Reprise of the panel layout proposal

The first mentioning of this proposal got sidetracked
when just about everybody discussed some of the panels
in the layout not being removable and no one discussed
any other of its merits or demerits. So, to reiterate,
here it is, with some changes in phrasing:


This config is the part that is nonremovable except by
advanced users (presuming that GNOME 2.0 has user
levels). It has two panels: a modified menu panel, a
slightly modified aligned panel in the lower-right
hand corner containing solely a pager.

Menu Panel

**Detailed description of the menu panel**

The menu panel would have only two items: a menu
labeled the "Main Menu" at the left end, and a menu
labeled "Running Tasks" at the right end. 

The "Main Menu" would be pretty much the GNOME "start"
menu. It would have at least five entries: "Programs",
"Settings", and "Help", "Lock screen" and "Logout".
There should not be *much* more than five entries,
though, maybe just a distribution or vendor-specific
menu, if that. 

The "Running Tasks" menu would be a list of, well,
running tasks that would be no different then what one
gets now if one clicks on the icon at the right end of
the current menu. However, if there were no running
tasks, the menu would have an item, saying "No tasks
running right now".

This menu panel, as with the current one, would not be
movable; it would always be at the top of the screen.

**Justification for the setup of the menu panel**

The reason for labeling the menu listing the tasks
"Running Tasks" rather than leaving as it is now, a
menu labeled by a small icon representing the
running task, is that the term "Running Tasks" is
descriptive and looks like a menu label, while the
icon currently used doesn't look like a menu label at
all, and it is easy to overlook.

Further, having the "Running Tasks" menu have an entry
when there are no running tasks, rather than be
empty when there are no running tasks (as it is now),
is because 1) an empty menu is nearly invisible, so
that a user might click on an empty "Running Tasks"
menu and conclude that the menu does nothing or is
broken 2) an empty menu looks wrong or broken, so that
users who click on an empty "Running Tasks" menu and
*do* see the speck of an empty menu might conclude
that the menu is broken.

Also, "No tasks running right now" is a good choice
for the entry in the "Running Tasks" menu when there
are no running tasks because it not only shows that
there are, well, no running tasks, but that there
could be running tasks as the session goes on--which
is why the entry is "No tasks running right now" not
just "No tasks running". "Right now" also hints to the
user that the contents of the menu change with time.

I figure that a menu labeled "Main Menu" will probably
be more obvious than a menu from a button with a GNOME
logo, and that a user looking for where to change
settings or find help would probably go to "Main Menu"
just to see if what they are looking for might be
there. This is also why "Settings" and "Help" are in
this main menu, and also why the menu has only a
handful of entries, so that "Settings" and "Help"
would be easy to find.

The proposed layout of the menu panel is motivated by
several reasons: 

1) Fitts' Law. The "Main Menu" and the "Running Tasks"
are likely to be frequently accessed, so it makes
sense to put them at corners of the screen where the
user can just zoom the mouse right over.

2) Having a "Running Tasks" menu available means that
a user who does not have room for both a tasklist
applet and all their other panel "stuff", especially
buttons, can still have something to use to quickly
access running tasks.

3) A "Main Menu" better accounts for entries that
don't "fit" well into categories, such as "Lock
Screen", "Log Out", "Run ...". Currently, these are
under the "System" menu of the menu panel, a menu that
seems to be an ambiguously named catch-all for things
that don't fit well under the "Programs" or "Help"

A "Main Menu" is also in a sense an ambiguously named
catch-all menu, but one that seems to suggest that it
is the menu to go to if one is in doubt about what
part of the GUI to go to do "stuff", whatever that
"stuff" is.

4) Simplicity. With only two menus, there are fewer
places to look for "stuff", and those places stand out

Aligned Panel with Pager

**Detailed description of the aligned panel with

This panel, as said before, would solely contain a
pager and be in the lower right-hand corner.

The modifications, which are old and much-flamed over
news, would be 1) the panel applet could not be
removed from the panel (except by advanced users), and
2) the panel itself could not be removed (except by
advanced users).

**Justification for the setup of this panel**

A pager of some sort is needed to navigate workspaces.


Aligned Panel with Buttons and/or applets

This panel would contain various buttons and applets.
The default contents would vary depending on the
distributor or vendor. Sun, for example, might have
icons for StarOffice, the HotSpot browser, and a
terminal. Ximian might have icons for Evolution and
Red Carpet. By default, the panel would have hide

The main modification would be to have a message
dialog pop up if the panel were removed telling how to
get the panel back. Other than that, it would be a
normal panel.

**Justification for the setup of this panel**

The point of this panel is 1) to be a dock for
commonly used apps, and 2) to show off what the GNOME
panel can do. 

Note that unlike the other two panels, the presence of
this panel is not so critical. If a user removes it by
mistake and can't figure out how to get it back, he or
she can use the menu panel to get real work done.
Thus, this panel could be removable without too much
harm done.


If you have comments about the layout of the panels,
*please* make them, especially if you find that they
violate some good UI principles or something like

If you have comments about whether the proposal is
feasible, definitely send them.

If you have comments about the nonremovability of the
panels, take them to the original thread. The whole
point of me starting this one is to deal with *other*
issues besides that one.


----I am a fool for Christ. Mostly I am a fool.----

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