educating users about the ability is important.)
When it's unselected, many files can be compressed individually (a message warning of that should appear below the checkbox).

The [x] Combine and [x] Compress boxes would grey out irrelevant lines in the formats list; clicking a line in the format list would assign [x] Combine and [x] Compress to the appropriate values; typing an extension in the filename output would also choose format and checkboxes.

Additionally, I'd argue that the [x] Compress section should also notify you when you have selected uncompressed images / audio / videos, and at least point you to the appropriate applications.

Ideally, it should allow you to directly:
- Compress losslessly to PNG and FLAC
- Compress lossly to JPG, Vorbis, Theora
- Reduce resulution / sampling rate

This is major new functionality, but it's very useful for sending/uploading files, and ...

Read more...

Beni Cherniavsky (cben) wrote :

Ahh, it botched my ascii art.
Attached above dialog proposal in .txt form (UTF-8).

Elonoir (hopkaboutertje) wrote :

Pack & Bundle sound nice. I still prefer 'package' even if it's reserved for .deb packages, technically those are the same. But these alternatives sound nice too.

smilingfrog (smilingfrog) wrote :

An interesting thing about this papercut is that it is primarily trying to help explain what the function of a right clicked menu item will be for a user who is not already familiar with it. What about adding a description that pops up on the menu when hovering over the selection, similar to the way a text box opens up when hovering over an HTML image described with a title tag?

An example of this would be as follows. Assuming you are reading this in Firefox, and assuming that you have the NoScript add-on installed (and that some scripts are forbidden), right click on this page and hover over the NoScript.

Similarily, as suggested by @sub.mesa above under Applications->Accessories->Terminal, if you hover over the Terminal it gives you a description (All panel items do so).

Would this papercut not become a great deal less troublesome if the Nautilus right click menus also could pop up a short description of the function?

Krzysztof Kosinski (tweenk) wrote :

A lot of the discussion here is that some archives do not offer compression, and therefore they should not be renamed to compressed files. This is a completely irrelevant technicality. You are thinking in the UNIX way, not in the simple user way. The simple user doesn't recognize the difference between compression and archiving, because he has no use for archiving. Why would anyone want to clump files together if it offers no savings in disk space?

Also consider that power users know that to "compress" means to reduce the size of data, but for an unsophisticated user it might as well refer to "compressing" the number of files!

"Bundling", "packing" or "packaging" are wrong. Bundling refers to something you get as a gratis with e.g. a video card or a magazine. Packaging is when you "wrap" or put the files in something. Zipping is only recognizable to WinZip users and shouldn't be used.

Another point: it is clear that "Compress..." won't destroy anything, because it has an ellipsis. This means that the user will be offered further choices. Moreover it is a given that if anything is about to destroy user data, a warning is displayed, so considering the possibility that users might be afraid to click on this is a distraction.

The correct solution is "Compressed File Manager" or "Compressed File Browser" and "Compress..."

Beni Cherniavsky (cben) wrote :

@Krzysztof Kosinski:
> The simple user doesn't recognize the difference between
> compression and archiving, because he has no use for
> archiving. Why would anyone want to clump files together
> if it offers no savings in disk space?

On the contrary, the simple user nowdays doesn't care about
file sizes and disk space, but does care about attaching a
dozen files to an email vs. attaching one archive.

(The ideal fix for that use case would be to support attaching
whole directories. They can be transparently converted to an
archive when you attach them and exploded to a directory
when you save an attachment. But this won't be ubuquitous
any time soon, so we still need an easy way to explicitly handle
archives.)

Anyway, I agree with your analysis of "Compress..." being best.

Oli Ptang (oli-ptang) wrote :

I do not think that we should simply use a particular term just because it is understood by users of a particular operating system: as has already been mentioned above, Windows and OSX use different terminologies anyway.

I prefer the idea of using our own expressive terminology, ideally something that a complete novice to computer systems in general might grasp intuitively. As such I would suggest using the terms "group" (or "bunch"?) and "compress" (or "squish"?) in a context-sensitive manner. For example, right clicking on a single file could offer the option to "Compress this file...", whilst right clicking on a selection of multiple files would offer something along the lines of "Group and/or compress these files..." (or "Bunch and squish these files..."?).

rather than doing anything drastic, how about just providing brief examples; something like "Create an archive (e.g. zip, tar.gz, etc)"

yman (s-y-schwarz) wrote :

Name of app: File Compression.

I don't think the name is that important. The graphic could be clear enough to convey the concept to any user of any language if done cleverly.

Changed in file-roller:
importance: Unknown → Wishlist
Changed in file-roller (Ubuntu):
assignee: Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs) → nobody
John K (tenplus1) wrote :

I disagree, dumbing down menu's will only lead to new users NOT learning in the future... Why not have a screen during install that shows the Archive Manager and what it can do (mainly create ZIP files) and educate instead ?!?

Chris Wilson (notgary) wrote :

Just a quick bump on this one as it's been hanging around for a while now. A number of suggestions have been made for using a more descriptive icon, which seems like a logical solution since the current one gives the impression the app is related to gardening work in some way.

Chris Wilson (notgary) wrote :

I've added Ayatana Design to the projects list to see what they think of designing a new icon.

Chris Wilson (notgary) on 2012-06-10
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
importance: High → Wishlist
Chris Wilson (notgary) wrote :

Just another bump on this. Is there anything happening with it?

Chris Wilson (notgary) wrote :

Nick, this has been on the paper cuts backlog forever. The proposal is to rename and/or design a new icon. What does design think about this?

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
assignee: nobody → Nick Tait (jnick-tait)
Chris Wilson (notgary) on 2012-11-28
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: none → raring-ee
Chris Wilson (notgary) on 2012-11-29
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: app-descriptions → none
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