Posted Oct 26, 2010 12:27 UTC (Tue) by pboddie
In reply to: Global menu
Parent article: Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
It's much easier to hit menus at the top the screen. Your mouse hits the edge of the screen and stops.
What you're describing is the sacred, venerated beast of the amateur usability "experts" inhabiting such juvenile venues as "OS News": Fitts' Law, or a convenient interpretation of it. What such "experts" frequently refuse to concede - and I remember arguments about this a decade-and-a-half ago - is that pop-up menus are even easier to target. Such discussions are taboo because the "experts" don't want to re-assess that other sacred design choice of the original Mac: the one-button mouse.
Back when screen space was tight, some way of reducing the impact of menus had to be found: the Mac Finder solution involved the global menu, whereas RISC OS employed pop-up menus almost exclusively, mostly because that system (like Sun's offerings) had three mouse buttons to put to good use. But as screen space increased, it became natural to attach menus to application windows, particularly on systems with a heritage of proper multitasking (in other words, not the Mac).
I think that if you're comfortable with non-maximised windows or more than one such window on the same screen, you're probably going to make good use of window-specific menus. Meanwhile, if you maximise all your windows, you get more or less the effect of a global menu, anyway. Consequently, the Mac-style global menu seems like an anachronism.
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