Does anyone have any information (or know where I could some) —
research data etc. — how well the average user (consumer) understands
the hierarchal folder based filing systems implemented into OSs at
My suspicion (through observing people in various types of research) is
that while hierarchal files and folders are familiar and therefore easy
they relate to it, they're really 'understood'. I think this is
supported by opening the average computer and seeing the sporadic
taxonomy the user has created for themselves, the state of their
desktop and/or witness them trying to find something. Or working in a
group of people with a shared file server...
Or is this just because they require a lot of overhead and constant
management to make them work effectively?
The question has arisen in developing an application that could adopt a
'virtual' filing system and what is leveraged from existing (computer)
mental models to create that balance between familiarity and confusion.