Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Wed 11th Aug 2004 07:53 UTC
Editorial Computers are complex systems but it's a mistake to assume they need to be complex to use. However, usability is not as easy as it may first seem. It is a different discipline from software development lacking the strict logic or having a "right way". There are only differing requirements and differing collections of guidelines. Making things easy is difficult.
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re: article
by matt on Wed 11th Aug 2004 18:21 UTC

"Fitts' law would suggest that the menu should really be on the window as your mouse is likely to be closer to it (this assumes Fitts' law applies in 2 dimensions).

This also does not take account of mouse acceleration which makes aiming at a specific point on the edge of a screen almost impossible from any significant distance (apart from the corners where your pointer invariably end up). Yet despite this, placing the menu at the top does seem to be better, how can this be so?"

the distance to the object is infinate in one direction on the screen edge. move your mouse in that direction and you will alwas hit it. that limits aiming to two directions, instead of four on a "window menu". to aim you have to slow down mouse acceleration, which means aiming is something to be reduced or made easier wherever possible. now, if a target is of an infinate size, mouse acceleration is irrelivent. unfortunately, that only applies to the pixel under the mouse, which makes contextual menus pure genius. however, infinate in one or two directions makes acceleration irrelivent in those directions, so the effect you get is slightly less then a contextual menu, you still have to aim but you have reduced the effort required by half.

the reason people dont use the menu at the top of the screen is the same that gnome doesnt use spring loaded folders. apple has a patent on it.