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Re: HUD design ideas


On 05. feb. 2012 20:44, Marco Kirchberger wrote:
I think if we want to replace the old menu with the HUD we need a kind of hierarchical structures. Otherwise you have no option to get familiar with the functions of an application.

I don't see the HUD as a replacement for menus at all. But something needs to be done about the menus. Of that there can be no doubt. But if the goal is to redesign the menus, then that needs to be the main discussion; not how the HUD can be redesigned into becoming a menu replacement. I actually think the HUD should stay as non-dominant as possible, providing hints about available actions, without blocking too much of what's behind. It's in the name; it's supposed to be a Heads-Up Display.

To me, the two primary reasons why menus needs to be redesigned and fixed is that they are very hostile to users with reduced eyesight or control of their hands, such as patients of Parkinson's disease. (but a lot of people have problems with this for varying reasons) As a replacement for menus, I would rather have something like an AppMap, which would be an overlay similar to the keyboard shortcuts overview. The menus would not be seen at all when not in use, and would be accessed using a new button on the window titlebar. It would not require any space on the screen while not in use, but utilize bigger parts when it is. And like the keyboard shortcuts overview, it would have a nice, big header to show what window it belongs to, such as «Thunderbird Composer» This makes it a better overview than the classic menubars. It also reduces the chance of traversing into the wrong submenu while mouse traveling. This can be a problem for people who are not accustomed to using the mouse, have issues with fine muscle movements, etc. It might also make menus less of an extremely horrendous ordeal when using a touchpad. The ability to increase font size on hover would help to reduce the problems faced by those with reduced eye sight. For larger applications, the app-map could be scrollable.

In any case, I think replacing the menus is very important. It is important enough not to be added almost as an after-thought. It is an important subject in its own right. Since keyboard shortcuts, toolbars and menus are all just different ways of interacting with an applications actions, they are related. That doesn't mean that accessing shortcuts and displaying menus should be considered parts of the same problem. If the new menu style -- whatever that might turn out to be -- could be combined with the HUD in some way, that might be nice. But I don't think it should be a primary goal.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad