Traditional vs. Pull-Down Menus

Traditional vs. Pull-Down Menus

Mary Henley (Flow Interactive Ltd., London, UK) and Jan Noyes (University of Bristol, UK)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-562-7.ch092
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Human interactions with computers are often via menus, and “in order to make information retrieval more efficient, it is necessary that indexes, menus and links be carefully designed” (Zaphris, Shneiderman, & Norman, 2002, p. 201). There are a number of alternatives to menus, such as icons, question-and-answer formats, and dynamic lists, but most graphical user interfaces are almost entirely menu-driven (Hall & Bescos, 1995). Menu systems have many advantages. For example, Norman (1991) identified low memory load, ease of learning and use, and reduced error rates as advantages of menu-driven interfaces. They frequently form the main part of a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface, providing most of the functionality in the more common operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. Consequently, familiarity also can be added to the list of advantages of using menus when accessing computer systems. These aspects are particularly important when considering public-access technologies, where individuals from across the population exhibiting a range of ages, skills, and experience levels will attempt to use the systems. Further, training or the opportunities for training will be minimal and, most likely, non-existent.

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