Something that says, "This is what to do."
Disclaimer: I'm likely the only person who does this (but since you asked...).
I open Dired in its own frame. I use
dired-hide-details-mode, to hide the details by default, showing only the file names.
Actually, I use library
dired+.el, which offers a little more in this area.
And I use libraries
fit-frame.el, so that the frame is shrink-wrapped onto the buffer content, not wasting any horizontal blank space.
You can position that Dired frame anywhere you like and leave it there, if you want.
But I also use library
thumb-frm.el to thumbify it into a thumbnail frame on my desktop.
C-z toggles thumbifying and dethumbifying (restoring to full size).
And I use library
zoom-frm.el to be able to zoom in or out, shrinking or expanding the frame and its text, when I want it to take up more or less space. I usually use the
Control key with the mouse wheel for that, but sometimes I use
C-S-mouse-1 instead to zoom in/out.
I do likewise with other buffers - open them by default in their own frames. For that I use library
All of those libraries are on Emacs Wiki in the Elisp Area.