[Bf-funboard] Expanding the menus - proposals

Matt Ebb bf-funboard@blender.org
Sun, 10 Aug 2003 13:38:02 +1000


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ton Roosendaal" <ton@blender.org>

> The three proposals mentioned in this mail are very hard to choose
> from... although I think the third one is most confusing. Is "add
> strip" for the sequencer located in the top bar? And more of these
> questions... If we cannot find a very coherent & predictable rule for
> where menu items can be found, we better not choose for '3'.

Well the 'rule' that I was thinking of, is similar to how I perceived it
organised in Maya and XSI: Options regarding global stuff (like file
opening/saving, rendering, help) + options regarding objects
(adding/modifying/transforming) go in the main menu bar. Specific tasks that
only apply to that particular window (such as changing the keyframe
interpolation type of a key in an IPO) go in the 'window space' menu. In the
examples I gave of the window space menus in XSI, all the options are very
specific to the tasks in that window.

> You also deliberately choose not to propose the XSI variant, with about
> everything   in the main menu? I also think that would be a mess...

Well actually although the XSI menu is HUGE, it is still divided between the
main menu and the window space menus. For example you can't do things like
changing keyframe interpolation from the main menu. But of course, having so
many top-level options is a complete mess.

>  From a 'how Blender works' perspective, the 2nd option could work
> fine... but you don't mention the main 'con', and that's that window
> headers currently draw a 'toolbar', which now easily disappears out of
> sight... OTH, quite some of the toolbar options can be relocated to a
> pull down menu.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking - I think it would be good (and be more
understandable) to move more of those little buttons into a text menu. Right
now, there are so many little buttons, all with icons that don't mean much
on first glance, and I would guess that most users wouldn't use them anyway.
Advantages are:
* 1. Organising some of those buttons in hierarchical text menus is easier
to explore. If there is one nice central 'view' menu containing things like
view centering, drawtypes, top/front/side view selectors, I think it would
be a lot clearer than having those separate little buttons with no text
descriptions (especially since the individual items in rowbuts don't have
* 2. Currently, there are so many little buttons (particularly in the 3D
viewport) that it becomes very visually noisy. "Can't see the forest for the
trees". If this were to be simplified, it would be much easier to draw
attention to the buttons that are important, and make people more willing to
use them rather than just ignore them from the 'noisyness'.

> Most obvious 'con' is this extra click... which can be annoying when
> you've pressed a material button or so, and then want to add a new
> object in a 3d window.

Yeah, that's mainly what I meant by 'another mode'. It's another thing for
the user to worry about and keep in mind. One thing I really like about
Blender, is that it has this really nice smooth feeling. Because of the
'mouseover makes window active' idea, you move the mouse around over the
different windows and can use the different functions in them with the
hotkeys. I can move in object in the 3D view, then quickly move my mouse
over the Ipo window and move the keyframes with the same hotkeys, then move
back for more 3D editing. I really like the way Blender 'flows' like this,
and I think having to click in each viewport all the time would interrupt

With the number 1 option, if I want to do the above steps with the menus,
it's more clumsy and I'm guessing would feel less 'polished'. I move from 3D
viewport to the Ipo window, then click in the window first, then move the
mouse to the top menu and select the option there, then move the mouse back
down. If the menus were attached to the window spaces, I wouldn't have to
click in the window first to 'unlock' the main menu, so I can use it. I
could just move the mouse over from the 3D window and just click directly on
the 'key' menu (or whatever) attached to the Ipo window.

> So... didn't make up my mind really on it.

Me either, actually.. But at least we're getting closer! :)

I definitely like those guidelines. Makes things much clearer.

I wouldn't worry about the 'modes' so much right now - I think that's a
different topic, outside the scope of this menu discussion.

> (sorry for the long text, didn't intend it!)

Heh, me either! Last few days of being sick with heaps of free time before I
got back to work on Monday :P