How do YOU explain file management?
I’ve been in computer support a long time, and I think most geeks will agree with me that one of the toughest problems facing the non-geek user is “file management”. You download a file, you save a file, you find a file, back up a file, delete a file, restore a file, all in folders on drives and network shares. Files are of different types and have different extensions (not helped by default Windows settings that hide extensions). And don’t even get me started on jump drives in a networked environment, which Windows handles very haphazardly. The problem is compounded when a web server is involved; users click on a button that says “Publish To Web” but they might as well be clicking on “δημοσιεύστε στον Ιστό” for all it means to them. Then there are picture and music management programs like iTunes and Picasa that add another interface layer to the file management puzzle. The abstractions of file management aren’t that complicated but for some reason users block them out.
And yet I’m no better at explaining this important skill than I was at teaching MrsDoF to drive a stickshift. (She figured it out herself, no thanks to me) Most likely this is due to the fact that I’m not the sharpest graham cracker in the box myself but it’s still something I would like to teach more clearly. If there were any single computer skill I would like to make more accessible to users, it would be an understanding of files and their various places to be and why. What are your favorite ways of explaining file management? Is there a favorite explanatory link to which you like to send users? A particularly clear metaphor? A parable? A mystical retreat with candles and incense that results in file-management enlightenment? I’d really like to know.