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 504415
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Why aren't buttons good enough?
by satsujinka on Wed 25th Jan 2012 00:38 UTC
Member since:

How many programs actually need more than a couple of buttons? For the most common programs I use (text editor, file browser, web browser, image viewer, IDE, etc.) all the features I use are buttons (or keyboard short cuts.) So I've never seen a need for a menu system, they just take longer than a button or shortcut.

Reply Score: 2

tonny Member since:

There's advantage if there's a menu system. We know what (the features, options, plugins, add-ons, etc.) exists/available in that application, i.e., In linux -> gedit, I know there's find, replace, select all, in 'edit' option. Without the menu, I just can guess what's edit options that available..

What made me happy about this is: Voice is the natural next step. Imagine we just speak, "edit, cut", or just plain, "cut", and it will be done.

Edited 2012-01-25 03:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

satsujinka Member since:

find, replace, select all are all implementable on a toolbar. Geany does for example (well not select all but that's ctrl-a.) If you're worried about discoverability, a help menu is all that's needed (that includes all the shortcuts.) Most shortcuts are universal, so a user can quickly learn shortcuts.

Voice is a horrible interface for computers. How do I know what voice commands are available? Also, a keyboard shortcut is much faster than saying a two syllable word (which will be most of the commands.) Consider the case of an image editor, how would you specify cropping? Making a selection, copying, and pasting it?

Reply Parent Score: 3

Savior Member since:

So I've never seen a need for a menu system, they just take longer than a button or shortcut.

Have you skipped the part of the video where they talk about nested menus? I for one would welcome a faster access of the passwords dialog in Firefox than Preferences -> Preferences -> Security tab -> Saved Passwords.

But of course, I haven't used the start menu for years, preferring instead Alt+F2 in KDE 4 (and the application that did a similar thing before but whose name I've forgot). It also works with System Settings, so if I want to open the printer configuration dialog, it's just Alt+F2, type 'pri' and enter. Very convenient, and I would certainly welcome a similar function in my applications as well.

You are right in that nobody will want to type 'undo' instead of pressing Ctrl+Z, but I don't think Shuttleworth wants to get away with shortcuts too.

Reply Parent Score: 3

satsujinka Member since:

Complex dialogue windows, such as a preferences window, do need something. And I will agree that a search feature would be greatly appreciated.

However, my point is this: If you are a simple program, why do you have any need for a menu in the first place?

A text editor only needs a couple buttons to implement all the features it has (textual shortcuts are generally well known.) I know this, because I experimented with a writing a text editor that only had a single toolbar and a couple of buttons (new file, open file, save, save as, print, find, replace, word wrap on/off, and choose font captures most of the functionality of gedit for example.)

For something more complicated like inkscape... something like the HUD would be practical, but more so if it encouraged learning shortcuts.

Reply Parent Score: 1