Friday, May 09, 2008

Circular Menus and Usability

Circular menus. Ever heard of them? I'm not sure if they have an "official" or "common" name, but this name is pretty descriptive.

Circular menus are superior in usability to the typical rectangular slide-out menu. Why? Because, ideally, each menu item is the same distance from the initial pointer position as each other item. Look at the iPod buttons, for example. Play/Pause, the most common function, is in the middle, and the other functions are equal distances from there.

Also check out the SecondLife context "spin menu". The pie pops up surrounding the cursor, and all the available options are an equal twitch away from the center.

Submenus? Just expand the circle. For example, here's a quick mockup I made converting much of my current FireFox context menu into a pie menu:"    (Continued via Tech Knack)    [Usability Resources]

Circular Menu - Usability, User Interface Design

Circular Menu

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