New menu proposal

Fábio Mendes niels_bohr at
Thu Sep 23 02:47:51 UTC 2004

I found the new ubuntu gnome-menu a little disorganized, so I'm
proposing a new organization which (IMHO) is more logical. The icons are
just placeholders and I'm not proposing to change them. Rob Diehl has
kindly hosted screenshots in the addresses:

It's nice to have some separation between "user space files" and "files
that the user can find in his computer". So I grouped together the Home
folder, trash, documents folder and recent documents. I think that
"home" is old style and non-descriptive. In my opinion "Personal files"
would be better, but other suggestions are most welcome.

So the next section is where to put "Files you can find in this
computer". "Discs and external media" seems to be a little more
descriptive name than "Computer". This will obviouslly go here. The next
one, "Network places" would be happy in this section since gnome is
network transparent so files in other computers are accessed more or
less as local files. "Search for files" would be good for searching
files either in the root filesystem and in home folder. So being such a
broad feature, IMHO it will play better in this section than it would in
the former.

The next is the "logout/shutdown" menu. Since logout and shutdown are
really different acctions, I think they deserve a different treatment.
Some users don't know what "logout" is and neither that you have to
"logout" first to then shutdown your computer. Ideally, the "Log out as
a different user" will prompt the user if he/she wants to just logout,
to login with a different user in a different screen and would also show
a list of logged users (with screen pictures!) so the user can pick up
one and get back to it's screen. This is better from a usability
standpoint than XP approach (which get the users back to the login
screen), experienced unix users won't care since ctrl+alt+f7-f12 is much
faster, but I seems to make sense for newbies. I don't know how easy it
would be to implement this, these are just random thoughts.

The different applications section will go here, no questions! :)
The next one "Run application makes really more sense here as in Ubuntu
(differently from vanilla gnome). I couldn't find a nice place to put
the "Take a screenshot feature" so it's here :). Maybe it could do
better in under the "Applications" menu or as a applet. 

So the next section, which I'd call "Control your box" have two
suggestive "help" and "about" icons (the second directs you to website) which will always remind the user "READ THE
DOCUMENTATION!" Gnome is not and is not meant to be a GUI which will
organize all possible user needs under a big dreadfull "wizard" which
will ask you 100 hundred lame questions to point that you have to mark
"on" your ethernet card under the suspicious "Network options" to gain
internet access via LAN (mind windows 2000's IE?). Documentation is here
to help the users in such cases, so there is no need to go through 100's
of pages of "wizards" and "druids" that will just display the same
documentation text in a fancy way. This is not bad/lame/lazy usability
design (but documentation can always be poor!). 

After you know what to do, or if you feel brave to explore the options,
there is the "Gnome control center" (mind "gnome-control-center --use-
shell"). This is fancy nautilus window which displays all icons relating
Computer configuration and User preferences. We can cathegorize these
tools in more fine-grained classes such as (Network, Periphericals etc)
but this deserves a lot more thought.

And where the heck are the desktop icon, system configurations and users

If we assume that the desktop will have almost no use (ex.: will not
present the usefull home/trash/computer icons) so why bother putting a
icon in the menu? If we assume users will use their desktop as a
"brainstorm area" to flood with random stuff to then organize them, it's
better to use the desktop applet since it will show itself more usefull
for that matter.

System configuration and user preferences are nicely grouped in
"Applications >> Control center" so I'm avoiding redundance. We expect
that almost nobody will be changing those options in a dayly basis,
since once the system is configured to work nicely and suite users
tastes, there is no point to change it. :). So I don't see why to
provide a quick 2-clicks access to all those applets by putting them in
a menu. Clutterness is also a usability issue so we want a uncluttered
menu (mind konqueror: everything is one or 2 clicks away, but you can't
find!). I think that gnome-control-center is a pretty intuitive place to
put stuff.

Thanks for your time,

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