Re: Start Menu vs. Panel

>1) Customization
>The MS start menu cannot be customized easily--you either need 3rd
>party software, the patience of Job, or it cannot be done.  You may
>change every part of the included items in the start menu, but it
>usually requires registry hacking.  As the entire OS is centered
>around the registry, one mistake could mean the difference from
>aesthetics and a non functional system.

False.  Patently false.  Completely, utterly, totally, absolutely, devoid of
all semblances of truth--FALSE.

Go to a windows machine.  Start, Run, c:\windows\start menu\

Wow, look, it's a directory structure that looks exactly like your start

OK, granted, if you want "Settings" to really say "Foobar", you've gotta
hack, and if you wanna change the order around a little, same bit.

But why?  GNOME doesn't even allow this yet.

However, want to get rid of the programs folder?  Go into programs, control
A to select all, control X to cut, backspace to go back a level, control V
to paste.

This does not require the patience of Job.

>2) Menu Structure

>[Start menu is unstructured, apps can add anywhere]

There are four places which an application *will* actually add:

1)  Programs\Company Name
2)  Programs\
3)  \   [ONLY Microsoft apps, and only for their "open/new office document"]
4)  Wherever the user asks the app to be placed.  (Isn't it surprising,
actually, that most users ignore this section of their install sequence?

1 happens in general.  2 happens when there are no supporting info
files/uninstallers.  3 is sufficiently rare that when Microsoft does it,
it's a fair violation of the style sheet.  4 is obviously good.

The problem is that without categorization, the more apps you get, the
laaaaaaaarger your load menu becomes--*period*.  Tom, you questioned the
appropriateness of that icewm "programmers" menu for general users, saying
that users don't like being faced with so many options.  But, the fact is
that if you have dozens and dozens of programs, they're either going to be
placed in a single linear menu, windows style, or they're going to be placed
in a multi-level system, such as the icewm pic.

Now, of course we should have the multileveler bolstered with the Runbox,
which would allow tab completion for menu items.  (Wanna run netscape?  Hit
control-alt-r or go to the runbox which can reside on the panel or in the
gnomeprint and type Nets<TAB>)

But if the user is browsing, it's a DAMN good idea to split things up!

>[Uninstallation is a problem]

It's a problem in every system, but it should be noted that most start menu
items include the uninstaller right next to the loader.  That's not
necessarily a bad thing.

(What do y'all think about dual functionality file/folders?)

>3) Menu actions
>[Modal displays kill menus, sucks for email]

I agree, but don't alot of windowing systems do this?  Anyway, re: e-mail,
Outlook Express is a wee bit smarter :-)  You just get a tiny little window
opening up on your taskbar.  Doesn't even take up space if you don't have
new mail.

>[Menus should stay open if a modal display comes up]

Should they still be navigatable?  Or should the interface not be able to
force the user to deal with something?

>4) Default Panel Buttons
>Windows start bar can only use the start menu.  Period.  If you want
>a separate quick-launch button or menu, you need a separate launcher.
>As a result, you need two "panels" taking up screen real estate.  The
>only other items on the start bar are currently running apps, and the
>system tray.

Fixed in 98.  Now the Interface Heathens have a quicklaunch bar and it's
drop-dead simple to drag and drop from the start menu to the quicklaunch

>GNOME panel currently uses the one gnomeprint button.  It can be
>reconfigured by the user to reflect his/her wishes.  I.e., if I want
>a System menu, an apps menu, and a "Trash Can"; it is possible.

No different than the Start Menu.  You can have the Recycling Bin in the
start menu :-)

>  The
>default is acceptable--as long as GNOME advertizes the fact that it
>can be reconfigured.  If you "market" customizability, then the users
>will expect to be able to customize it.

Users customize that which is easy.  Nothing more.

>All in all, I think the panel is good as it is for the default setup.
>It is already 10 times better in each portion of UI that can be compared
>with Windows.  This is coming from a Windows basher.

Not exactly the most objective source :-)

>  I do have to
>concede that Windows has a few good ideas, but I believe their
>implementation could be better.


>  I like having a "start menu" as a single
>point of access.


>  I like being able to switch to other apps via the
>task bar (this should NOT be in the panel BTW, it is a window manager


>I like being able to view the current time at a glance.  I do
>not like the static appearance of the windows.  I do not like the way
>it treats menus (which most OS's treat it the same way--example where
>convention is bad).  I don't like most of the native key-bindings (I
>grew up on a Mac).

Aren't keybindings reconfigurable?

>Can we move on to app specific details we all need to know for the UI
>guidelines now?

We can't even agree on a default keyspace to be isolated from applications
yet:-)  We'll move onto apps when Bowie puts out a beta style guide.

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