Navigation in folder structures is an essential part of most window based user interfaces. Basic human navigation strategies rely on stable properties of the physical world, which are not by default present in windows style user interfaces. According to the theoretical framework Ecological Cognitive Ergonomics, user interfaces that mimics the dynamics of the physical world, should be more intuitive and easy to use. To test this hypothesises 69 subjects solved a number of tasks involving navigation in folders in two different windows environments that varied in their degree physical world resemblance. Results showed that users had very strong physical world biases in their use of the windows interfaces. The more ecological version was thus significantly faster to use, and was preferred by the majority of users. These results seem to confirm the hypothesis and are discussed in light of the larger theoretical framework.
Sixth Danish Human-computer Interaction Research Symposium, 2006, p. 47-48