Apple menu's

Discussion in 'macOS' started by sligo, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. sligo macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2007
    So I have to preface this with the fact that I am a long time linux user who bought a macbook pro to run linux on, fell in love with osx and am happily working with osx on a daily basis instead of linux. (I now access linux on a seperate host when i need it.) I have to say the macbook pro has made me an apple convert, which my wife found difficult to believe. It will be macs for me from here on out. my kids as well.

    Over the years one of the reasons I used to cite for why "all things apple" were bad was that apple refused to move away from the one button mouse for the longest time. It was, in my opinion, a very stubborn thing to do. At what point would holding a key down while clicking not ring a bell for the User Experience guys that it was time to give up the ghost on the one button mouse?

    The MBP (see already talking like an apple guy) still comes with a trackpad with one button. Granted the two finger click is very elegant, but how about the right click and drag? At any rate, it appears that the mouse button debate is over with the mighty mouse and that nifty little trackball scroll wheel. I assume at some point in the future the macbook trackpad will offer the right click button as well.

    So I would like to address a second item that i have frequently found fault with, and even now as a new mac convert, I am not getting used to. the menu at the top of the screen. what is the deal with this thing? Is it stubborness that makes this menu persist? It makes more sense to have the menu on the top of the associated window doesnt it?

    UNIX has done this since the beginning with just about every window manager. Windows obviously does it, yet the mac for all its user experience wonder, clings to this archaic layout for the menu. I don't get it. From a distance to click perspective you will always be closer to the menu in the window you are working in rather than going to the top of the desktop. additionally, having the top menu on the desktop be context sensitive to an application is confusing. If i was using the finder menu, and i clicked on firefox, or any other app. suddenly the menu dissappears. I think it is counter intuitive to click back on the finder window to get the finder menu to appear again.

    Now before anyone flames me for this, it is a genuine curiosity. What is the attachment to the context menu at the top of the window all about? Can someone explain the benefit to me? The only thing i could come up with is screen real estate. that may have been important back in the low res monitor days, but today, I would think it no longer applies. Is there a chance that apple would one day allow a user to configure this menu layout so that attaching it to a window is optional? I assume it is a differentiator for OSX, but it is not a good one. You could have a permanent system toolbar at the top of the screen if you always wanted the system menu there?


  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    The simplest explanation I've been using since Mac OS and Windows came out is: Menu bars on every open window are a terrible waste of real estate. The Mac is document based. When you work on a document, the context changes the menu bar. When an application needs to be full screen - it is (many pro apps have full screen modes).
  3. shwc macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2005
    yep, what grtfly said.
    In addition, it is easy to overshot when trying to mouse to a menu in a window (as in unix X windows and in msWindows).

    When screens were smaller, the menu at the top of the screen is clearly superior (IMHO). That said, with screens getting quite large and with multiple monitors being common place, having the menu at the top gets to be cumbersome at times. Not enough to drive me away (never that!), but sometimes I do wish for "menu on window." Deja menu solved the issue in what I think is an even more elegant way, however.

  4. mustang_dvs macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2003
    Durham, NC

    Macs have natively supported multi-button mice for a long time (more than 10 years) and now ship with a four-button mouse (yes, the Mighty Mouse has four buttons). The primary reasoning behind the single-button mouse "fixation" was a focus on ease-of-use. You'd be shocked at how many long-time Windows users have no idea what a "right-click" is, or that clicking with anything other than the left mouse button was okay (this includes some past co-workers who had advanced degrees). I've seen developer documentation of young children finding the one-button mouse much easier and less intimidating than the multi-button, and the same for most adults, with little loss of productivity. That said, I've been using a multi-button mouse of one sort or another, with a Mac, since 1992.

    As for the menu bar, what you're experiencing are two different design paradigms butting up against each other. Contextual Information vs. Fitt's Law. In the case of the Mac menubar, Fitt's Law wins out, and for good reason -- not only are the menus located in a consistent location, but the "Application" menu tells you exactly which program is in the foreground, which is especially useful when spanning multiple monitors.

    More info:
  5. sligo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2007

    wow. cool. so not i know the theory behind the madness. I dont know that i ever flick my mouse to the top of the screen, but i guess it makes sense. Thanks mustang!

  6. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    Additionally, it allows applications to run with no windows open at all. Anyway, as a long time Mac user I think it's better this way, especially if you compare it to Windows Vista which is a menu nightmare with so many applications not even having any (or very few) visible menus, making you hunt around for the actions you want.
  7. Ludde macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2007
    I love the lack of clutter with just one menu bar on top. It's very refreshing to have clean windows and still have full access to the menu. It's excellent that many programs even have a button for hiding the controls at the top of the window when you don't need them.

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