Daniel Sapoundjiev on
  Toolbars and menus

Carpenters workshop

In this paper will brief explain the toolbars and menus idea by comparing it with carpenters workshop.

Enter to Carpenters workshop

If you enter in Carpenters workshop you will see a room full of things. Working table and lot of instruments spread along. And of course carpenter behind the table.

Carpenter is making a chair

Carpenter is making a chair. He is behind the table and on the table are some parts of the chair. He takes instruments that are placed on the table and use them to modify the wood. He changes the instruments one after other. And in the end there will be comfortable chair.

Carpenter is preparing the instruments

Before starting work on the chair carpenter prepares most often used instruments on the table.

What slows down the carpenters work?

The table is not so big and not all instruments can be placed on it. So sometimes he goes and takes some instruments that are placed on the wall shelf.

In conclusion

Carpenter has its most used instruments on his table and some other instruments on the shelf.

What about the toolbars and menus

User has the most used instruments in toolbars and all the instruments in a menu. Tool buttons are easily accessed with one click, like the carpenters instruments on the table. And the menu items are accessed with two or more clicks like the carpenters instruments on the wall.

Screen area is finite – carpenters table too
Instruments in toolbars are easily accessed – carpenters instruments on the table too
Instruments in menu are slowly accessed – carpenters instruments on the shelf too

Ribbon controls

Ribbon controls replaced the toolbars and menus recently in some applications. Let us look at MS Word 2007. We have only a few buttons fixed on the screen – save button and… And a page opened with some buttons that are easily accessed. For all other we have to make 2 clicks to access them. This does not help the user do quickly the work.

Eclipse made perspectives which are much cleverer decision and kept their toolbars and menus

Back to main menu