Re: [Usability] application names in the application menu

On 28 Mar 2008, at 17:30, daniel g. siegel wrote:

now i learned, that it was very confusing to have names like nautilus,
epiphany, cheese for a guy, who hears those names for the first time. so
it would be better to have menu entries like "Texteditor" (gedit) or
"Document viewer" (evince). but then, who would know how the application
should be called? how could he then submit a bug report to _that_
program? how can the person find the projects website on a search
engine? is a program name senseless?

The HIG is fairly clear about the wording of Applications menu entries and tooltips::

< >

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Historically, when we wrote the HIG we originally wanted all the core GNOME desktop apps to have functional names only, to alleviate some of this confusion. Thus there would be no "gedit", no "nautilus", no "epiphany"; only the GNOME "text editor", "file manager" and "web browser".

However, some maintainers (not necessarily the ones I just mentioned, FWIW-- I can't actually remember which ones now) saw this as an erosion of their project's identity, and weren't willing to make this change. So we came to the uneasy compromise of having the functional name on the menu, but allowing the project name in the application and its documentation. This undoubtedly does confuse some users.

In summary, now that you're a core desktop application and there are no other core applications with a similar function, your menu entry should not include the word "Cheese". It should be something like "Webcam Snapshot" (I'm sure we can do better than that, I haven't really woken up yet!), and the tooltip something like "Take photos and videos directly from an attached camera". You can use the name "Cheese" in the application itself, and in the documentation if that's what the current docs guidelines allow, but preferably no more than necessary.


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson sun com            GNOME Desktop Team             +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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