Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Jan 2012 22:53 UTC, submitted by fran
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu As much as I dislike Unity, I commend the Ubuntu team and Shuttleworth for having the guts to try to innovate and bring the desktop forward (pretty much the exact same can be said of KDE4 and GNOME3). Shuttleworth has just announced yet another significant change for Ubuntu, and it's all about replacing the menu with a search interface dubbed the HUD.
E-mail Print r 8   · Read More · 96 Comment(s)
Thread beginning with comment 504395
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by Bishi
by Bishi on Tue 24th Jan 2012 23:26 UTC
Member since:

The concept is simple and cool. Imagine this menu powered by some kind of fuzzy search (think Wolfram Alpha, you can write anything but the machine understands you), and, suddenly, you can use this HUD in nearly any program, as long as you have a remote idea of what you want to do. Another thing this HUD needs to have is shortcut support. If I write a single 'x', the system has to highlight the 'cut' option before any other options beginning with an 'x'.

Discoverability remains a problem. It's an important drawback, but there is time to test a lot of solutions. Some quick ideas:
- Help slideshow: illustrations showing the available actions.
- Grouped actions: Instead of menu items, the HUD brings out buttons, like Microsoft ribbon pieces. This way we see some related actions each time the HUD is used.

Anyway, I think this feature can attract both novice and power users. I'd love to select some files and type 'group in folder My files' to create a new folder named 'My files' and move the selected items into it.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Bishi
by Morgan on Wed 25th Jan 2012 02:51 in reply to "Comment by Bishi"
Morgan Member since:

For discoverability, why not combine this with the right-click-wheel I had suggested many years ago when writing about OS interface paradigms? You right-click anywhere in an app (or on the desktop which is an app in some OSes) and you get a wheel with concentric rings. The innermost ring, closest to the cursor, contains the most used commands like save/open/print etc. The next ring has less common commands, and the third ring would exist in complicated programs like photo editors and would invoke filters and such that are unique to that program.

There are two distinct advantages to the wheel concept: One, you don't have to worry about where the menu is, as it is always where the cursor is. Two, you can have a very complex menu system that is still presented in a simple and familiar fashion across apps.

Of course, I didn't come up with this design on my own; I was inspired in part by a fictional interface from a 1990s anime. I expanded on it and made some mockups using the power of Stardock customization apps. It worked pretty well for me, but due to my lack of coding and subsequent dependence on Stardock (and therefore Windows), I walked away from it.

I'd love to give it another shot one day though!

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Comment by Bishi
by DOSguy on Wed 25th Jan 2012 13:57 in reply to "Comment by Bishi"
DOSguy Member since:

I think you'd love Quicksilver if you owned a Mac. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Bishi
by Bishi on Wed 25th Jan 2012 14:37 in reply to "RE: Comment by Bishi"
Bishi Member since:

Oh, don't worry, I know Quicksilver fairly well. But that is covered in the Gnome environment by Gnome Do. This type of programs are just good launchers that mix in some common actions. The HUD concept is application-specific and it should cover all actions available.

Reply Parent Score: 2