[Bf-funboard] Menus and toolbox intentions

Thunderbolt bf-funboard@blender.org
Thu, 7 Aug 2003 14:13:39 -0700 (PDT)

I totally agree that the Maya style hotbox isn't very
efficient. It looks like they actually have a
'two-tier' pie menu, where the use has to move past
the first 'ring', to the outer ring,  which negates
much of the speed advantage that single tier pie menus

Sounds like a very good overall design philosephy to
me, especially the use of pie menus whenever possible

--- Matt Ebb <matt@mke3.net> wrote:
> I thought I'd send this in a separate email since
> it's about more general
> ideas.
> From some of the responses I've read, I feel I
> haven't been clear enough
> about my intentions for this project with the menu
> and toolbox. So I'll lay
> it all out in the open for debate lest I confuse
> people or seem like I have
> hidden agendas ;) Warning: large semi-rant
> approaching!
> Right now, Blender's menu and toolbox are quite
> disjointed. Neither of them
> contain all the functions available, they are
> organised differently to each
> other for no visible reason, they contain different
> sets of functions, are
> not organised very logically, and so on. It seems
> that there's not much of a
> guiding design to how they are, and if there is, at
> least I can't see it :P
> So I'd like to make their roles clearer and more
> functional.
> In other software there are a few different
> philosophies about how they
> should operate. Usually, the main menu bar is used
> as a big organised
> structure of all the different features in the
> application. The Apple
> philosophy is that every feature in the app should
> be accessible from the
> menu bar. I tend to agree with this idea for reasons
> I've mentioned before:
> easier and more accessible for newbies to 'explore'
> the app and discover and
> experiment with features, easy way to learn hotkeys,
> easy to find
> 'forgotten' features since you can use spatial
> menory and the structure
> helps to find what you're looking for - if you
> forget a hotkey, you're in
> trouble, but if you forget a menu item, you can
> think "well, it's an editing
> funtion so I'll check in 'edit'... *checks* ... oh
> there it is!". Because of
> these things, one major aim of the main menu is to
> have an emphasis on
> logical organisation. It's more important that the
> structure of the menus is
> clear and well organised, then it is to be efficient
> (there are alternatives
> such as hotkeys for efficiency).
> Now a lot of software nowadays has a toolbox type
> thing in addition to the
> main menu, for accessing features. While Maya's
> radial hotbox layout is a
> good idea, I think the implementation is a big
> mistake. Maya's hotbox
> (screenshot: 
> is
> basically just the main menu arranged in a circle.
> Since the idea of having
> a hotbox that appears right where your mouse is, is
> to have super fast
> efficient access to features that doesn't get in the
> way of working, simply
> repeating the menu again seems to me like a *huge*
> waste of potential and
> speed. Rather than having better access to the
> features that the user needs
> to access quickly, time and time again, with Maya's
> hotbox, the user only
> saves about half a second (the time it would take to
> move the mouse away
> from the workspace to the top menu bar), since the
> user has to navigate the
> same structure as the top menu anyway. I'd even be
> willing to bet that on
> MacOS, there is no advantage to the hotbox over the
> top menu bar, because of
> fitt's law
> and
> that the menu bar may even be faster. I don't
> understand the choice to just
> replicate all the options of the main menu in the
> hotbox - the more options
> that are in the hotbox, the more crowded (and
> difficult to find items) it
> becomes. Who needs fast split-second access to menus
> like 'Help'??
> Another approach, which I'm much more of a fan of,
> is what 3DS Max uses (Ton
> mentioned this before). Max uses a 4-paned
> contextual menu for its toolbox,
> which gives relevant options what whatever kind of
> mode you're working in at
> the time. Screenshots here:
> I personally think this is a much better approach,
> since it really takes
> advantage of the fast access with the toolbox, and
> gives you direct access
> to the tools themselves - no need to navigate
> through layers upon layers of
> menu structure.
> So, for Blender, I propose this:
> * Use the top main menu as a well organised and
> structured list of all of
> Blender's features that will feasibly work in a menu
> * Change the toolbox into a combination of Max's and
> Maya's:
>   - Display context-sensitive features that can be
> accessed directly with
> one mouse click
>   - Also have one or more *additional*
> buttons/options that will replicate
> (perhaps in a manner similar to Gimp's right-click
> menu? I don't know) the
> main menus as well
>   - Use radial (pie menu) layout as much as possible
> (articles at
> www.piemenus.com)
> So... any opinions? :)
> Matt
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Ryan Freckleton


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