:: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 ::

Menus: they're so 1990s
From the wish-I'd-though-of-that department:

Jeneane Sessum has a beef with menus, and she makes a compelling case for a new way to design word processing software.
I was thinking yesterday as I was doing what I do a lot of - writing in MS Word - that my experience in 'browsing' over the last several years has made me tired of menus. Menus are so 1990s, and yet foundational applications like MS products (MS Word is the one that matters most to me) have changed very little in bringing a more web-like feel to word processing. And should we even call it 'word processing' any more? (Full post.)
I hadn't really thought about it before, but she's right. By golly, she's right! We've been sheep for far too long as far as this menu business goes. There are plenty of things about the fascist nature of MS Word that I dislike -- and in much of my recreational and freelance writing, I use WordPerfect instead (love that "reveal codes" feature) -- but I've never been so bold as to speculate on another way of designing writing software.

Jeneane makes a lot of other good points about the possibility of incorporating more browser-friendly features into word processing software. "[I]f my 'word processing' tool were web-based, couldn't I just right click on a word and have everything I needed instantly available - synomyms, antonyms, origin, part of speech, pronunciation, spelling variations, related communities, related tags, who else used that word today on the net, common connotations, usage in a book title (via amazon), domain names associated, and so on. You could exclude words -- like articles (the, an, a, etc.) -- you could do lots of things."

Whoa. It gets even deeper than that, folks. I like the way she thinks, though. I think she should go into the software design business.


:: Andrew 12:10 + ::

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