Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why does Unity hide the menubars by default, instead of showing them in the free space across the panel?

share|improve this question
    
I think that the netbook version of Unity does show the menu bar in the panel. If you're referring to the desktop version of Unity, being developed for Natty, then this question might be a duplicate of askubuntu.com/questions/18641/… –  michaelms Jan 20 '11 at 21:52
    
No, I believe that this is supposed the be the behaviour exhibited, even on the desktop. My question is, why did they do it that way? –  zpletan Jan 20 '11 at 22:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 26 down vote accepted

One of the design goals of Unity is to reduce the clutter of the desktop, another is to use space more efficiently.

We hide the menu by default in Unity because the menu provides no useful information to which you can refer just by looking at it, but it puts a lot of detail on the screen which is visual clutter. So, we've taken the view that the menu is there if you need it (by moving the mouse to it or pressing Alt) but otherwise isn't in your view.

Many modern applications are doing without a menu altogether, so in our view, this is a step towards the future, and it will encourage application developers to think about their interfaces and make them more usable by design rather than depending on the crutch of a menu.

share|improve this answer
2  
That's what I wanted to know. Thanks! –  zpletan Jan 28 '11 at 4:01
13  
"We hide the menu by default in Unity because the menu provides no useful information to which you can refer just by looking at it" That's not true. It tells me where I have to move the mouse pointer to activate a specific menu. Now I have to move the mouse pointer vertically to the menubar first, and then I have to move it horizontally to reach the specific menu. If the menubar were always visible, I could move it to the right position directly. –  Rörd Mar 28 '11 at 23:22
6  
I think it's pretty stupid to split the menu bar from the application. It breaks even the most basic usability guidelines. Removing a menu from its context breaks the principle of least surprise and least effort. It's moronic even if apple has always doe it like this. (Regardless of whether menu bars are good or bad in term of useability.) Now, to click on the menu of an inactive window, I need more actions than I used to: [click on window to activate, move to top of screen for menubar, click] instead of just click. It's bad no matter how you justify it –  brice Aug 9 '11 at 8:54
    
"It will encourage application developers to think about their interfaces and make them more usable by design rather than depending on the crutch of a menu": while I agree that menu bars are not the best interface design (circular popup menus should be preferred), a lot of apps today still rely on them, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future (users are used to them and GUI frameworks provide them out of the box). Hiding the menu bar makes me very unproductive using graphics software (e.g, Gimp and Inkscape), thus despite a few weeks of Unity trial, I switch back to KDE. –  Boris Jul 14 at 0:14
    
@Rörd "It tells me where I have to move the mouse pointer to activate a specific menu": agreed, and I will also add that it tells me what menus are available. In complex applications that I do not use everyday, I do not always remember in which menu a specific action is available, and having the menu bar displayed at all time saves a lot of time in finding the appropriate menu to aim at, and helps a lot in the learning process. –  Boris Jul 14 at 0:20

The conventions of FireFox and right click expediency particularly for organizing and deploying bookmarks directly contradicts Unity's conventions with no right click capability in the top menu bar.

It is laudable that when driving a VW you shouldn't have the cockpit of a 747, and ap. screen real estate should not be overwhelmed by perverse permuted excessive controls and menus, leaving no space for actual content but ... this should not be at the expense of real functionality.

There are ways to get around the bottlenecks but it is manually laborious. Our custom developed aps suffer by default in Unity from forced exile to the top bar and must be repatriated back to their originating window to restore functionality and visibility (as custom aps the visible existence of the menu provides mnemonic aid to obscure menu items and, however infrequently, they are essential and used).

share|improve this answer

protected by Oli Jun 27 '11 at 15:42

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.