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Re: [Pan-devel] Re-organizing the menus

From: Torstein Sunde
Subject: Re: [Pan-devel] Re-organizing the menus
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 00:54:37 +0200

Toni Willberg wrote:

> It seems to be intentional that there are no submenus in the Pan
> currently. This causes the menu lists to be quite long, even too long
> and messy in some cases, thus reducing usability and increasing
> beginner's frustration level.

I strongly disagree.  The rather flat menu structure of Pan makes it
easy to get an overview of what's in the menus, so you can locate the
desired command without browsing through the submenus.

Navigating through additional submenus is also slower.

The menu structure will become much more messy with a lot of submenus.

> Menu items that are often used via mouse (for example "Post to
> Newsgroup"), should naturally stay under 1st level menu. But menu
> items that are rarely used with mouse may be located under a submenu
> whenever possible. Advanced and heavy users will use keyboard
> shortcuts anyway.

Your menu structure suggestion shows that you have a different
conception than I have about what menu items are most often used.
For instance, I often switch filters (including one of my custom
filters).  I also switch servers quite often.  As far as I remember,
I earlier (Pan 0.12.1, or was it another newsreader?) had to go
through a submenu to switch servers, and I found that somewhat
annoying then.

> The menu items are not there just to show what the keyboard shortcut
> keys are, the help is for that!

What help?

Modern software should ideally be designed in a way that makes a manual
or help file unnecessary, except for advanced options that few people
need.  I think the fact that Pan is one of the most frequently used
newsreaders for Linux, even though there is no manual, indicates that
Pan is quite successful in this respect.

Ideally, those advanced options should be covered by context specific
help menus, like those Pan has for the "Save Article As..." dialogue
and date format.

Showing the keyboard shortcuts in the menus is a user-friendly way
of learning them.  If they weren't shown, I'd still be using the
menus for most of the commands I now use the keyboard for.

> Afaik all possible stuff does not even
> need to be in the menu. They could be hidden, and could be used only
> by keyboard in some cases. This would simplify the menus even more.

I'm very much against removing anything from the menus, making keyboard
the only option.  The new user will need the basic commands in the menus
anyway.  The somewhat more experienced user will tend to use the
keyboard for the basic commands, but will need menus for the others.

Those who have the patience to browse through the manual each time
they've forgotten a command or need to learn a new one, tend to use
SLRN anyway.  I never liked SLRN, and I hope Pan don't move in that

> My suggestion would reduce number of 1st level menus from ten to six.

Why on earth should we do that?  It's much more convenient having
ten top level menus and few submenus, for the reasons I've already
pointed out.

Space should be no issue, at least with English menus, as the labels
of the menu bar fills less than half the screen width at 1024x768
resolution.  That's even sufficient for 640x480.

I do however agree about doing something about the Tools menu, as
people often look in Edit and Edit->Preferences for options that are
in Tools.  I think Preferences and the preferences-type items from
Tools should be in the same menu.

Some alternatives:
- Move Task Manager and Log Viewer to View (or Help for the Log
Viewer), and the other items from Tools to the Edit menu.
- Move Task Manager and Log Viewer to View (or Help), renaming
Tools to "Settings", and moving Preferences to Settings.
- Simply move Preferences to Tools.

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