PIM paper: Fitchett et. al. “Finder highlights: field evaluation and design of an augmented file browser”

A CHI 2014 paper by S Fitchett, A Cockburn, C Gutwin

This idea looks very similar to what I proposed many years ago:

Leave my hiearchies alone – integrating file manager and search engine

Finder Highlights: Field Evaluation and Design of an Augmented File Browser


"Navigating to files through a hierarchy is often a slow, laborious, and
repetitive task. Recent lab studies showed that file browser interface
augmentations, such as Icon Highlights and Search Directed Navigation,
have the potential to reduce file retrieval times. However, for this
potential to be realised in actual systems, further study is necessary
to address two important issues. First, there are important design and
implementation challenges in advancing the research prototypes
previously evaluated into complete interactive systems that can be used
for real work. Second, it is unknown how real users would employ these
systems while engaged in actual work; would the potential performance
improvements suggested by the earlier lab studies be realised? We
therefore describe the design, implementation, and longitudinal field
study evaluation of Finder Highlights, a file browser plugin for the OS X
‘Finder’ that adds support for Icon Highlights and Search Directed
Navigation. Study results confirm that the augmentations are effective
in reducing real-world file retrieval times, with retrieval times 13%
faster when using Finder Highlights compared to the standard tool (10.6 s
versus 12.2 s), while also emphasising important differences between
lab and field studies. In summary, the paper strongly suggests that
large-scale deployment of interface augmentations to file browsers,
particularly Icon Highlights, will have a marked effect in improving
users’ real-world file retrieval."