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Re: scrollbars [was: Re: really attracting developers]

From: phil taylor
Subject: Re: scrollbars [was: Re: really attracting developers]
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 13:57:13 +1000

On Tue, 2006-09-05 at 01:06 +0200, Pascal Bourguignon wrote:
> phil taylor writes:
> > I hardly see how anyone can believe that the dangling menu looks better.
> > I suppose it looks odd to me largely due to it being different to the
> > usual paradigm with which I am familiar, but even taking that into
> > account it is still rather odd.
> Just go to your favorite retaurant, and ask for the menu.
> Is it something like:
>     Hors d'oeuvre
>        Salade Waldorf
>        Oeufs mimosa
>     Plat
>        Boeuf Bourguignon
>        Escalope de veau
>        Côtelettes d'agneau
>        Truite aux amandes
>     Desert
>        Banana split
>        Forêt noire
>        Pomme
> or is it something like:
>     Salade Waldorf, Oeufs mimosa, Boeuf Bourguignon, Escalope de veau, 
> Côtelettes d'agneau, Truite aux amandes, Banana split, Forêt noire, Pomme
> But of course, I'll concede that trying to map real life stuff onto
> the computer screen is just a silly gimmick to sell more Mac to
> newbies, and that the best menu is the one that doesn't appear on the
> screen.  Even the best window manager is the one that doesn't display
> anything on the screen (I'm going to leave WindowMaker for something
> like ratpoison or stumpwm soon).  
> On NeXTSTEP, I just kept the menu out of screen, and configured the
> right button to pop it up under the mouse.  For popup menus of course,
> the vertical disposition is better, because it needs less mouse
> movement to select the item.
> You must compare:
>    - right button down, move a little down, right button up, vs.
>    - move far, far, even farther nowadays with 1600x1200 displays, up
>      left, (are you aready there?), right button down, move right,
>      further, further, move down a little, right button up, move down,
>      down, down back to the original place.
> Clearly, a menu bar is silly.  And menu bars per window are worse.

Good points.

The thnig I like least about menus, especially the non pictorial ones
like GNUstep (is that mandatory?) is that to find an item you have to
look through the list - its harder to differentiate quickly. Pictures
are much easier to locate. Toolbar buttons are expecially easy to locate
because of the images - this is one of the founding original prinicples
of the gui - icons.

The main strength of menus is cramming lots of options in a small space.
What you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts.

I particularly hate cascading menus because of the tendency of the
subordinate menu to dissappear if you do not move the mouse precisely
enough, especially on high res screens with small text. Also any
hierarchical setup makes finding the subordinate items very hard, as it
is very difficult to traverse a complex tree and remember where you have
already been. Thats another pet hate of mine - the awful Unix directory
structure, with its /lib/bin/share/bin/lib" structure. e.g. Is it
in /lib/bin/hotplug or /lib/hotplug/bin or /lib/sbin/local/share/hotplug
or lib/hotplug/local/bin/share etc... I think you get the point.

Probably i am too impatient and menus are best when used sedately.

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