Monday, July 24, 2006

Nice for Mice: Menu Tabs

The trials and tribulations of creating a UI ...

"Last week, I wrote about some of the work we've done to make the minimized Ribbon work well with the new keyboard model. I even posted a movie showing the new feature in action if you want to see what it looks like.

A few months ago as we were doing the work to build this feature, the developers mentioned that it appeared we had all of the architectural pieces in place to make the minimized Ribbon work better for mouse users as well.

But first, a flashback to early 2004: A couple dozen of us are sitting in a first floor conference room conducting the very first Ribbon spec review.

In this first draft spec for the Ribbon was included a feature we called "Menu Tabs." The idea was this: you could minimize the Ribbon as today, but once it was minimized, there were two ways you could use it.

Left-click un-minimized the Ribbon like usual (exactly like it works in Beta 2.) But if you right-clicked on a tab, you got a popup version of the tab. Once you used a control on the tab or clicked away, the popup tab disappeared and you were back in the minimized state.

Well, Menu Tabs ended up getting cut from the Ribbon design in order to make room for other components of the UI to get built; the cost of developing the feature was too high. And that's where the feature lay, discarded on the cutting room floor, until just a few months ago.

All of the architectural work done over the two years between mid-2004 and mid-2006 made it possible to re-evaluate doing the original Menu Tabs design as part of filling out the minimized Ribbon scenario. So, we decided to give it a try."   (Continued via Jensen Harris)       [Usability Resources]


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