improving usability of the 'recent documents' menu

Michael Frank msfrank at
Tue Dec 20 01:41:58 GMT 2005

On Mon, 2005-12-19 at 01:22 -0500, Ryan Lortie wrote:
> I realised today that I really don't use the "recent documents" feature
> of the Places menu at all.
> I think the reason for this is that the menu item is in a really
> inconvenient place and barely recognisable at all.
> I think the functionality would be a lot easier to find and use if the
> "recent documents" item were moved to the top of the places menu.  It
> might also be worth while to move the search item up there too (but not
> above recent documents).

I was confused by Ryan's complaint, until i realized his configuration
is different from mine, with the panel on the top of the screen, meaning
the distance ones mouse has to travel to the Recent Documents menu item
after clicking the Places menu is the full length of the menu.  I have
the panel oriented on the bottom of the screen (yeah yeah, more
windows-y), so to me after clicking on Places the Recent Documents item
is handily the first entry and the shortest distance away.

Anyhoo, this begs the question: would fitts law dictate that inverting
the orientation of the panel inverts the ordering of menu items?  or do
we follow the rule of least surprise and keep the ordering static?

Personally my vote is to keep everything as it is, since I consider my
configuration to be ideal =)


Michael Frank               .~.
msfrank at    /v\
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