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Month: January 2011

Re: [trinity-users] Kmenu Reasoning Explained

From: "David C. Rankin" <drankinatty@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 17:50:22 -0600
On 01/23/2011 07:05 AM, Katheryne Draven wrote:
> On 1/22/11, Robert Xu <robxu9@...> wrote:
>> On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 22:35, John A. Sullivan III

>>> I don't like lots of submenus either but there are so many options
>>> available in Linux that the huge menus which can popup are more
>>> cumbersome and confusing that the submenus.  I think we need to find a
>>> reasonable balance - John

Exactly, the key is balance. I understand that people have personal preference
for "more or less" or "standard menu verses kickoff", but there is no
replacement for a clean default menu. When a menu expands to 2 columns, my eyes
glaze over hunting for the app I want hoping like heck that it is "Named"
correctly. Desktops get completely unusable very quickly when know applications
get hidden under some ridiculous "Description - Name" layout in whatever menu
you use. For example, in July, my apps disappeared and this was what greeted me
in lost+found:


One thing that absolutely drove me crazy with the kickoff style menu was
everything was hidden from view and it was (and still is unnavigable). Even with
icon size reduced to 22-28, you click on System and only see the first 8 or so
submenus or entries and then you have to 'scroll' hoping what you want is
somewhere further down in the list and then repeat the process until you find
the right menu or submenu. Horribly inefficient. The 'search' feature fails in
this regard because if you use it, it doesn't tell you where the app you found
lives. That's one of the reasons I have always preferred the traditional kmenu
over kickoff -- it was much more visual.

Another issue with kickoff is the 'Favorite' view. If what you want is already
in your favorites, then your fine, but it not, then it is back to the game of
hide-and-seek. The default kickoff is basically empty. So for the new user, you
are forced to go 'build a menu' before it becomes usable. Then the limitations
of the kickoff become apparent. If you use no more than 10 apps, you will
probably be OK after you add everything to the favorites. If you use more, then
it is back to hunting for apps or scrolling through a list that extends out of
site defeating the 'fly-out' auto opening of subs for access.

>> The way I see it, we should try to create a submenu that has a broad
>> meaning but doesn't completely include all the apps.
>> For example, we could say Office > Management for finance and other
>> such applications such as to-do lists
>> And also Office > Processors for Word/Spreadsheet/Presentation Processors...
>> I forgot to mention - no more than one submenu.

I respect Robert's input here. (I assume Robert means a maxdepth of 2 (toplevel
+ 1-sublevel) when speaking of 'no more than one submenu') When I click on a
menu or submenu, I only want to see a dozen or so entries. At most -- a single
column on a 900 px height display. If the menu entries are logical and
descriptive, I don't think a maxdepth of 3 is necessary, even considering the
number of utilities and apps that need a home in the menu. I think it can all be
done with:

  quick list of 3-5 most used apps
  quick list of 3-5 most used apps
  quick list of 3-5 most used apps

	The key here is toplevel design. When you click on kmenu

> With regard to multiple submenus. Over 4 years of testing has shown me
> people aren't put off my them, so long as they are logically ordered
> and well labeled. 


What does put them off, is being bombarded by
> dozens, even hundreds of apps under one or two submenus (choice, both
> the beauty and curse of FOSS). With multiple, logically labeled,
> submenus they can just follow along. They key is, logical progression,
> informative labeling, and this is also the rub. A problem I've been
> dealing with for a while, I'm close but I need help. So I'm thankful
> for this opportunity.

Well put.


> FOSS is said to be about freedom of
> knowledge, how can that knowledge be passed on if everything is being
> dumbed down.

dumbed down = frustratingly useless

No one expects to go into any desktop and not expect some type of learning
curve. Logic and clarity minimizes the frustration and allows the reasonable
user to find the app or information they need with the minimum of learning. You
can 'focus group' what the 'average joe' thinks is the correct name for a menu
or application should be to the point of absurdity and then end up with menu
entries like "My Computer" that pop up more windows and tabs and buttons that
eventually show you a MAC address (or whatever).

The point being, providing a logical working menu that correctly identifies and
categorizes applications and information is far easier to learn than some
esoteric set of 'cute' names that eventually lead somewhere. (you can memorize
the telephone book with enough effort, but once you have succeeded, you have
actually learned nothing except how to memorize)

That is why I applaud this effort and think the result will, while keeping
Robert's caution about "how Fedora butcher's theirs" in mind, be one of the best
standardizations that Trinity can do.

> There is a difference between making something accessible and useless.
> I have faith in people's ability to adapt and learn. I've seen it in
> action and I'm willing to bet on it by building something better.
> /action: Kate hops off her soapbox pulpit.

I think you are doing a fantastic job and taking the right approach -- soapbox
and all. I can't wait to see what results.

(Now back to figuring out how to build trinity on Arch so I can dump the old
version of KDEmod3 for good :-)

David C. Rankin, J.D.,P.E.
Rankin Law Firm, PLLC
510 Ochiltree Street
Nacogdoches, Texas 75961
Telephone: (936) 715-9333
Facsimile: (936) 715-9339