GNOME designer Allan Day has shown off new design work on Nautilus dubbed ‘Nautilus Next’.

Nautilus has been a bit of a contentious point – to say the least! – given GNOME 3’s radical shift in design and Nautilus removing features deemed essential by some users and even whole distributions.

But with ‘Nautilus Next’, the GNOME designers have made use of new GNOME 3.10 elements – like rejigged list and grid views and client-side decorations – and the growing collection of core apps to lift the humble file browser into a more integrated and contextual role.

Updated Elements

A new responsive grid view expands to fit window (courtesy of Allan Day)
A new responsive grid view expands to fit the window.

Perhaps the most fundamental element of a file browser is the browsing and the new designs include a revamped list view and a responsive grid view. The latter will resize as your window resizes, ensuring proper spacing, padding, and preview size are maintained without uneven margins or excessive whitespace.

A new file preview screen.
A new file preview screen.

Previews are also getting a significant upgrade. Instead of a “Quick Look”-style popup, the new design makes use of the Nautilus window itself, offering a back button to return to the files list and a way to go through documents directly from the preview screen as well.

The new preview design also has actionable items included for opening, copying, moving, or sharing files. Day notes that “generating previews like this may well require new infrastructure.” It remains to be seen if that new infrastructure would be smart enough to offer filetype-based actions like image editing or package installation.

With contextual information, the share button in particular could be smarter about what to offer, much like Android’s intent system that offers to share a photo to Twitter but a video to YouTube.

Content Selection

New file selection dialogs will integrate with "content applications".
New file selection dialogs will integrate with “content applications”.

And speaking of content, Day has also previewed new file selection dialogs aimed at bridging your local and cloud content whilst providing a cleaner, more focused experience.

“each [content application] is designed to act as a cloud-based content provider”

Part of the new designs include tighter integration with “content applications” in GNOME’s set of core apps – e.g., Documents, Photos, Music, et al. So if you’re looking for photos or music, you won’t need to sift through PDFs and your endless episodes of I Love Lucy to find them. And, as Day mentions, the Photos app can surface cloud providers like Flickr or Instagram on top of your local photo collection, whilst the Files app will show a familiar file chooser with sidebar and all.

Many other designs are also featured on Day’s blog – including a more customisable sidebar and multiple selections – which you can check out below.

Read More About ‘Nautilus Next’

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