I find well done command interfaces much better than traditional menus for quite a lot of reasons
* they scale better, 10 items is a similiar experience to 100
* they are more discoverable, just start typing a word and go through the list of match (where help can be included)
* they can show information, each command can have a descriptive sentence (and a link to help), icons in a menu sometimes get tiny alt text
* they can adapt to your behaviour, if I use firefox all the time, pressing f in alfred give me firefox
I don't think that's discoverable. That is searchable: they do make it easier to search for a command you require without having to know under which menu to find it.
But they seem to be less discoverable in the sense that you cannot just browse through the menus to discover features. Having said that, there are probably ways to provide the discoverability of current menus, e.g., just list all the main menu items under each other, then typing a main menu item will show its items...
Still, discovering new features is not something you do nearly as often as using features you are familiar with, so the trade off seems to be a good one.
Conventions also matter. Most Linux and GNU utilities offer:
- manpages (or, deprecated, info pages)
- a brief help with some variant of "-h|-?|--help"
- package information under /usr/share/doc/, generally with a pointer to upstream.
They'll often include readline command editing, command completion, and other features, all very useful.
Systems such as Debian's 'dwww' (built in web-enabled documentation integration) allow accessing all of this and more through your browser, if you prefer.
Not all utilities offer this. I've seen more than my share of proprietary CLI tools with very, very poor documentation and discoverability, so this isn't something that's inherent to CLIs. But it's certainly doable.
I see some 3200+ commands available on my search path, plus shell builtins and functions. My shell history includes fewer than 200 ($HISTSIZE=3000).
The situation for GUIs is very nearly always worse. Except for minimal interfaces, it's difficult to present more than a dozen or so options at a time. Some level of predictive completion may help, but in doing so you're starting to bridge the divide between a pure menu and a CLI.
I've found myself preferring CLIs increasingly, even in nominally GUI tools. The vimperator plugin for firefox claws back crucially useful vertical real-estate while offering a very powerful interface to my browser.
That kind of thing sounds like an excellent fit, especially for the programs shown in the accompanying video. Some things just work better with a visual interface - web browsing, graphics work, etc - so the ability to get away from the graphical sparseness of a CLI implementation while keeping its speed and expressiveness sounds like an excellent compromise to me.
The HUD proposal of Shuttleworth, on reading, is actually somewhat similar to how vimperator presently works. I can activate the statusbar with a ':' (same as in vi), and either hit tab or start typing. Though I don't get teh shinay overlay transparent displays, I'll get a list of completions for commands, URLs, bookmarks, etc.
Which is great when you're in front of a keyboard. When I'm using my phone (Android), I'm often annoyed at how niggly the interface is, and how much typing I have to do, in an environment which really does NOT support it well.
There are also users who simply learn things by rote. They don't know the commands, they don't understand the process, they simply click on a known element or (rarely) type something -- rarely more than their username or password. "My mom" or "Aunt Tilly" are the classic (if sexist) examples, but the former is certainly accurate in my case. She actively fears computers and loses about 50% of her confidence the second you park her in front of one.
As much as I think I'd like the HUD, I really do NOT think it would work for her.
Which is where Ubuntu is getting schizoid. For the past five years, it's seemed that the distro has been aiming for wider and broader appeal, with ease-of-use functions that appeal to the 99% (or more accurately, the 99.99%) -- the technologically naive (or illiterate, if you prefer). Which really pisses off this particular element of the 0.01% when I'm stuck on that interface.
It appears that the distro's taking a hard tack in the opposite direction now.
My own suggestion: do NOT aim for a one-size-fits-all interface. Simply ain't gonna work. Sure, all you Mac users will try to convince me otherwise, but aqua's an interface I find myself grossly stymied in.
And considering the announcement here is a road to create a searchable-not-discoverable interface on every individual gui, it seems quite like the project will be something of a train-wreck.
Further, there's no great contradiction between discoverable interfaces and searchable interface. The more "pedestrian" Windows 7 interface also allows one to discover easily as well as google-instant style search.
Tabbing to autocomplete anD double-tabbing to list all alternatives, just like a terminal?
It's so much more efficient and flow-of-thought oriented, and opens up new opportunities for innovation on the desktop (better fuzzy search algorithms, speech control, etc). Glad to see Canonical pushing the tech here.
And if HUD ever gives me "Close Project" when I meant "Close Window", I'm going to throw it out the goddam window.
I like that they're trying new things, but "people like Quicksilver, so people will like something entirely unlike Quicksilver" is terrifyingly bad reasoning.
Use the keyboard shortcuts when they're available or you know them, and HUD when they'er not?
>"people like Quicksilver, so people will like something entirely unlike Quicksilver" is terrifyingly bad reasoning.
If you think HUD is 'entirely unlike' Quicksilver, then you probably need to broaden your world somewhat. They're both just tools, and much more similar than not.
The search set of applications, which are generally fairly distinctly named (especially since the Linux world finally got away from G-everything and K-everything), and menu options, which generally are not because they operate on a small set of concepts, is so vastly different in requirements and behavior that it's like trying to jam a square peg in a round hole. So, yeah, it is (almost) entirely dissimilar.
> power users say things like “every GUI app now feels as powerful as VIM”
A UI designed for keyboard power-users? I suddenly care about Unity again!
Casual Linux users, perhaps? I can't imagine anybody who's ever watched a casual computer user use a computer saying anything like the above quote.
Most people have the mouse in their hand the entire time, and usually don't have their other hand anywhere near the keyboard. Typing involves not only clicking into a box and dropping the mouse, but actually leaning the entire body forward in order to reach the keyboard.
Even I, computer programmer by trade, spend the majority of my life in "first person shooter mode" rather than "typing mode" because most of a web dev's life is debugging things that happen in the browser (a mousish place), and pretty much anything you need to do along the code-analysis line can be done with a combination of pointing and left-handing.
If you make me drop my mouse every time I need to interact with an application on your OS, I don't think I'll use your OS.
You mean casual long-term windows/mac user, I suspect.
A user who's been taught by the OS not to use the keyboard much won't use the keyboard much - if they have to click into a box to do it in general, that's going to encourage it.
Ubuntu is attempting to make things better, not just copy the other desktop OSen. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. But the fact it's not what you immediately expect currently doesn't guarantee it to fail.
Of course, I really want Ubuntu to get into the touch space for that reason as well, because that's where casual users seem to be going.
It's already fragmented enough, not to mention that most tablets/phones are locked down and will prevent people installing an alternative OS anyway.
The only way would be to produce their own hardware since they won't make any money licensing their OS.
If they're as good at hardware design as they are at software.. I think I'll pass.
there "were" plenty of casual ubuntu users. soon there will be plenty of casual mint users.
Once you become proficient with the index finder mousing (it doesn't take long) you'll never have to remove your hands from the keyboard and may even find yourself typing and mousing at the same time on occasion. I really don't see how these aren't more popular. I just wish I could find a wireless one for my home theatre setup.
... for you.
Every laptop keyboard in the world has a built-in pointer, and yet there's still plenty of demand for mice. So yes, while I understand that you and many people like you keep your hands on the keyboard 24/7 and are therefore several orders of magnitude more productive than the rest of us, you should probably realize that you're a very small minority of the general population.
Given the choice between keyboard with trackpad vs keyboard and mouse, I too would choose keyboard and mouse.
I believe that I'm in a small minority of the general population simply because most people haven't been exposed to the less common alternative.
Of course I may be wrong, and perhaps most people have tried this type of keyboard and just don't like it. In any case, it's not about productivity for me. It's about annoyance reduction, comfort, and convenience.
Meh. Some people love them. Some people hate them. Most people who have both the nub and a trackpad seem to use the trackpad. I personally find that modern trackpads are far more usable, even ignoring the benefits of multi-touch and the improvements of the new clickpads.
HCI is moving toward direct interaction. The nub is the opposite direction. Touching the screen can provide something very close direct interaction. A trackpad or mouse adds a later of abstraction, as your motions are not directly on the screen, but instead translated to the screen. The mouse cursor becomes a proxy for your finger. The nub adds yet another layer of indirection, as your actions are reduced to prodding a tiny joystick. No longer is the mouse cursor a proxy for your finger, because it does not move with your finger.
You wouldn't mouse with a fullsize joystick on a desktop, because its no good, it's equally no good on a laptop.
I want to move the cursor a distance based on the distance I move, not based on the duration I move - it's comparable in wrongness to steering a racing car game with the arrow keys.
Rant aside, why do you say they are more effective, anyway?
It depends on the total amount of pressure, not time... Just as using a mouse or a trackpad depends on the distance and not the time you move your finger. Exactly the same thing.
The difference, in practice, is just that you can't put as much force (comfortably) as you can move your finger/mouse with speed. That's why I consider the index finger pointing stick a complement to a real mouse. The same goes for the trackpad where you must have a low sensitivity to get any precision at all, or you could use acceleration but that's just awful (now the distance you move your finger have nothing to do with how long the cursor will move, now you also have to take time into consideration).
And as a complement the index finger pointing stick is vastly superior to the trackpad since you don't have to move your hands at all to switch between them. And for precision work or stuff that require "performance" a real mouse is the way to go anyway.
Say you type "d". It brings up "delete", "documents", and "return to desktop" (with the fuzzing). Type one more character and you get the one you want, or click it. That's how it works in Windows 7, and it might be the best thing Microsoft has ever done.
Granted, on my Windows XP laptop at work, I use the run command for almost everything. Win then R then "cmd", "notepad", "firefox". It works pretty well for what I want it to do.
I think HUD looks pretty kick ass. I barely ever use the touchpad on my macbook and I'll never go back to using a mouse. It's like a context switch. Spotlight is great, but also having contextual search within the application looks so much better.
I already hate the chimes and beeps and twiddles that echo around the office. The very last thing in the world I want is to have it filled with the previous sounds and "computer: open file january report"
And, personal preference aside, there is no way that I can speak the _commands_ as fast as I can type them. For long paragraphs of natural prose, voice recognition is okay; for specific things, not so much.
Vast menus full of commands are pretty much a no go in mobile mouse-free computing and are what kill Windows apps on the tablet.
As for your specific comment -- typing doesn't involve clicking a box (windows or command key) and if your leaning your entire body forward to reach the keyboard your desktop is set up wrong.
As for web development, try a touchpad. Users aren't posting to facebook, ordering things online, and navigating Google all day with only a mouse.
And, Laptops are great for consumption. If I'm doing some serious creation I get the hell off my laptop and go up to my office at home and work on my desktop.
Ideally, you would offer both interfaces, and let the person use what they use.
The differential was actually "commonly used tasks" and "more rarely used tasks" (which includes new users). The study did not define how to tell which task was which very well.
So yes, cutting a line of text, faster via the keyboard, but capitalizing every first word? Very likely, the mouse has the edge.
Plus the HUD sounds great. Anyone here use Quicksilver or mac spotlight or gnome do? I use them non stop, I can launch/search/command my computer using a simple interface without leaving my keyboard. Now I have this built into each application. And soon developers will start to build applications with this in mind and it'll get even slicker.
Theres no reason to poo on Canonical. They are trying super hard in the face of an ungrateful tech community. It's not about developing the system you personally would enjoy. It's about innovation and the future.
Think different mother fuckers.
I know for a fact that things like Unity keep me from installing Ubuntu on every family members PC as a general purpose OS. They are too different from Windows (nobody on my side really got on the OSX bandwagon) and then because of these constant huge UI changes things break that they can't fix and it would frustrate them to no end.
I don't want to speak for everyone, but I want to see experimental projects like this in some kind of Ubuntu test bad like Firefox has Aurora / Nightly to test new features. Things that work and are widely popular could be pushed into mainline releases, and things that aren't can be scrapped, maybe revisited later.
But throwing these paradigm shifts into release products makes everyone lean away from Ubuntu as a general purpose OS, which is what it was becoming best at. I think everyone just mourns the loss of potential.
Mainsteam users who can't adapt to those kind of changes are not going to use Ubuntu anyway. Windows is already very good at keeping its interface consistent from one generation to another.
I see no reason to hate Ubuntu for their choices - I don't think they are after market leadership, they want to make a place for themselves, and differenciation is key to achieve that. And at heart, Unbuntu still retains a number of qualities like stability and relatively good compatibility across a large range of hardware.
everybody i've tested unity on has adapted to it really quickly. the very basics need teaching (things like showing them how to open the launcher), but beyond that users are pretty good at discovering things for themselves. the problem with making things very like windows is that people expect it to be exactly like windows, and panic when something isn't where they expect it to be. unity removes expectations and the user starts off with a blank slate, and they can learn fairly quickly. also, mainstream users don't panic over change they way you imply they do. they just don't notice change. there's a presentation from google that mentions when testing google instant, many users didn't even notice anything different.
the people who are hating on unity and ubuntu are not speaking for the mainstream, they are speaking for the power users who have a library of learned behaviours that they don't want to unlearn. a mainstream user doesn't have a whole lot of learned behaviours to overcome, and they will benefit more from a UI improvement than any other because so many of them are essentially re-learning the system every single time they try to accomplish something. lots of people say they want ubuntu to be built for the mainstream, but what they actually mean is that they want is a distro built specifically for themselves.
You talk like a "mainstream" user has never used a computer before.
> the very basics need teaching (things like showing them how to open the launcher),
This is the reason why, in Windows, the start button is called the start button. After all these years, the start button doesn't have a label anymore because everyone, everywhere, now knows you that click the button in the bottom left corner to do anything.
there was a good rant on the verge a while back about the condescending UI, but from everything i've seen a little condescension is an essential part of a good UI.
There are way more users in trying to innovate and attract younger or less experienced computer users. If they get it right of course.
This is a perfect example. If Canonical's past innovations are any hint, HUD will be released broken and unfinished--and in an LTS release no less. If they completely replace the menubar in this LTS, users will get mad (and rightly so), and Canonical will throw up their hands and say, "But guys it's not done yet! Give it a chance in the next release!" Which is what they always say.
That's no fun for people who just want to get work done.
It looks like this, and you can press return to activate the item: http://i.imgur.com/uJPgD.png
I've mapped Ctrl+M to move me there instantly with Keymando:
map "<Ctrl-m>" do
EDIT 2: Ah, yeah, it's Cmd, not Ctrl. I still like my two-key version though.
Command + ?
Quicksilver also has a plugin called 'User interface+' that gives you the same option. Combined with proxies for current application, its a powerful tool.
Great alternatives to cmd+Shift+/ which can be really slow especially on browsers where menu items include history and bookmarks.
(? as in help)
> will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications
Why? Obviously, HUD and menus have different functions, and different use. GUI menus might be more appropriate for GUI applications, since you have your hand on the mouse already and you don't need to move it to the keyboard to type the command.
> fuzzy matching, and it can learn what you usually do so it can prioritise the things you use often.
Every time that I saw something like this in any application/OS (Android is a prime example), it was such an epic fail that it is almost beyond words.
1) I usually learn faster than a computer, so the way I see it is not computer "learning", but computer arbitrarily "changing" its behaviour. So, instead of memorizing "to call Jack, I have to press J and Down and Down", I have to always pay attention when the interface changes...
2) If there are some actions that I do much more commonly, then give me a way to access these actions more directly (interface buttons, scripting, keyboard shortcuts). But, in any case, my shortcuts will be almost always better than "automatic" ones, and also, mine won't change.
Fuzzy matching can be good, but I've yet to see a good implementation, and it, above all, has to be consistent! Not as in Android, where matching is "fuzzy" for calling, but exact for SMS...
>Every time that I saw something like this in any application/OS (Android is a prime example), it was such an epic fail that it is almost beyond words.
A counterexample: the fuzzy matching in the address bar for firefox and chrome is awesome. Typing "Hacker" brings up "news.ycombinator.com -- Hacker News".
It would be awesome if the HUD could operate like this, * especially* as an alternative (not replacement) for menus (which are probably more efficient for common commands).
Thanks for putting this in words. This is an example of an innovation that reduces the learning curve to a device, but almost certainly makes it slower for the experienced user. One of the reasons that I use GNU/Linux on my personal computers is precisely because FOSS interfaces tend to not make this trade-off (as evidenced by Emacs, Vim, Blender, Inkscape, and many more). So, I am a bit luke warm towards this new HUD interface (then again, I haven't forced myself to swallow the Unity pill yet, either).
My keyboard doesn't randomly swap around the keys on my keyboard, and I appreciate that because I spent the time learning to touch type. Arguably, adaptively moving keys could be faster for 'hunt and peck' typists, but not for people who have spent some time learning how to type.
A hybrid wouldn't be impossible. In the example screenshot, the menu breadcrumb trail is shown. One possible solution would be to show the top level menu items in the HUD when it's first pulled up and allow the user to navigate it via mouse.
For instance, any one of the Quicksilver-alikes available for Linux could add a plugin that turns it into a frontend for all your application menus. The KDE Alt+F2 run dialog could do likewise. Hell, you could write a menu interface in Emacs Lisp if you really wanted to, and control all your applications from the Emacs minibuffer.
Now, typing anything is just a complex procedure involving quite a lot of attention; what's worse, it cannot be trained since this HUD's response for a certain input will be mostly unpredictable depending of the state of its fuzzy AI. Not to mention that it additionally makes one constantly waste time on reading HUD window to check what action it is planning to execute.
Finally, when drawing or using any heavy mouse-dependent application one usually can fire keyboard shortcuts with one hand while the second is constantly holding mouse -- typing requires two hands, so it makes one waste additional time to grab the mouse back and re-adjust hand.
I think this is very clever. Think you are using a complex software like OpenOffice - you know some feature you want to use, but don't recall the shortcut, just type in the name and to can use it. No movement away from the keyboard neccessary - very powerful idea.
You make me wanna design a keyboardless system, or maybe a two thumb only input system.
I'm on OS X right now, and I use Spotlight for absolutely everything. The help menu has a feature to Spotlight within menus, but it's not great if you don't know the literal name of the command (like save or open). Things can get complex quickly in robust applications.
What about appending alternative names to menu commands as metadata, so when a user searches for 'paint bucket' in Photoshop, they're driven to 'fill'. I'd imagine that's the easiest way to map intent to action. Further still, make menus public data-driven — learn common intent by what users search for and end up clicking on.
The use cases for this might be small, but the benefit of keyboard shortcuts is in discovery. Users should be able to articulate to applications what they intend to do.
Edit: If this exists already, we're living in the future.
Try the OS X System Preferences search field. It's there since 10.4ish?
This as presented this has a very high risk of turning into a "guess what the designers were thinking" game. While very flattering to the designer, it is frustrating as hell to the user. Arguably the current interfaces offer pretty much the same issue : a "guess in which menu I put the option" game - however there is one crucial difference : we got used to the current one, and actually have a really good idea how the designers were thinking - and where they put that option.
EDIT : Right. I did miss that. Thanks.
Blender is perhaps the extreme example of this - it has an incredible amount of features, so they can't be placed into menus, and you spend some time learning where (in the hundreds of panels) or which of the thousands of keyboard shortcuts to use.
That said, I find keyboard-driven user interfaces very powerful, so I'm curious to try this out. Fortunately, there's been a way to turn off Crazy Ubuntu Features in most releases if you know how, at least so far.
> For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD; the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it.
Time for Ubuntu to stop dicking around with all the UI stuff and go back to making something that is solid. I really liked it when it first came out: it was a fairly dependable system that had regular updates, and was 'good enough' in the polish department. I could use it on desktops and servers alike and be pretty happy with it.
I recently upgraded to mint 12 and they are picking up a bit of the gnome3 suckiness - but it feels like they are really being unwillingly dragged into it and are fighting tooth an nail to keep it at bay. It is a bit worse than mint 11, but still a lot better than ubuntu 11.10. Maybe I should give that MATE thing a shot.
The only thing I kinda miss from ubuntu is the inplace upgrade process. Mint community seems to have some philosophical rejection of it and recommends a reinstall.
I am feeling that Ubuntu is pushing realy HARD to get into tablet space - throwing-users-under-the-bus-if-need-be kind of hard. I can see the advantage of a Unity interface there, but come on, i had to manually tweak the laptop with powertop to even get close to the battery life I was getting with windows. This will never work for an average-joe-grade tablet.
I know, I know It is free, if i dont like it, I can switch to something else. Guess what? I did. According to distrowatch i'm not the only one. It is a real pity to see a good distro go down like that.
I was doing in-place upgrades of Debian in the late 90ies, and they generally went quite smoothly. Not being able to to do that gives me a strong urge to use blunt terms like "horse shit". In-place upgrades are one of the reasons why you have an advanced package management system in the first place, and abandoning that is a huge step backwards. I do, after all, use this stuff on servers too.
> The only advantage Ubuntu offers is that it makes the process trivial and fully automated. Though, considering the risks and the way it upgrades your system, this should be considered dangerous.
I was kind of sad. In between the corrupted fonts and flickering windows it actually (no sarcasm) looked really really great.
Yeah, no kidding. Their problem isn't that they're just not X steps ahead of everyone else, it's that they aren't even close to the same level as OS X or Windows. They need to stop trying to be so clever and focus on the basics.
Maybe i just didnt love gnome2 enough. That being said, I really hate the way Unity appears to have broken the readline interface (for emacs shortcuts everywhere). Maybe I'm missing something, but I couldn't get that working in either 11.04 or .10.
What they fail to realize is that even with the best UI in the world if 6 months down the line joe public clicks the "yes please upgrade me to the new ubuntu" button and then magically his wifi and sound break and his UI is replaced with something totally different that requires re-learning they are going to lose confidence pretty fast.
"Where the fuck did everything move to?!"
Which I guess is fine if you're willing to throw current users under the bus in the hopes of attracting lots of new users who will have never used the older versions.
(Admittedly, the neutrality of the experiment has already been somewhat compromised because she heard me swearing up and down about the upgrade last night)
Xfce looks like it may be an interesting alternative at this point. Gnome "fallback", or "classic" mostly does what I want, but with a name like that, it doesn't sound like something that will get much love/maintenance in the future.
Fortunately, some people have forked GNOME 2 and plan on continuing its development under the name MATE, and they have Ubuntu/Debian repositories up.
I like gnome2 because I can customise the hell out of it and have things like separate task bars on each monitor.
I had assumed that they just dropped support for applets. Thankyou for telling me that.
How the hell is anyone going to just discover that?
Actually, I think that menu bars in general are a horrible crutch for pretty much every task. There is a reason why Windows introduced the "Ribbon". The Ribbon is Microsoft's way to get rid of the menu bar. Maybe Ribbons are not perfect, but they definitely improved discoverability of content.
ido-mode in Emacs introduces fuzzy matching for file navigation and it is awesome. CMD-T is a similar mechanism in Textmate. Sublime Text is pretty much built on the concept of fuzzy matched palettes.
All these are programs I very much like. Maybe Ubuntu is actually on to something there.
I believe/hope that experience will be similar to the 'command palette' of Sublime Text 2 where you can execute a feature that you don't use very often (e.g. convert to lower case <ctrl+shit+p> low<enter>) without hunting for it in the menu.
For me theory sounds good, I need to test it myself to decide whether I like it in practice or not.
Either one will not be as universally useful as combining them.
In any case, I'm glad that the direct-manipulation paradigm, which I find to be generally and intrinsically impoverished, isn't the only avenue UI innovation is going down.
I have other ideas about a keyboard-oriented interface in this essay: http://blog.byjoemoon.com/post/9325300749/a-different-kind-o...
With the example shown in inkscape - this is good if you dont know where something is -- but anyone who is proficient with a graphic(s) program knows that the more you can do with a left hand keyboard shortcut and a button which reduces the number of times you take your hand off the mouse the better.
What I would far prefer is if the HUD would allow me to assign arbitrary keyboard shortcuts (contextually) in any program.
This way - when Inkscape is active, I can use whatever shortcut I want to assign to "glow" and then that same binding can be set to a different command in a different program, say, GIMP - and I configure it all in one location.
I dont want to type for everything I want to do...
> There’s still a lot of design and code still to do. For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD; the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it.
Basically - they're looking for some other interface to replace that aspect of the menu, but in the meanwhile the menu is still there for discoverability purposes.
I like the idea in principle. I just don't like nondescriptive names.
The fact that Mark mentions that they one day wish to replace menus is odd. Menus work and are universally understood. This system could be great in a complimentary fashion, the blender example seems like a great use of the system.
I really hope that Ubuntu don't throw the baby out with the bath water in their attempt to innovate.
This is just the last relic. As it is right now I'd rather google how to do something in Word than look through the menu, so this solution _has_ to be better!
It is very useful and often faster than digging through the menus to find the right command. It also shows the shortcut for the command, which is useful for learning commands that you use often.
I interpret that as, "While it's great being able to search for commands, it's an absolute pain in the ass to find the command if the search fails."
He mentions being able to look at the list of commands like a "table of contents" for an application, but I really don't see how that is possible considering what he has described.
All I know is that I'm going to be even more lost in GIMP with this update.
And the other take. Did you ever use mobile tablet device with multitouch? And after that are you really want to use that 70-ish WIMP interfaces? If you saw it one single time, when you manipulate your photos/videos "themselves", when you interact with your information and not with some buttons or menus or stuff like that, you'll never want to come back. Ones who demand full support for multitouch gestures across modern OS interfaces are not "future-oriented" people IMO. They are now-oriented. Next-generation interfaces are already here! They are the state-of-the-art for many users right today. And are you really want to impress us with tinkering around that 70s stuff? Than you guys stuck in 90s. Come on.
Considering this HUD is basically "let's take Quicksilver and make it for menus", I think my immediate reaction was correct again. The idea isn't completely terrible, but it's not "the future" and it's riddled with problems. Hope you're the type who likes keeping cheat sheets around, because unless you know the exact name of every single command in your application, you're going to be in trouble.
"We’ll resurrect the (boring) old ways of displaying the menu in 12.04..." This guy's hubris is astounding.
For novice users, discoverabiliy is extremely important. For any application new users want to learn what it does, and they aren't going to read the manual. Traditional menus allow users to browse available actions without having to know what they want to do. They don't know what they don't know, and well designed menus/UIs allow them to learn the application really quickly.
I also wonder about the older generation and their ability to pick up on this. I would be very curious how well less technically skilled 40+-year-olds pick up on the keyboard-based navigation over the traditional mouse-based navigation/interaction.
Is this actually solving a problem someone has stated they have?
This feels like an attempt at solving a problem that nobody has. In an effort to differentiate themselves, I think they've lost sight of what users actually want.
Here's what I want from ubuntu, as a (past) user: a solid distribution that gives me a reasonable default setup without a lot of fuss. I mean, I'm installing linux, you can probably already assume I sort of know what I'm doing. I want something that gets out of my way, not something constantly asking me to adapt and "rethink" how I go about using my computer. I know how to use my computer just fine, thank-you-very-much, leave me with my menus.
This is how I felt when the first iPods came out at much higher prices than other mp3 players on the market. With less flexibility in the way it operates.
HUD + Unity (just like iOS before it) will simplify how to use menus on a tablet interface... especially once the speech-recognition part is added.
There's nothing wrong with this, but maybe you would be happier with something like XFCE. (sudo apt-get install xfce)
One super simple example of this: http://cl.ly/082D441E2D0L1l3d3g2Y
Most readers of Hacker News are probably aware of the calculator feature in the Spotlight in Mac OSX, but if I had a dollar for every time I've blown someone's mind by showing it to them, I'd be counting money right now rather than writing this comment. The bottom line is, visibility is an extremely important design principle, because it informs the user what they can do within a system, so hiding possibilities is probably not a good idea.
For detailed reading on the principle of visibility, check out Donald Norman's Phenomenal The Design of Everyday Things, which I firmly believe should be required reading for anyone thinking about building anything: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385267746/ref=as_li_ss_tl?... [yes, it is an affiliate link]
The simple voice tool baked into Windows* is sorta usable, but changing contexts to find things in menus or click buttons is a huge pain. You're constantly reminded that the interface you're using was originally designed for a keyboard and mouse. This has the potential to eliminate a lot of the pain associated with that.
* I don't know if Dragon improves the context-shift situation significantly. The last time I tried it was several years ago.
Apple had this years ago; they just made a conscious decision to keep using menus.
Menus form a strong spatial association - I remember a lot of options by their placement, and only recall the exact wording when I see it. (Is it "re-open last tab", "reopen last tab", "re-open closed tab", or "reopen closed tab"?) Not saying that HUD is inherently bad because of this, but I'm curious how they deal with it? Am I missing something?
I like Ubuntu being experimental but right now I'm having pains with Unity on my setup (multiple monitors and apps that don't quite fit with the UI). I'm seriously considering moving to a different distro while they sort the details out .
Moving to a different distro (and perhaps WM) is a good idea. I recently moved to Debian with Xfce and am enjoying the lack of gnomes.
The only other option would be for all apps to assign keyboard shortcuts to everything
Also for applications that you are not familiar with you will have to guess what a particular feature is called and if it even exists in the first place. They would have to load all the apps up with synonyms and since Open Source developers can't agree on anything I'm not sure how many would even design their app around this.
Not to mention problems with users who have poor english or just poor spelling.
Having said all this, this feature is an excellent idea to supplement existing UI functionality. I've been integrating "feature search" type functions into some of my web apps for a while now and I'm surprised Apple and MS haven't done this more.
Users, even I as a progammer, do not like to have to re-learn and assimilate a new interface-model every few months or years. Ive learned a few times, why cant people stick to what is working already? The menu is super nice, the global menu, not so much but fine thats what some people nice. Now Ill explain to my girlfriend that there is the HUD menu? And after that youll invent something else something new, for what!? All that work and you just have a different kind of menu. Too bad, too bad.
Why not do some real user tests to find out where they are failing right now? Why users dont feel comfortable in Ubuntu? Yes, even those users, like me, and Ive used most distros for a decade. Its just something fishy about both Unity and Gnome2.
We also gave it one other awesome ability, which I have yet to see in other such tools - a "search for window by name" feature. This searched your open windows in a Launchy-style interface, letting you switch to Chrome by doing "Ch<enter>" or to Visual Studio by doing "Vis<enter>". It also searched open tabs in all your browsers, letting you switch to gmail by typing "gm<enter>", etc.
The program was meant as a startup, way back many years ago when we didn't know any better :)
This would help the user get an at-a-glance view of all the menus' contents, sectioned logically by each top-level menu entry. It would also reduce menu navigation to mere up/down (and pgup/pgdown), and allow for some sort of an instant search (start typing letters) would also work. It would even work for touchscreens because we've already observed that scrolling up and down is one of the best and natural UI concepts that you can do with a touchscreen.
The "HUD" interface (silly name) looks like a good idea though, hope it is fast enough for netbooks and other small PCs. After using Unity for some time I abandoned it for XFCE because my netbook was just not fast enough.
I'm still not sold, I found the UL-Corner positioning greatly aggressive. I'd put it in the bottom personally but I'm used to the Unix 'bottom command line' habit.
Otherwise it's one step closer to a contemporary desktop command line, in the video the guy even typed 'undo' in inkscape, made me smile. I guess having this common iterative search of nested menus will greatly help users, as it helped many of us in the shell or emacs (or any system providing this idea)
Being able to guess the user intentions from the context would be a great advantage, but the challenge would be balancing context-dependent commands from the most general ones, in my opinion.
Much like these comments on HN, it's hard to read long, wide paragraphs. It makes me question the usability of a HUD's interface
However, I don't see search as the future of application interfaces.
I've been using autocomplete in Quickbooks long enough to know that typing "Next P" to execute <next page> rather than <next layer> is just going to suck.
Also, just skimming the article and looking at the pretty pictures, it seems similar to ido-mode for Emacs. Just with more eye-candy.
Since everybody I know loves ido-mode, I am fairly confident in this change.
It could be implemented awfully though.
Which file would you like to open?
What you like to do with 'test.txt'?
Normal: klik on icon right top -> set status
HUD: drop your mouse/stylus -> type the HUD command -> type to change your status.