Love or hate the Mac’s Finder, it’s what we’ve got, and Apple hasn’t deemed anything better. Yet. Remember, it didn’t take us long to figure out how to use the icon and touch interface on the iPhone, so just how ripe are we to ditch the Mac’s aging Finder and replace it with something better? Or, at least, different?
This week I’ve been examining Raskin for Mac. It’s a desktop-like interface for OS X which supposedly makes interaction simpler. The Finder, as you know, can be abusive to Mac newbies, and cumbersome for the rest of us.
Raskin tosses away the desktop metaphor, the Finder’s navigation, and dumps everything into a stack of sorts. Not nested folders. But contents of your folders displayed with giant icon previews.
See anything different?
Zoom into your files effortlessly. Pan across files to find what you want. There’s a logic to Raskin’s approach, but it’s anything but intuitive if you’ve used a Mac or Windows PC. Ever.
We don’t tend to look at apps, files, and folders from the 40,000 foot level, but Raskin does. So long as you understand what each of the columns represents, zooming in is fast and easy.
Once you master the zoom in, zoom out, and pan, and remember where everything is stacked, Raskin isn’t too bad to use.
But it’s different.
Especially intriguing is the Light Table View, which looks more or less like all your digital photos fell out of iPhoto onto the Mac’s Desktop.
Think of what would happen if Mission Control married the Mac’s Finder and they spawned. That’s Raskin (named after original Mac visionary, Jeff Raskin).
It’s the ultimate Think Different effort to get Mac users to view their files and folders different than the Desktop metaphor.
Does it work? Yes. And no. Like anything new and different, Raskin is cumbersome at first, so you’ll need to devote time to getting the hang of it. Is it faster? I don’t know. After a couple of hours of using Raskin the Finder began to look friendly again.