I’m so sorry sir, we’ve hidden the menu

March 9, 2007 18:29 – 18:29

It seems like just about every other product coming down the pike these days is opting to turn off menus by default, without providing clear and easily discoverable alternative ways to access the menus’ functionality.

In Office 2007, it’s okay (for me, at least) because we have the “ribbon”. In these other programs, however, they’ve hidden the menus away by default without providing discoverable GUI alternatives, and often burying menu access under some obtuse-looking icon that looks more like cake decoration than the secret key.

I don’t know about anybody else, but personally, I find applications like Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail Desktop, and Windows Media Player nearly impossible to use without menus.

What’s behind all of this sudden “Hide everything useful from the users” thinking?

Is it just me, or does anybody else see this as layering frustration and nuisance upon frustration and nuisance?

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