Expanding the menus (updated 21/09)

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matt_e
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Expanding the menus (updated 21/09)

Post by matt_e » Mon Aug 04, 2003 1:46 pm

Big update 21/09 on page 2


Many people have talked about putting more of Blender's 'hidden' hotkey actions into the menus too so they can be accessed either way. I've started doing some experiments on my own, with putting more in the menus and re-organising them to be more 'standardised'. The aim is to offer an alternative way of working, for people who like to see all the features visible and organised (instead of just hard to understand icons and hotkeys on their own) and to make it a bit easier for new users to explore Blender. I'll post about this to the funboard too.

Does anyone have any ideas about how things should be organised or what options to include? Here are the changes I've played with so far:

(by the way, don't worry about the weird looking Blender - it's just the result of some other experiments I've been doing here :P )

File menu:
Image

Edit menu:
Image

Object menu:
Image

Render menu:
Image

Window menu:
Image
Last edited by matt_e on Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dani
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Post by Dani » Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:25 pm

Very interesting!

The idea of offering an alternative (that word is really important) to the users and to explicit blender for the newbies is very good!

AND! I really like the way your blender looks... it's relaxing and sober, surely very confortabe to work with (more confortable than the actuel tuhopuu I beleive)

keep it up! you're doing some great work! Blender needs it!
do you think this changes will make it in some release?

Dani

Pablosbrain
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Post by Pablosbrain » Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:16 pm

Yes... I too like the way your blender looks. Very clean and its a bit darker which I like! I would love to see your visual stylings of blender in the next release! The additional menu items are also very welcome!

nyoxi
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Post by nyoxi » Mon Aug 04, 2003 8:47 pm

I think adding actions that can be accessed using hotkeys into menu. This helps newbies starting and experienced users still can use hotkeys :D

ideasman
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Post by ideasman » Tue Aug 05, 2003 3:20 am

I agree that adding all the hidden hotkeys to the menu is a good idea.

Halps newbies, or ppl coming back to blender after having a break.

matt_e
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Post by matt_e » Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:32 pm

I've written up a plan that I'm going to try and continue to work towards for the organisation of the items. Please come and give some feedback on the functionality board.

I don't know if or when any of these menus will make it into an official release. I'll add it to tuhopuu soon when the big change-over is done. The functionality board should be able to decide whether it's good to add to an official Blender, so please give suggestions and feedback there. I'm enthusiastic though - just in going through the code and hotkey lists to make these menus, I rediscovered features that I'd completely forgotten about and one that I didn't know existed! Hopefully this can have the same effect for others.

I've done some small changes, rearranged the items a bit to be more standardised, and added an Animation menu:
Image

and a 'placeholder' Help menu :P :
Image

Cheers

bleber
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intelligent menus

Post by bleber » Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:30 pm

a sugestion, it become i n my mind.... je je

put some intelligence to the menus, for example, the most used order, come to the first place in the menu, in these case the menus autometically reorfamitzet for the personal user perfomance

Pablosbrain
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Post by Pablosbrain » Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:16 pm

Reordering the top drop down menus would just be bloat. When the spacebar/popup menu becomes context sensitive then it would be more appropriate to start to have some way to get to frequently used items. But top menus should not reorganize themselves. Look at the windows XP start menu. It only has one small section that reorganizes it self.. not the entire menu. The entire menu only reorganizes if you do it yourself. And I wouldn't think the extra time in coding would be worth it.

nyoxi
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Post by nyoxi » Tue Aug 05, 2003 8:04 pm

Please. No inteligence in menu, no dynamic reorganisation! :x I hate this, theres no reason to do this. It's good when the menu items are still on the same position, because you can remember it and this can make your navigation through menu faster.

ilac
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Post by ilac » Tue Aug 05, 2003 8:20 pm

As I've said before - I really really love the lok of your menu's!! If not for the gradients I really like the proposals you've put forward! they make the interface look leaner & cleaner while still looking like blender (except for the... ...I think I've said it enough times :P )

In terms of suggestions:

I'm not sure about the term 'details' under Object>details. I would expect a details option to return loads of information like materials, layer, etc etc. Not really sure what it should be called though. Maybe, 'Translation properties'? Which implies these are details related solely to the translation of the object.

How about adding:

'Swap render buffer' 'J'

under the render menu? A very useful function for comparing 2 renders. Not sure how many non-hardcore users know about it.

One other thing. not sure if it will make the menus too long, but maybe the hotkeys should be written in the format presented in the Blender manuals ie IKEY, AKEY, MKEY etc etc. Just for consistancy?


Keep it up! (minus the... :P )

Regards
Fabrizio

matt_e
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Post by matt_e » Wed Aug 06, 2003 5:44 am

Hi bleber: I don't think having the menu re-organise itself would be a good idea. What nyoxi said is pretty much correct - it helps you to remember the organisation of the items, and also the position to move the mouse to if they menus don't change. Having 'adaptive' menus like in MS Office sounds like a good idea in theory, but when you have to use it, it's actually not that good. Here is a usability study and some articles that mention adaptive menus with more details:

http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usab ... _menus.htm
http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~dcplumer ... ptive.html
http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/book/j_raskin_1.html

Thanks for the feedback though, it's good when people speak up!


ilac: I understand your concerns ;) Although I don't personally agree, maybe some sort of compromise can be made, but keep in mind these screenshots are my own personal experiments - nothing official atm. Anyway that's the topic for another thread, not this one.

I agree about 'Details...'. Though I have given it some thought so far, I think the language used on the labels could be improved in some areas. Translation would not be a good label though - translation means location, position, movement but the N key dialog has rotation and scale as well. Perhaps you were thinking of transformation which is a correct term for this sort of thing. I think Transformation Properties... would be a good label.

I would like to add more of the controls for the render buffer for example J to swap, Z to zoom and many of the others too, but I think they don't belong in the main window - there is no action or visual feedback taking place in the main window, so having the menu there would be confusing. I think as a future thing, it would be good to have a menu on the render buffer window, or at least a right-click context menu. I'm not sure how to implement this myself though, but it's worth investigating.

I don't think using the IKEY, AKEY, MKEY format would be good. Firstly, it makes it a lot more difficult to determine the hotkey at a glance, since the user can't recognise the shape of the letterform easily. With lots of

KEY
KEY
KEY

all in a row, it becomes more like visual background noise and makes it more likely for the user to just ignore it when skim-reading. Besides, I'm also trying to be more 'standardised', and all other menus in other software and OSes just use the letter alone.

Thanks very much for your feedback - it's very helpful :)


By the way, in case anyone's interested, I've found Apples Human Interface Guidelines to be a useful resource for designing menus. Of course things like this shouldn't necessarily be followed 100%, but can offer useful advice.

Eric
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Location: Sweden, Norrköping

Post by Eric » Wed Aug 06, 2003 11:45 am

There's still one problem with having a menu this big. That the top list would be too long even for 1024x768 displays. I know about the "hide menu" button, but that'll not solve the problem, only partly.

matt_e
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Post by matt_e » Wed Aug 06, 2003 11:56 am

Well, here's a screenshot at 1024 pixels wide:
http://mke3.net:9000/blender/ui/menus/menu_1024.png

All the controls and menus fit in ok, though it cuts off the info text. It's usually also possible to scroll the window headers with the middle mouse button, but for some reason this is not taking the info text into account (I think I might know how to solve this though).

Maybe another solution would be to have a user preference to toggle the displaying the info text in the 3D viewport (like the game debug text or the 'object info' text). This would also have the advantage of using more descriptive labels such as:
Vertices: 123
Faces: 456


rather than:
Ve: 123 Fa: 456

Hmmm...

Eric
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Post by Eric » Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:20 pm

Thought the top header is the only header that doesn't scroll with MMB.

But I'm sure you'll solve this, you have so many great ideas. :)

matt_e
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Post by matt_e » Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:41 pm

It does - if you resize the window so it's really narrow (like 200 pixels) you can scroll it there, but it seems to only scroll the 'buttons'. Within the Blender code, the menus, screen selector and scene selector are treated as 'buttons'. The info text is not, so it won't scroll. I think it should be able to change this so it will scroll, but I'll need some help from a better coder :P
Last edited by matt_e on Wed Aug 06, 2003 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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