[LINK] Are GUI design standards no longer relevanr?

Fernando Cassia fcassia at gmail.com
Mon Jan 18 23:35:53 AEDT 2010

On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 8:17 AM, Ivan Trundle <ivan at itrundle.com> wrote:

>  Same with the iPhone, which uses a multitude of icons

Notice my article refers specifically to PC software, not mobile devices
which are screen size constrained.

I have no problem with software developers "innovating"  with their icons of

I have a problem when some GUI designers think their bold new icons are
descriptive enough to ditch CUA-style menus which have been present on GUI
applications as a de-facto standard for the last ~20 years.

Reclaiming screen space, even if a valid argument, can be solved by
auto-hiding those menus, like recent versions of Internet explorer and
WMPlayer do. Or moving those up to the title bar space (like Netscape 8.1
did). But those menus become visible when you press Alt-F, or any other
valid CUA menu keystroke.

At the risk of repeating myself, I quote


"Menus in a menu bar at the top is important. It makes programs look alike
and hence give the same look and feel to different applications on the
computer. If you have used one application you'll know how to use the
others. Cars work the same: Steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal are
in the same place in all cars and work in the same way. Yes Eleanor, also in
French cars. Nowadays.

 User interface design principle: Use menus in the standard way for your
desktop environment. In this way the user does not need to learn a special
way of dealing with your application.
Menus do not only give consistency across applications, they are also quite
useful. They give the action space of the application, i.e. the sum of all
things you can do in the application. User interface design principle: Menus
help users understand what they can do in the application. Many people
browse through the menus to get a feel for what they can do.

Not to mention that such "custom" buttons and lack of CUA menus makes
scripting applications (via any automation tool) dependant on mouse clicks,
instead of sending keystrokes to navigate the menu structure.

"Screen Readers" is other kind of software that becomes impossible to use
without menus.

I used Chrome as an example, but this can be applied to any other
application without menus.

Just my $0.02

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