i hacked on dolphin some more today, concentrating mostly (though not exclusively) on the url navigator again. one of the goals was to experiment with communicating access to non-local data while retaining the "feels natural" attributes.
here's what i have thus far:
it automatically takes the protocol and host name when viewing a non-local data set and separates them out. the protocol combo is populated with file manager relevant protocols, though to achieve that i've had to monkey with the .protocol files a bit. that part needs more thought.
what isn't there yet is display of the username (if applicable) or eye candy. the combo box will be turning into the same sort of button as the rest of the path parts i think. this will look nicer and make it seem less clunky and separate. i'm still undecided what to do with the hostname part yet; perhaps also move it to the same flat style "button" with the added "feature" of turning into an editable text area when clicked on.
i also need to de-geekify the protocols combo a bit by offering humane labels when the drop down is clicked. i'm thinking of a multi-column drop down with names like "secure ftp" or "microsoft network share" next to the actual protocol. have a cool idea for this? send me a mock up =)
the trickiest bit by far though is getting the interaction right. this includes things like switching between local and remote or remote and local transports; typing in protocols not listed; typing paths after the hostname in the host box; flipping between editable and non-editable paths (where does the cursor end up?); changing protocols (switches to the host edit automatically rather than trying to load via the new protocol) .... devil's in the details. but so far the code is staying pretty clean and not overly gross as often happens when trying to work an interface element towards human expectations.
after tomorrow i should be ready to start usability testing on some human guinea pigs i've lined up here. yay!