Re: [Usability] Mac-style menus?

David Feldman wrote:

Has anyone attempted to implement Mac-style menus - that is, a global menu bar (in a panel) that contains the menus for the frontmost app or window?

There are several usability advantages (some well-described in an article I can't seem to find):

- Fitts' Law states that the time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to it and its size. By putting menus along one edge of the screen we effectively increase their size in one dimension to infinity. In more mundane terms, we eliminate a lot of mousing around necessary when someone overshoots the menus - only the direction to them has to be right, not the distance.

- Once one is accustomed to the Mac menu bar, it provides some nice context for the current app regardless of what windows are open. In the case of something like Firefox this doesn't matter all that much. But for a multi-window app like the GIMP it could be nice: Users won't have to guess which window's menus to go to, or which window to close to close the app (in essence, which is the "master" window). The master window's menus would be in the panel, including a global Quit function.

I imagine this couldn't be done perfectly, but that a window manager could pull the menus out of their windows and dump them in a panel. Has anyone tried this?

I agree Mac style menus would be nice. But unfortunately there are many applications that are not written in Gnome, that would not benefit from this. The result would be an inconsistent looking desktop where the advantages is lost to inconsistency. Even KDE apps that have this feature would look odd since they most likely would have a different looking mac style menu.

This is really a question for, where some kind of standard for mac style menus could be developed. Perhaps they could introduce a new component in the X window system called a menu manager that applications could call to show their menus. We already have window managers, sesssion managers, ... that are largely interoperable between different
free desktop flavors, so why not one more for menus.

However, even if standards and implementations for such a component was developed it would take quite some time before legacy applications not supporting the new functionality was replaced.

Uno Engborg

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