MozillaZine

mozilla.org Branches for 1.0

Tuesday April 9th, 2002

mozilla.org today cut the MOZILLA_1_0_0_BRANCH for 1.0 to use. Expect to see an RC1 candidate sometime next week in order to see where the builds are as far as stability and usability. Work will continue on the branch up until the final 1.0 release, and beyond for point releases. An updated roadmap will be posted soon reflecting this. The trunk is now open to 1.1 alpha work, on the road to 2.0!


#60 Two schools of thought here

by PaulB <pbergsag@home.com>

Thursday April 11th, 2002 9:19 PM

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"Netscape marketing trumps good UI in Mozilla". Not really. There are two schools io thought here and neither is good or bad...you may like one over the other, but that doesn't make one good and the other bad.

If I understand the situation concerning popup menus here is what took place. A while back the goals for the Menus and in particular popup menus changed. Netscape and Mozilla had their seperate goals for the menus. In particular Netscape chose to restrict their popup menus to true context sensitive menus. The context (what the mouse is over) determines the menu items in the popup menu. Netscape in pushing for context menus, claims that the design is less than ideal if items are included in the menu that do not relate to the context (although there are a few exceptions). Thus in context sensitive menus, if the mouse is over a picture, it is bad design to include "back" and "forward" in the popup menu.

Now Mozilla's design team, understood its popup menus in a broader manner than context sensitive menu. Mozilla could under this model include a variety of menu items in a popup window that did not always correspond to the context (ie what the mouse pointer was over). Over time the popup menus in Mozilla became large with many items.

I believe Netscape felt this was not the best way to design the popups. [Before the menue design I found it was often had to click on an item near the top of the popup if you started moving up the list from near the bottom. Often the wrong item ended up being clicked.] In Netscape's viewpoint the popup menus in Mozilla were too long and contained too many items. which could be confusing and lead to clicking the wrong items. Netscape solved this problem by switching to context sensitive menus for the popups. The context determines which items are in the menus. One of the benifits of context sensitive menus for popups is that there are fewer items to choose from in the list. For Netscape one design goal is that menus should contain the fewest items while still retaining the needed funtionality.

There is one item missing from the popup menu (if you are following context sensitive guidelines) which concerns url links: when right clicking a link, why is there not option to open in a new tab? If the context is url link, isn't "open in new tab" within the context?

I am glad that the popup menus moved to context sensitivity. I no longer end up clicking the wrong items due to the large number of items. I find these menus more efficient.

On an aside, there is one feature of the popup menus I find slightly annoying, why does both the right and left mouse button call up the popup menu? Ofter while attempting to select some text or perform some other task with the left mouse button a menu I don't want will popup and I have to dismiss it. [I guess, but I am not sure, that the left button was provided with the "long click" calling a popup is implemented for users with a one button mouse.] The left "long click" function may be an important function for many, but I would vote for a preference check box to turn it off.

So there are two schools of thoguht here: one in use, and favoured by Netscape: Context Sensitive popup menus. The other, formerly favoured by Mozilla, not to use context sensitive popups.

This is how I understand the situation. (I may have got it wrong. If I understand the situation correctly, I am happy with the UI guidelines for popups.)