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Re: Of applications and documents

From: David Adam Bordoley
Subject: Re: Of applications and documents
Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2003 00:33:50 -0400

Pascal Bourguignon writes:

For example,  the first  step would probably  to remove the  menus, as
they're known.  Each  object should have its own  pop-up menu, used to
send them their  proper messages.  Users are not  ready to accept that
it seems.
Smalltalk was close to that. Oberon too.

I disagree with this slightly. Well designed context menus are handy to more intermediate to advance users. However, numerous usability papers i've read have always shown that toplevel menus are far easier to use by most novice users and even more advance users, because they are more imediately discoverable. The key with toplevel menus is to reorganize them to be more document friendly. I'm a big fan of the macintosh single menubar design. One idea i've had floating around in my head is: New File Edit View Help The new menu would provide a very user visible way to create new documents. For instance choosing New -> Image would popup a dialog listing several image templates from which the user could choose to create the new image, or the user could choose to create an image from a custom template they create. This would for most applications replace the traditional File->New document menu. One exception would be File->New folder, since the new object is created inside of the currently viewed object. I think the difference is fairly self evident though. Beyond this I think it would be really good to incorporate searching and the internet more directly into the desktop ui (part of moving beyond the web browser). One idea i've seen is to actually add a text entry box to the top menubar in the upper right hand corner. Users could use this box to search for files on their local computer, open web pages, etc. dave

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